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FERPA - Sharing Student Information

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1 FERPA - Sharing Student Information
Seattle Public Schools by Joy Stevens, Sr. Legal Assistant General Counsel’s Office Welcome to our first – FERPA training seminar. The purpose of this presentation is to help you to become familiar with what FERPA is and how you and your office can comply with this regulation. I’ll start with a short explanation of what FERPA is.

2 What is FERPA? A federal law entitled The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 Also known as the Buckley Amendment Statute: 20 U.S.C. § 1232(g) Regulations: 34 CFR Part 99 Protects the privacy of a student’s educational records Applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education Enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education FERPA stands for the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. It is also known at the Buckley Amendment. It was first enacted in 1974 – almost 30 years ago. The US Dept of Education oversees the compliance of FERPA. They investigate violations as well as provide advice and counsel on how to comply with the law.

3 FERPA Compliance is Required
Educational agencies and their employees have an obligation to comply with the law and protect student confidentiality at all times. Failure to comply could result in the withholding of Federal Funds Lawsuits caused by violations cost time and money First I want to tell you what FERPA is not. Contrary to popular belief – FERPA is not a disease. It does apply to all Colleges and Universities and all offices that handle student information. An Educational Records are more than just grades – much more.

4 Education Records Are:
All records that directly relate to a student and are maintained by the agency. These records can be in any media form: handwritten, print, type, film, electronic, etc. This includes a lot of data.

5 Who Controls Student Records?
Parents or Legal Guardians of Students under age 18 (over 18 – FERPA rights transfer to student) Students over the age of 18 Parents or Legal Guardians, who still claim the Eligible Student (over 18) on their income tax, may receive copies of student’s records….but do not control the FERPA rights regarding release of the records.

6 Annual Notification – FERPA Form
Schools must annually notify parents of their FERPA rights, which include: Right to inspect and review educational records Right to request amendment of education records Right to consent to disclosures, with certain exceptions Right to file a complaint with U.S. Department of Education Annual FERPA Form gives parents the option to say “Yes” or “No” to the release of “directory information.”

7 What is Directory Information?
Directory Information, which can be released if parent selects “Yes” on the FERPA form, but must not to be used for any commercial purpose, includes: Parent/Guardian and Student Name Home Address, Home Phone Number, Home Address Student Photograph or Video Student Date of Birth Dates of Enrollment and Enrollment Status Grade Level and Most Recent School or Program Attended Degree or Award Received/Major Field of Study Participation in Activities and Sports/Height and Weight of Athletes Other Info Not Considered Harmful or An Invasion of Privacy if Disclosed

8 What is Directory Information? (cont’d.)
For “Yes” FERPA Students: It is information that can be released without parent/student written consent. For “No” FERPA Students: It is information that cannot be released without specific written consent (except as allowed under FERPA)

9 Who can access Student Information without written consent?
School officials with legitimate educational interest “School Officials” may include other parties to whom SPS has outsourced institutional services or functions provided under the direct control of the District. Must access only those records in which they have legitimate educational interests. Other schools to which a student is transferring Appropriate officials for audit, evaluation or enforcement purposes Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of SPS

10 Who can access Student Information without written consent? (cont’d.)
State and local officials for reporting compliance (truancy, CPS, etc.) Accrediting organizations Parents of dependent adult students (who claim student on federal tax return) Appropriate persons in health/safety emergency Directory information may be released publicly if FERPA selection is “Yes” to the release of information (shall NOT be released for commercial, research, or solicitation purposes)

11 If you are given access to student information, PLEASE NOTE:
Access to student information via online methods or other software does not authorize unrestricted use of that information. Curiosity is not a valid reason to view student information. Records should only be used in the context of official business.

12 PLEASE NOTE: (cont’d.) 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. Never give out your database password to anyone. Parent Volunteers and Student Helpers should never have access to student records. Never discuss student information with anyone who does not have a legitimate educational interest – including family members other than parents or guardians. Grandparents have no FERPA rights!

13 Re-disclosure When disclosing information to a third party with or without written consent, schools must include a statement indicating: “This document contains personal information from a student’s education records. It is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g) and may not be re-released without consent of the parent or eligible student.” You must not share the information you have been given access to with anyone else who does not have a legitimate educational interest. You may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

14 Ways to obtain data/information:
Request “Directory Information” for “Yes” FERPA students Obtain specific written consent (from parent or eligible student) to receive confidential information Request anonymous student data (Note: data about a group of under 10 students in a particular category could lead to identification and might be withheld) School official with legitimate educational interest Conducting studies for SPS

15 Question & Answer Session
Thank you! Question & Answer Session

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