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1 Confidentiality & Professional Communication Bellwood-Antis School District August 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Confidentiality & Professional Communication Bellwood-Antis School District August 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Confidentiality & Professional Communication Bellwood-Antis School District August 2012

2 2 Regulations that Govern Confidentiality FERPA regulations {Family Education Rights & Privacy Act} IDEIA regulations [Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004] General State Regulations [22 PA Code 12.31] PA Special Education Regulations Act 212 {related to early intervention} HIPAA {Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act}

3 3 FERPA, HIPPA & IDEIA FERPA assures access, limited disclosure, and safeguard (amendment) procedures. IDEIA provides an explicit duty for agencies to safeguard confidentiality through the collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages of information. HIPAA provides protection for the privacy of certain individually identifiable health data, referred to as protected health information.

4 4 Purpose of FERPA To assure student/parent ACCESS to education records To limit DISCLOSURE to others for unauthorized purposes. To provide SAFEGUARDS to individuals: parent/student opportunity to challenge inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate information in records.

5 5 Why was FERPA enacted? Abuse of student records was commonplace. Much of the abuse was done unknowingly, yet the damage in terms of college rejections, lost employment opportunities, & tainted reputations was great. Information tended to grow; was not always factual; innuendo & gossip were often included.

6 6 Why was FERPA enacted? Schools had denied parents access to their child’s school records, while allowing others access. No process for challenging questionable information. Further protections were created with the shift of records from paper to electronic formats increasing the potential for individuals to access, use, and disclose sensitive personal data

7 7 School Policies & Procedures  216 Student Records  Student Records Plan for Special Education Students  Confidentiality Policies, Procedures & Guidelines for Special Education and Gifted Education

8 8 Confidentiality Policies & Procedures  A school confidentiality/student records policy is a written document that outlines a school’s plan to protect student information.confidentiality/student records policy  Furthermore, these documents attempt to define boundaries that identify what type of information can be shared and what types of individuals are authorized to view it. Schools put these documents in place to help ensure that teachers, administrative staff, and all other faculty understand their responsibilities.

9 9 Confidentiality Policies & Procedures  Part of keeping student data confidential is defining who sees these records and under what circumstances.  As part of their daily jobs, administrative staff will likely need to create and maintain personal records for each student.  To protect this data, a school confidentiality policy might define how the school keeps this information safe and secure. For instance, filed records are likely to be kept in a locked area inaccessible to anyone but staff, while data stored on a computer are liable to be password protected and encrypted.

10 10 How does this Apply to Me? DISCLOSURE: As a school employee you must be careful not to discuss any protected educational information relating to your students with anyone who does not have a legitimate need to know.

11 11 Disclosure which could identify a student as one who receives special services or reveals personal medical information outside the scope of those who need to know… Conversations with family and friends Conversations with staff members without “need to know” Newsletters Memos to staff s Faculty bulletin boards Newspaper articles or photos Online resources (websites, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc) Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc)

12 12 Protected Student Information Directly related to the student. Maintained by the educational agency or by a party acting for the agency. Any recorded information: handwritten, verbal, print, computer, video or audio, film, etc.

13 13 Personally Identifiable Information Date and place of birth, parent(s) and/or guardian addresses and where parents can be contacted in case of emergencies. Grades, test scores, courses taken, academic specialization and activities, and official letters regarding a student's status in school. Special education records Disciplinary records

14 14 Personally Identifiable Information Medical and health records that the school creates or collects and maintains Documentation of attendance, schools attended, courses taken, awards conferred and degrees earned Personal information such as a student's ID code, social security number, picture or other information that would make it easy to identify or locate a student.

15 15 Directory Information OK Information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  Unless parent/s have indicated in writing that they do not want directory information released without their permission.  annual notification to parents with opportunity to "opt out”

16 16 Directory Information student’s name address telephone date & place of birth Grade level major activities & sports weight & height of members of athletic teams attendance degrees & awards most recent previous school Enrollment status

17 Third Party Disclosures  Under FERPA, a school may not generally disclose personally identifiable information from a minor student's education records to a third party unless the student’s parent has provided written consent.  However, there are a number of exceptions to FERPA's prohibition against nonconsensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records. Under these exceptions, schools are permitted to disclose personally identifiable information from education records without consent. 17

18 18 Which school personnel have a right to access w/o parent consent? All school officials who have a “legitimate educational interest” may have access w/o consent. Right to access without consent

19 School Officials defined as… Although the term “school official” is not defined in the statute or regulations, FERPA generally interprets the term to include parties such as: Teacher; administrator; board member; support or clerical staff; attorney; nurse and Health staff; counselor; human resources staff; information systems specialist; school security Personnel; Contractor, consultant, volunteer or other party to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions. 19

20 20 Legitimate Educational Interest Part of educational decision-making Maintain confidentiality of all information obtained in the proper course of the educational process Dispense of such information only when prescribed/directed by professional practice (and state/federal laws).

21 21 Other exceptions to consent: Other schools to which a student is transferring; Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

22 22 Exceptions to consent: Accrediting organizations; To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

23 23 Collection, Storage & Destruction of Records Store confidential information in a secured/locked area. Be cautious about "passive" and unintended releases of information (ex: leaving information visible on desk or walking away from a computer screen that displays student information). Destroy or return all personally identifiable information when the information is no longer needed for the purposes for which it was intended.

24 24 Parent Right to Access Full rights to either custodial and non- custodial parent unless there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.

25 25 Excluded from student records Sole possession records (notes intended only for use of the person who took them) Law enforcement records School employee records {refer to details of FERPA law}

26 26 Procedures for Amending Records 1. Parent or eligible student requests the agency amend the record. 2. Agency decides within a reasonable time if it will amend. 3. If no, agency informs parent/student & their right to a hearing.

27 Amending Records  While the FERPA amendment procedure may be used to challenge facts that are inaccurately recorded, it may not be used to challenge a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by a school about a student. 27

28 28 Destruction of Educational Records Unless there is an outstanding request by a parent to inspect and review education records, FERPA permits the school to destroy such records without notice to the parent.

29 29 What should I do to protect myself? When in doubt – don’t give it out! Refer requests for student academic information to the school office or designated personnel. Do not provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone in trying to locate a student on campus that is not part of the school staff. Refer them to the school office. Information on a computer should be treated with the same confidentiality as a paper copy. Do not leave confidential information displayed on an unattended computer. Cover or put away papers that contain confidential information if you are going to step away from your desk.

30 30 What should I do to protect myself? Do not discuss any student information with anyone that does not have a “need to know” (verify parent/guardian rights) When discussing, hold conversations in a private setting to prevent others from hearing confidential information. Never discuss student information with anyone outside of the school. Ensure third party consents with outside agencies have been secured. When referring to other locations or making public announcements, keep information general (ex: Room 5 or Mr. Jones classroom vs. special education class or learning support).

31 31 Remember: Never say anything bad about a child with whom you are working. If its personal, don’t say it! Treat all students as you would like to be treated! Maintain confidentiality at all times!

32 Enforcement of Regulations  FERPA is enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) of the US Dept. of Education. Contact them with FERPA questions by phone at (202) or by at Policy Compliance Office  IDEIA is enacted by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education.  The PA Department of Education oversees state regulations under the 22 PA School Code.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule. 32


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