NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS UNDER FERPA
The Family Education and Rights and Privacy ActRecords 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 student 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 the natural parents
- Once a student turns 18 or begins attending a post secondary institution
- Once a student turns 18 all FERPA rights transfer from the parents to the eligible student unless 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 document, 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 (may be released unless a parent/guardian has given “a written notice” refusing disclosure)
- Can be: name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major fields of study, 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).
When a Parent Request Records
- Verify the parent’s identity (Fax copy of driver’s license if requested over phone)
- Respond within reasonable time (45 days)
- Provide translator if needed
- Reasonable requests for explanation is 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, district 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 parent and students on how to file a complaint (can be a letter mailed home)
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).