Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. Educational records subject to this protection include all academic, attendance, health, guidance and special service reports. FERPA requires schools to inform parents and students annually of these rights, such as by this notice for the current school year. Under FERPA, parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) have the following rights:
Parents and eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days from the date in which the school receives a request for access.
Parents or eligible students who wish to review their records should submit a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect to the school principal or other appropriate “school official.” A “school official” is a person employed by the district as an administrator, supervisor, instructor or support staff (including health or medical staff and law enforcement personnel), school board member, or a person or company with whom the district has contracted to perform a specific task (such as attorney, auditor, medical consultant, therapist or evaluator.
After processing the written request for inspection of a student’s education records, the school official will make arrangements for the access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and the place where the records may be inspected. A copy fee of $0.25 per page may be charged provided that such fee does not effectively prevent parents or eligible students from exercising their rights to inspect and review these records.
Parents and eligible students have the right to request the amendment of the student’s educational records that the parent or eligible student believes to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
Parents or eligible students who seek to amend a record should submit a written request to the school principal which clearly identifies the part of the record they want changed, and why it is incorrect or misleading. 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 and their right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
Please note that the school is not required to consider requests for amendment under FERPA that: (1) seek to change a grade or disciplinary decision; (2) seek to change opinions or reflections of a school official or other person reflected in an education record; or (3) seek to change a determination with respect to a child’s status under special education programs.
Parents and eligible students have the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without their consent.
Generally, schools must have written permission/consent from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education records. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
• to a school official with a legitimate educational interest (i.e., the official needs the record to fulfill his or her professional responsibility);
• to another school district to which the student seeks or intends to enroll;
• to specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
• to appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
• to organizations conducting certain studies on behalf of the school;
• to accrediting organizations;
• to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
• to appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
• to state and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
In addition, schools are also permitted to release information, without prior written consent of the parents or eligible student, which has been appropriately designated as “directory information” by the district. Grand Island Central School District has designed the following information as “directory information”:
• student’s name
• telephone listing
• participation in officially recognized activities and sports
• weight and height of members of athletic teams
• degrees, honors and awards received
• date and place of birth
• grade level
• enrollment status
• the school most recently previously attended if not Grand Island
NOTE: Specific examples include honor roll, merit roll, annual yearbook, playbills and graduation programs.
Photo/directory information, which is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) such as Grand Island Central School District to provide military recruiters, upon request, with three photo/directory information categories – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the LEA that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.
If you do not want Grand Island Central School District to disclose “photo/directory information” from your child’s education records, you must notify the building principal in writing that you do not want “photo/directory information” disclosed. The written notice to the principal about photo/directory information must be received no later than 14 days after the date of publication of the notice (or within 15 days of newly enrolling in the district). A notice is provided below.
Parents and eligible students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Grand Island Central School District 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 20202-5920
Additional information on local school policy may be obtained from building principals or Pupil Services at Grand Island Central School District, 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island, New York 14072.