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FERPA and Special Education
Transcript of FERPA and Special Education
“Directory information” is personally identifiable information that is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. This includes, but is not limited to –
Name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address
Date and place of birth
Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
Field of study
Weight and height of athletes
Degrees and awards received
Dates of attendance
Most recent previous school attended
Except for specific exceptions, a parent shall provide a signed and dated written consent before a school may disclose educational records. The consent must –
Specify records that may be disclosed
State purpose of disclosure
Identify party or class of parties to whom disclosure may be made
Prior Consent to Disclose Information
Parent or eligible student should identify portion of record believed to contain inaccurate or misleading information
School must decide within a reasonable period of time whether to amend as requested
If school decides not to amend, must inform parent or eligible student of right to a hearing
After a hearing, if decision is still not to amend, parent or eligible student has a right to insert a statement in the record.
Amending Education Records
Rights for parents and eligible students to inspect and review education records include –
School must comply within 45 days
Schools are generally required to give copies, or make other arrangements for access, only if failure to do so would effectively deny access – example would be a parent or eligible student who does not live within commuting distance
School may not destroy records if request for access is pending
If the records contain information on more than one student, the requesting parent or eligible student may inspect, review, or be informed of only the specific information about his or her child’s records
Inspection and Review of Education Record
Schools must annually notify parents of students and eligible students in attendance of their rights under FERPA, including –
Right to inspect and review education records
Right to request amendment of education records
Right to consent to disclosures
Right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education
The annual notification must include –
Procedure to inspect and review education records
A statement that education records may be disclosed to school officials without prior written consent, including –
Specification of criteria for determining who school officials are
What constitutes a legitimate educational interest
“Personally identifiable information” (PII) includes, but is not limited to –
The student’s name
Name of the student’s parent or other family members
Address of the student or student’s family
A personal identifier, such as a social security number or student number
Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name
Other information that is linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances to identify the student
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that affords parents the right to have access to their children’s educational records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from educational records, except as provided by law.
When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from parents to the student (“eligible student”).
What is FERPA?
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA 101: FERPA Basics
Adapted from U.S. Department of Education
You cannot give the attendance information to the police department. Attendance records are considered part of the educational record and cannot be released without the consent of the student (if over 18) or the parent.
Unless a warrant is served, providing the information to any outside party, including the local police department, would violate FERPA. The law does provide the release of information if it is designated as directory information or if the criminal activity was related to a health/safety emergency.
If the district employs a police liaison officer on staff, that person would have access to the information. FERPA would also allow the release of information if the student was being served under the juvenile court system.
Skipping has become a problem in your school. Your principal and the local police have been looking for students who are not in school during the day. You receive a phone call from the local police department asking if a particular student was in attendance in your class yesterday. They tell you that they are investigating whether the students were involved in some vandalism and need to know their whereabouts. Can you give them the information?
Information to Police…
It has been determined that a student’s social security number or any portion of the social security number is considered an education record and is protected under FERPA. In addition, any type of identifying number, such as a student ID, that could be considered “easily traceable” also falls into this category. So both instances would be considered a violation of FERPA.
Your students are always asking you about their grades on assignments. You decide to post the grades in your room according to the last four digits of the student’s social security number. On the first day of posting grades this way, one of the students complain so you change to posting the grades according to student ID numbers. Is this a violation of FERPA?
Information on a computer screen should be protected the same way as printed reports. Computer programs with confidential information should be closed when you are not using them and computers should be locked when you leave the room. Printed reports should be filed in a secure area and not left on your desk.
You leave your room for a few minutes during your planning time. Before you left, you were working with personal student information and you did not lock your computer. While you were gone, an unauthorized person came by your room and retrieved some of the personal student information from your computer screen. Under FERPA, is your school responsible?
Exceptions related to the local education agency include –
School officials with legitimate educational interests
Schools in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
Authorized representatives of Federal, State, and local educational authorities conducting an audit, evaluation, or enforcement of education programs
State and local officials pursuant to a State statute in connection with serving the student under the juvenile justice system
Organizations conducting studies for specific purposes on behalf of the school
Parents of a dependent student
Compliance with a judicial order or subpoena
Health or safety emergency
Disclosure Consent Exemptions
“Education records” are records that are –
Directly related to a student;
Maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution
Exceptions to “education records” include –
Sole possession records used as a personal memory aid
Law enforcement unit records
Student employment records
Take Quiz 5 at our website.
Read the scenario on your card. In your group, decide whether or not your scenario is in violation of FERPA.
On the back, write whether or not it is a violation and why. If there is a violation, how would you protect against it?
“Directory information” cannot generally include a student’s social security number or student ID number
New provision: “Directory information” may include a student ID number or other unique personal identifier that is displayed on a student ID badge, but only if the identifier cannot be used to gain access to education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate the user’s identity such as a PIN or password.
Directory Information – cont.
FERPA applies to schools that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education.
Most private and parochial schools at the elementary and secondary levels do not receive such funds and are not subject to FERPA.
Who does FERPA apply to?
Candace Lane, MS
Carl Liaupsin, Ed.D.
University of Arizona