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Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information
NCES 2006-805
July 2006

Videotapes and Online Information

When created and kept by the school or education agency, videotapes or photographs directly related to a specific student are considered part of that student's education records and, therefore, subject to FERPA. For instance, if the tape captured an altercation, it would be included in the involved students' education record, and the school has to obtain consent before publishing or disclosing its contents to unauthorized individuals. However, authorization would be needed only for the students actually involved in the altercation; other students in the video would be considered "set dressing" (not relevant to the incident) and not covered.

Information on the Internet is treated in a similar way. Posting information is considered "disclosure" and must, therefore, comply with FERPA guidelines. Even without FERPA, school officials should consider safety concerns and exercise caution when displaying information (such as identifiable pictures) about students on the Internet, even if the information is designated as directory information. Including parents in any decisions about how much student information is appropriate might be a good practice, especially for younger students.

More information on this topic can be found in The Appropriate and Effective Use of Security Technologies in U.S. Schools: A Guide for Schools and Law Enforcement Agencies (U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs 1999).


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