FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older ("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 after the day South Eastern School District (SESD) receives a request for access.

Procedure to request inspection of records: Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal’s office a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected, usually within the school during business hours.

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. 

Procedure to request the amendment of records: Parents or eligible students who wish to ask SESD to amend a record should notify the school principal in writing, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed, and should specify why it should be changed. If SESD decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, SESD will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and 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 provide written consent before SESD discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. 

a. Such consent must include:

i. The records that may be disclosed 
ii. The purpose of the disclosure 
iii. The party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made 
There are several exceptions which allow schools to authorize disclosure without consent.

FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the parent or eligible student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. 

Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the parent or eligible student, §99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the school to record the disclosure. Parents and eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.
FERPA’s statutory exceptions include, but are not limited to disclosure:

1. To school officials with legitimate educational interests.

a. SESD defines a school official as: 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) or a person serving on the school board. 

i. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve 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.***

b. SESD defines a legitimate public interest as: the need to review an education record in order to fulfill a professional responsibility. 

i. A legitimate public interest may include publishing a yearbook, creating a tutoring website, drafting a school newsletter, etc. 

c. Upon request, SESD discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer. 

d. School officials are prohibited from selling or otherwise disseminating any PII they receive. (§99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(3)) 

2. To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as the State educational agency in the parent or eligible student’s State (SEA). 
a. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.
b. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35) 

3. In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4)) 

4. To State and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a State statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released, subject to §99.38. (§99.31(a)(5))

5. To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6)) 

6. To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§99.31(a)(7)) 

7. To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8)) 

8. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9)) 

9. To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10) 

10. Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11)) 

a. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow SESD to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include: 

i. A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production; 

ii. The annual yearbook; 

iii. Honor roll or other recognition lists; 

iv. Graduation programs; and 

v. Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members. 

b. Directory information, which is information that 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. 

 i. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. 

c. In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with the following information – 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. 

d. If you do not want SESD to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the District in writing by October 30, 2017. 

e. SESD has designated the following information as directory information: 

i. Student’s name and address 
ii. Student’s telephone listing 
iii. Student’s electronic email address 
iv. Student’s photograph 
v. Student’s date and place of birth
vi. Student’s dates of attendance 
vii. Student’s grade level 
viii. Student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports 
ix. The weight and height of members of athletic teams 
x. The most recent educational agency attended 
xi. Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc. (A student’s SSN, in whole or in part, cannot be used for this purpose.) 

Parents and eligible students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by SESD 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