Notification of Rights Under FERPA

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 

    Records are maintained for each student as an aid to the educational process and for the convenience of former students. Parents/guardians or students may review records through the offices of the school principal or Student Services Department. There is a procedure for correction, addition, or challenge of the record. Written permission from the parent/guardian or the student (if over 18 years of age) is needed for release of records outside the District. There are exceptions: if the student transfers to another district; if the school district receives a subpoena; if the student seeks admission to a post-secondary school; and if directory information is sought in the case of an emergency or police matter.


    • All student records should be handled with confidentiality to ensure the following
      • The right for parents to access and review the education records of their children, and the right for eligible student to inspect and review their own records
      • The right for parents and eligible students to challenge any records that they feel are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights
      • The right for parents and eligible students to give prior consent before a third party can have access to any education records
      • The right to be informed of the rights granted by FERPA and the procedures for exercising those rights.

    Who has FERPA RIGHTS?

    • Parent – natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian
      • Step-parents have FERPA rights if living with one of their natural parents.
    • Once a student turns 18 or begins attending a post-secondary institution
    • Once a student turns 18, all FERPA rights transferred from the parents to the eligible student are a dependent student, incapacitated student etc.

    What are educational records?

    • Information recorded in any way including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer, media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm and microfiche.
    • Those records, files documents, and other materials which contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution (anything that has been seen, heard, read by more than one person).

    What are Not Educational Records?

    • Sole Possession Records
    • Law Enforcement Records
    • Employment Records
    • Alumni Records
    • Medical records (but only the records of a student who is over 18 and only if the records are not part of an IEP)

    Directory information

    • It can be: name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major fields of study, photographs, primary language, weight and height, participation in activities, sports, dates of attendance and degrees and awards, and most recent school attended (SCASD provides name, address and phone number).
    • May be released unless a parent/guardian has given “a written notice” to their building principal(s) refusing disclosure.

    When a Parent Request Records

    • Verify the parent’s identity (Fax copy of driver’s license if requested over the phone)
    • Respond within reasonable time (45 days)
    • Provide a translator if needed
    • Reasonable requests for explanation are OK
    • Do not destroy documents
    • Not entitled to copies, just access (district charges .14 a copy)
    • They cannot use FERPA as a vehicle to change grades.

    Exceptions to Prior Written Consent Requirement

    • FERPA permits the disclosure of records to any subsequent school where the student seeks to enroll.
    • Judicial Order or Lawfully issued Subpoena – School officials are under no obligation to object to an order or subpoena for student records. However, districts are obligated to notify parents of their receipt of the subpoena or order prior to the release of any student information.
    • Health and Safety Emergency – School officials may disclose personally identifiable information to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge or the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

    Schools Obligation Under FERPA

    • Must notify parents and students of their rights
    • Define School Official and directory information
    • Notify parents and students on how to file a complaint (it can be a letter mailed home)


    Directory information – the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, names of parents and siblings, dates of attendance, whether the student graduated and the date of graduation; awards received, participation in district-approved extracurricular activities, weight and 3 height of interscholastic athletic team members, photograph, schools attended within the district, primary language and student ID#.

    Disclose; disclosure –permit access to or release, transfer, or otherwise communicate to any person or entity, other than the parents of the student or the student, personally identifiable information contained in the education record of the student or acquired by any person working for or on behalf of the district in the course of performing their duties for or on behalf of the district.

    Education records – any information recorded or stored by any means used, but not limited to, information that is handwritten, typed, printed, or stored on computer media, microfilm or microfiche, or video or audio tape, film, or digital medium that is directly related to the student and is maintained in any office or school building of the district, the Centre County Intermediate Unit, or a vocational technical school, or any private school or facility that the district is using to provide free elementary or secondary education to the student in place of a public school. The term does not include the following:

    • Records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel and educational personnel ancillary to those persons including, but not limited to, instructional support teachers, counselors, therapists and clinicians, school psychologists and psychiatrists, nurses, and instructional aides, that are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and the contents of which are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute for the maker of the record.
    • Records that contain information concerning the student only after s/he is no longer a student in the district or receiving district-supported education.
    • Other records specifically excluded from the definition of education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, and its implementing regulation, 34 C.F.R. Part 99. 1.4 Eligible student – a present or former student who has attained the age of eighteen (18) or a former student who is attending an institution of postsecondary education.

    Emancipated minor – a student below the age of twenty-one (21) who has chosen to establish a domicile apart from the continued control and support of parents. The term involves a minor living with a spouse.

    IEP – Individualized education program.

    Maintain or maintained – in the case of personally identifiable information on paper or stored on magnetic or video tape, the term shall mean being kept in a secure file or desk drawer or in the continuous and secure control of a school official with a legitimate educational interest in the content thereof. In the case of personally identifiable digital information that is electronically stored, including electronic mail, the term shall mean kept in a secure database located on a server or servers, disk partition, or other electronic storage system specifically designated by the Superintendent or his/her designee as a student records maintenance site. The district electronic mail server or servers, or directory or directories, and the files on local disk drives dedicated to the storage of sent or received electronic mail, shall not for any purpose constitute a student records maintenance site and any mail stored here on site shall either be deleted or moved to a student records maintenance site at least once annually.

    Parent - the natural or adoptive parents of a student, regardless of residency or physical custodial status; the legal guardian or guardians of a student; or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a natural parent or guardian.

    Personally identifiable information – any one (1) or more of the following:

    • The student’s name.
    • The name of any member of the student’s family.
    • The address of the student or any member of the student’s family.
    • A personal identifier such as a district and/or state student number.
    • A description of one (1) or more personal characteristics that would render the student’s identity easily traceable.
    • Other information that would render the student’s identity easily traceable.

    School official with a legitimate educational interest – any employee or contractor of:

    • The district.
    • The Centre County Intermediate Unit.
    • Any public or private school or facility that the district is using or is proposing to use to provide elementary or secondary education to the student in place of a public school, who is or will be responsible for providing or supervising the provision of education, education -related services, or extracurricular activities or experiences to or for the student, when:
      • Particular information concerning that student is presently or potentially relevant to the provision of such education, educationrelated services, or extracurricular activities or experiences.
      • Such information is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of other students with whom the student might have contact. The phrase also applies to clerical staff of the agencies enumerated above who are responsible for the maintenance and security of education records and to attorneys, consultants, and Board members when Board action concerning the student is required by law or when the education or treatment of the student is the subject of present or potential litigation or legal dispute.

    Secure file – a student or subject-specific compilation of information stored on paper, audio or visual tape, microfiche, microfilm, computer storage disk or removable drive, or similar medium that can be maintained in a physically segregated form that is maintained in a locked file drawer, cabinet, or desk or, if unlocked, in the immediate custody and control of the custodian thereof, or a student or subject-specific compilation maintained on a computer storage system to which access is limited by security software that conforms to current computer industry standards.

    Student with disabilities – a student aged three (3) through twenty-one (21) who has or is thought to have one or more of the disabilities described in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.§§ 1400 et seq., any preceding or succeeding legislation, for which s/he is eligible or thought to be eligible for special education and related services.

    Policy 216: Student Records

    If parents/guardians believe the District is not in compliance with the law, they are encouraged to contact the Director of Student Services at (814) 231-1054. They may also file a complaint with the federal office enforcing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA Office, Department of Education, Room 4511, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202).

Last Modified on December 14, 2023