FERPA [Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act]

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U. S. Department of Education. The law stipulates that schools may disclose, without parent consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, phone number, date and place of birth, grade level, picture, school activities, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. The law also provides parents with the opportunity to request that the schools not disclose information about their child(ren). Parents may contact the school principal by September 15 if they wish to request that the schools not disclose directory information. 

FERPA requires that Wayne County Public Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, Wayne County Public Schools may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the Wayne County Public Schools to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications, Examples include:

• A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
• The annual yearbook;
• Honor roll or other recognition lists;
• Graduation programs; and
• Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

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. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. 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 three directory information categories – name, 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.

If you do not want Wayne County Public Schools to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the District in writing by September 15. Wayne County Public Schools has designated the following information as directory information:

• Student’s Name
• Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
• Address
• Telephone listing
• Weight and height of members of athletic teams
• Electronic mail address
• Photograph
• Degrees, honors, and awards received
• Date and place of birth
• Major field of study
• Dates of attendance
• Grade level
• The most recent educational agency or institution attendance

Another exception, in accordance with the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (Public Law 112-278), educational agencies and institutions are now allowed to disclose a student's education records, without parental consent, to a caseworker or other representative of a State or local child welfare agency or tribal organization authorized to access a student's case plan when such an agency or organization is legally responsible, in accordance with State or tribal law, for the case and protection of the student. In specified types of judicial proceedings in which the parent is involved, the Act also allows educational agencies and institutions to disclosed a student's education records pursuant to a judicial order without requiring additional notice to the parent by the education agency or institution.

Model Notification of Rights under FERPA

for Elementary and Secondary Schools

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:

(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the School receives a request for access.

Parents or eligible students should submit to the School principal [or appropriate school offi­cial] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The School official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

(2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate.

Parents or eligible students may ask the School to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the School principal [or appropriate school official], clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the School 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.

(3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without con­sent.

One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is 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); a person serving on the School Board; a person or com­pany with whom the School has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, audi­tor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student 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.

(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School District 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 20202-5901