Page 10 - HIWT World of Welding Spring-Summer 2021
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FERPA – What to Know

            The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C.   information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible
            § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy   students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means
            of student education records. The law applies to all schools that   of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student
            receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department   handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each
            of Education.                                      school.
            FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s   Some pertinent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) are
            education records. These rights transfer to the student when he   outlined below:
            or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high
            school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are   What must a consent to disclose education records contain?
            “eligible students.”                               FERPA requires that a consent for disclosure of education records be
                                                               signed and dated, specify the records that may be disclosed, state the
            •  Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review
             the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools   purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or class of parties
             are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons   to whom the disclosure may be made.  34 CFR § 99.30.  As such, oral
             such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible   consent for disclosure of information from education records would
             students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for   not meet FERPA’s consent requirements.
             copies.                                           Can parents view a child’s post-secondary education record?
            •  Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school   FERPA generally prohibits the nonconsensual disclosure of
             correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading.   information derived from education records, except in certain
             If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or   specified circumstances. One of these exceptions permits the
             eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After   nonconsensual disclosure of information derived from education
             the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record,   records to that student’s parent if the student is a dependent for
             the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement   tax purposes. Neither the age of the student, nor the parent’s status
             with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested   as custodial parent, is relevant to determining whether disclosure
             information.                                      of information from the education records of eligible students to
                                                               a parent without written consent is permissible under FERPA. If a
            •  Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent   student is claimed as a dependent by either parent for tax purposes,
             or eligible student in order to release any information from a   then either parent
             student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to
             disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties   Does a spouse of an eligible student have rights with respect
             or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):  to that student’s education records?
                                                               No, spouses of eligible students have no rights under FERPA.  Before
               • •  School officials with legitimate educational interest;  an education institution discloses information from a student’s
               • •  Other schools to which a student is transferring;  education records to his or her spouse, the student would have to
               • •  Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;  provide written consent.
               • •  Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a
                 student;                                      In the case of a divorce, do both parents have rights under
               • •  Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of   FERPA?
                 the school;                                   Generally, yes.  Unless a school is provided with evidence that there
               • •  Accrediting organizations;                 is a court order, state law, or other legally binding document relating
               • •  To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;  to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically
               • •  Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety   provides to the contrary, FERPA gives custodial and noncustodial
                 emergencies; and                              parents alike certain rights with respect to their children’s education
               • •  State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system,   records. A school may ask for legal certification denoting parenthood,
                 pursuant to specific State law.               such as a birth certificate or court order, from the parent requesting
            Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such   access.
            as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place   Can parents be informed about students’ violation of alcohol
            of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However,   and controlled substance rules?
            schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory   FERPA permits a college or university to let parents of students under
            information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable   the age of 21 know when the student has violated any law or policy
            amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory   concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

            2021 SPRING/SUMMER ISSUE  - 10 -
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