Many members of the education community
have access to confidential information. This document addresses the need
for the members of the education community to understand their legal responsibilities
and to develop procedures to maintain the privacy of student records. Persons
who may use the information in this document include:
education agency staff need to understand the legal requirements
and implement proper management procedures and controls at the state level
when they collect personally identifiable student information. This document
can help state education agency staff to identify ways to ensure that data
providers and users are informed of their rights and responsibilities when
handling personally identifiable as well as aggregate data. State education
agency staff also have a responsibility to advise school and school district
staff on proper policies and procedures to ensure privacy.
or local policymakers need to understand the legal requirements
and identify the areas in which rules, regulations, policies, or guidelines
district staff who maintain student records or data need to understand
the legal requirements of federal and state laws and local regulations
that protect the privacy of the records. They must develop proper policies
that specify the roles of staff and the steps that are required to make
the policies operational.
administrators or staff who maintain files about students in their
schools need to know how to handle requests for information about students
and how to restrict access to student records. They also need to notify
parents or eligible students of their rights under FERPA.
and support services staff at the district or state level need
to understand their rights to see personally identifiable information about
students as well as their responsibilities to share information only with
staff need to plan for the appropriate technical configurations
to manage the security of the information system effectively.
and other school-based support professionals who receive numerous
formal or informal requests from colleagues or outsiders for information
about their students need to know that policies are in place to ensure
the appropriate maintenance and release of personally identifiable data.
We have divided this document into six
sections. Sections 2 to 6 identify the intended audience(s) and list commonly
asked questions for which detailed answers may be found in the text. The
text discusses general guidelines and provides examples of effective practices,
sample forms, and references to other sources.
Section 1 provides an overview of the
issues and discusses important concepts and terminology used throughout
the document. The section also presents the organization and contents of
Section 2 describes federal laws protecting
the privacy of students that have implications for the maintenance and
release of student data by state and local education agencies. You are
encouraged to identify relevant state laws and local regulations that also
Section 3 describes appropriate procedures
for collecting individual information about students.
Section 4 describes the management controls
and policies needed to maintain and use data withinthe agency or school.
This section addresses the issue of assessing who in an agency or school
has a "legitimate educational interest" in specific information about an
Section 5 pertains to procedures for providing
access to a student's education record by the eligible student or the parent.
Section 6 suggests procedures for handling
external requests, including the public, researchers, and other service
professionals, to release information from individual student records.
contain the text of key federal rules and regulations. The appendices,
which immediately follow the text, provide the complete text of key federal
rules and regulations discussed in this document. We encourage you to search
for and include in this section your states' laws or statutes that further
govern the privacy of education records.
U.S. Department of Education. National
Center for Education Statistics. Protecting the Privacy of Student
Records, NCES 97-527, by Oona Cheung, Barbara Clements, and Ellen Pechman.
Washington, DC: 1997.
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