The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the Division/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 principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. When parents are divorced or separated, the school principal or appropriate school official shall give full rights to either parents, unless the school has been provided with evidence that there is a court order or legally binding document relating to such matters as Child Protective Services or domestic violence issues, divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.
A stepparent has the same rights under FERPA as natural parents, provided that the stepparent is present on a day-to-day basis with the natural parent and child, and the other parent is absent from the home. A stepparent who is not present on a day-to-day basis in the home of the child does not have rights under FERPA with respect to the child’s scholastic records.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the principal decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the principal 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.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable directory information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosures without consent.
FERPA authorizes making student directory information public as permitted under state and federal laws and regulations. Prior to release of such information, the superintendent or designated principals shall give public notice of such intent in a newspaper of general circulation, a school paper, patron organization newsletter or announcements sent home to parents describing the kind of information being in the directory category. Any parent or eligible student who objects to the release of any or all of this information must notify, in writing, the principal of the school where the records are kept. The following is considered “directory information”:
- Name of student in attendance or no longer in attendance
- Telephone listing
- Date and place of birth
- Dates of attendance
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Height and weight, if a member of athletic team
- Awards and honors received
- Other similar information
- Annual yearbook print copies, playbills, program guides, photographs or recordings of school sponsored events
- Photographs or recordings of students taken by surveillance cameras where the images do not depict specific students engaging in actions that would constitute violations of the Code of Student Conduct. The School Administration reserves the right to determine whether release of such information should be released.
See School Board Policy 5-66 for a full explanation of the Division’s procedure for the release of directory information. It can be accessed through the internet at vbschools.com.
The school division may release student information concerning student scholastic and athletic achievements in the form of news releases, media interviews, and other public announcements. If a parent or eligible student objects to the release of such information, it will be necessary to notify, in writing, the principal of the school where the records are kept.
Student records may be disclosed to appropriate school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school division 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 division has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student or other volunteer serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or 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 division discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
Additionally, this law along with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 all require that School Administration must provide to military recruiters the student’s name, address, and telephone listings upon request.
Unless you, as a parent/guardian or eligible student, request otherwise, this information may be disclosed to the recruiters upon request. You have the right to refuse to allow all or any part of the above information to be designated as directory information and to be disclosed to recruiters upon request. If you wish to exercise this right, you must notify the principal of the school that the student is enrolled in writing within 10 days after enrollment.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the division/school to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
For more information about FERPA, please see the Family Policy Compliance Office website: www.ed.gov/fpco.
School Board policies and accompanying regulations pertinent to student records, School Board Policies 5-31and 5-66 and Regulations 5-31.1, 5-31.2, and 5-66.1, are available to interested persons at each school’s administrative office and library, the School Administration Building, and the school division’s website: vbschools.com/policies/policy5.asp.