Who Has Access to Your Child’s Personally Identifiable Information?

When you receive your parent handbook for your child’s school this year, please check out the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the very tiny print. As usual, the devil is in the details. We would like to highlight a few of those details here.

First the text of your privacy rights.  

NOTICE:  FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records.  These rights are:
 (1) The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the school receives a request for access.
Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect.  The arrangements for access and notification to the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
 (2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.  This does not include the right to request a change to any specific grade.
Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the school to amend a record should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed.  If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
 (3) The right to privacy of personally identifiable information (PPI) in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the school has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use its own employees to perform (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.   Upon request, the District discloses educational records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks to enroll if the disclosure is for the purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.
 (4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

Did you catch that if you, the parent, want to see your child’s record the school has 45 days to get that information to you?

Did you catch who can have personally identifiable information about your child without your permission?  …administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the school has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use its own employees to perform (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. 

Is it OK with you that these people have personally identifiable information about your child released to them without your permission? 

Does it take them 45 days to get your child’s information to any of those listed?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s