Federal law under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) gives parents the rights to their children’s educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. This applies to most schools.
What Are A Parent’s Rights Under FERPA?
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records:
• Parents have the right to review and inspect their child’s educational records maintained by the school. Schools may charge for copies.
• Parents have the right to request that a school correct a record that they believe to be inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the educational record, the parent has a right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent has a right to place a statement with the record reflecting their viewpoint about the information that is contested.
• Generally, schools must have in writing permission from a parent to release information about a student’s educational record. The law allows schools to disclose those records to the following parties under the following conditions:
School officials who have a legitimate educational interest in reviewing the record;
Another school where the student transfers to;
Appropriate officials for evaluation or auditing purposes;
Appropriate individuals in connection to the student’s financial aid;
Organizations providing certain studies on behalf of the school;
To comply with a court order or subpoena;
Appropriate officials in safety and health emergencies; and Juvenile justice system authorities, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools are allowed to disclose, without consent, “directory” information including name, phone number, and other such basic information as long as they tell parents about such information and allow a reasonable time frame to opt out.
These rights under FERPA will transfer to the student when they reach the age of majority (age 18) or attend college or an educational institution beyond high school.
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