White Plains Academy adheres to the Tennessee Department of Education's graduation requirements. You will find information regarding these requirements at:
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Parents' Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: Rights Regarding Children's Education Records
A school may disclose directory information to anyone, without consent, if it has given parents: general notice of the information it has designated as "directory information;" the right to opt out of these disclosures; and the period of time they have to notify the school of their desire to opt out.
Does FERPA give me a right to see the education records of my son or daughter who is in college?
When a student turns 18 years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to you as a parent under FERPA transfer to the student ("eligible student"). However, FERPA provides ways in which a school may-but is not required to-share information from an eligible student's education records with parents,
without the student's consent.
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.
- Schools may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves
their son or daughter.
- Schools may inform parents if the student, if he or she is under age 21, has violated any law
or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- A school official may generally share with a parent information that is based on that
official's personal knowledge or observation of the student.
For further information about FERPA, contact the Department's Family Policy Compliance Office.
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-5920
For quick, informal responses to routine questions about FERPA, parents may also
e-mail the Family Policy Compliance Office at FERPA.Customer@ED.Gov.
Additional information and guidance may be found at FPCO's Web site at: https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal privacy law that gives
parents certain protections with regard to their children's education records, such as report
cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact and family information, and class schedules. As a parent, you have the right to review your child's education records and to request changes under limited circumstances. To protect your child's privacy, the law generally requires schools to ask for written consent before disclosing your child's personally identifiable information to individuals other than you.
The following questions and answers are intended to help you understand your rights as a parent under FERPA. If you have further questions, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office using the contact information provided below.
My child's school won't show me her or his education records. Does the school have to provide me with a copy of the records if I request them?
Schools must honor your request to review your child's education records within 45 days of receiving the request. Some states have laws similar to FERPA that require schools to provide access within a shorter period of time. FERPA requires that schools provide parents with an opportunity to inspect and review education records, but not to receive copies, except in limited circumstances.
Parents whose children receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may have additional rights and remedies with regard to their children's education records. The school district, local special education director, or state special education director can answer questions about IDEA.
Who else gets to see my child's education records?
To protect your child's privacy, schools are generally prohibited from disclosing personally
identifiable information about your child without your written consent.
Exceptions to this rule include:
- disclosures made to school officials with legitimate educational interests;
- disclosures made to another school at which the student intends to enroll;
- disclosures made to state or local education authorities for auditing or evaluating federal-
or state-supported education programs, or enforcing relevant federal laws; and
- disclosures including information the school has designated as "directory information."
What is directory information?
FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in a student's education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
Directory information could include:
- name, address, telephone listing, electronic
mail address, date and place of birth, dates of
attendance, and grade level;
- participation in officially recognized activities
- weight and height of members of athletic teams;
- degrees, honors, and awards received; and
- the most recent school attended.
Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety: A Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act for Elementary and Secondary Schools
School officials are regularly asked to balance the interests of safety and privacy for individual students. While the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) generally requires schools to ask for written consent before disclosing a student's personally identifiable information to individuals other than his or her parents, it also allows schools to take key steps to maintain school safety. Understanding the law empowers
school officials to act decisively and quickly when issues arise.
Health or Safety Emergency
In an emergency, FERPA permits school officials to disclose without consent education records, including personally identifiable information from those records, to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals. At such times, records and information may be released to appropriate parties such as law enforcement officials, public health officials, and trained medical personnel. See 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(10) and § 99.36. This exception is limited to the period of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information from a student's education records.
Law Enforcement Unit Records
Many school districts employ security staff to monitor safety and security in and around schools. Some schools employ off-duty police officers as school security officers, while others designate a particular school official to be responsible for referring potential or alleged violations of law to local police authorities. Under FERPA, investigative reports and other records created and maintained by these "law enforcement units" are not considered "education records" subject to FERPA. Accordingly, schools may disclose information from law enforcement unit records to anyone, including outside lawenforcement authorities, without parental consent. See 34 CFR § 99.8. While a school has flexibility in deciding how to carry out safety functions, it must also indicate to parents in its school policy or information provided to parents which office or school official serves as the school's "law enforcement unit." (The school's notification to parents of their rights under FERPA can include this designation. As an example, the U.S. Department of Education has posted a model notification on the Web at: http://www.ed.gov /policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/lea-officials.html.) Law enforcement unit officials who are employed by the school should be designated in its FERPA notification as "school officials" with a "legitimate educational interest." As such, they may be given access to personally identifiable information from students' education records. The school's law enforcement unit officials must protect the privacy of education records it receives and may disclose them only in compliance with FERPA. For that reason, it is advisable that law enforcement unit records be maintained separately from education records.
Schools are increasingly using security cameras as a tool to monitor and improve student
safety. Images of students captured on security videotapes that are maintained by the school's law enforcement unit are not considered education records under FERPA. Accordingly, these videotapes may be shared with parents of students whose images are on the video and with outside law enforcement authorities, as appropriate. Schools that do not have a designated law enforcement unit might consider designating an employee to serve as the "law enforcement unit" in order to maintain the security camera and determine the appropriate circumstances in which the school would disclose recorded images.
Personal Knowledge or Observation
FERPA does not prohibit a school official from disclosing information about a student if the information is obtained through the school official's personal knowledge or observation, and not from the student's education records. For example, if a teacher overhears a student making threatening remarks to other students, FERPA does not protect that information, and the teacher may disclose what he or she overheard to appropriate authorities.
Transfer of Education Records
Finally, under FERPA, school officials may disclose any and all education records, including
disciplinary records and records that were created as a result of a student receiving special education services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to another school or post-secondary institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll. While parental consent is not required for transferring education records, the school's annual FERPA notification should indicate that such disclosures are made. In the absence of information about disclosures in the annual FERPA notification, school officials must make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent about the disclosure, unless the parent initiated the disclosure. Additionally, upon request, schools must provide a copy of the information
disclosed and an opportunity for a hearing. See 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(2) and § 99.34(a).
While the education agency or institution has the responsibility to make the initial, case-by- case determination of whether a disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of students or other individuals, U.S. Department of Education staff members are available to offer assistance in making this determination. For further information about FERPA, contact the Department's Family Policy Compliance Office.
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
For quick, informal responses to routine questions about FERPA, school officials may
also e-mail the Family Policy Compliance Office at FERPA@ED.Gov.
For inquiries about FERPA compliance training, e-mail FERPA.Client@ED.Gov.
Additional information and guidance may be found at FPCO's Web site at: https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/ferpa