Confidentiality & The Family Educational Rights and Privacy ActThe Grafton Public School District is responsible to inform staff annually of their responsibilities regarding confidentiality of student information. This year, staff will be asked to complete the certification form to verify that they understand the importance of confidentiality.
The student record regulations (603 CMR) allow only authorized school personnel to have access to information in a student’s record. Authorized school personnel is defined as school administrators, teachers (to include therapists) and counselors (to include school psychologists) who are employed by the School Department and who are working directly with the student. Individuals not working with a student do not have access to the record without written permission of the parent or student (student at age 14 or entering 9th grade).
While it is sometimes necessary for staff to discuss student issues during the work day, personal and confidential information regarding a student should not be shared outside of the school walls for any reason by any staff person. The most appropriate means of complying with this regulation is to approach it conservatively. In addition, it is helpful to view it from a personal perspective in the sense of how we would want someone to deal with information if it was about our own children or ourselves.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
School officials with legitimate educational interest;
Other schools to which a student is transferring;
Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.Please read Policy JRA: JRA Student RecordsPlease read Policy JRA-L JRA-L Student Records