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Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies

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Exhibit 2–2: Fact Sheet: Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 USC § 1 232h; 34 CFR Part 98) applies to education agencies and institutions that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. PPRA is intended to protect the rights of parents and students in the following two ways:

  • It seeks to ensure that schools and contractors make instructional materials available for inspection by parents if those materials will be used in connection with a Department of Education-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation in which their children participate.
  • It seeks to ensure that schools and contractors obtain written parental consent before minor students are required to participate in any Department of Education-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning:
    • political affiliations;
    • mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and his/her family;
    • sexual behavior and attitudes;
    • illegal, antisocial, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;
    • critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
    • legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
    • religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; and
    • income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

For surveys not funded by the Department of Education, schools must notify parents and provide them with an opportunity to review the survey and opt their child out of participation. In addition, schools must work with parents to develop local policies regarding arrangements to protect student privacy relative to surveys, the administration of physical examinations or screenings, and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing purposes.

Parents or students who believe their rights under PPRA may have been violated may file a complaint with the Department of Education by writing the Family Policy Compliance Office. Complaints must contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of PPRA occurred.

For additional information or technical assistance, call (202) 260–3887 (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339. Or write to the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202–5901

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