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

6.D. Release Without Prior Consent

In some circumstances, without prior written consent from the parent, personally identifiable information may be released to particular individuals or entities outside the agency or school. Such release must be allowed by an established policy. Agency or school staff should be familiar with federal and state laws as well as local policies established in this regard. They should also understand that they are not required to release information unless otherwise specified by these laws or policies, but are given the option to do so. Section 2 lists these outside individuals or entities to whom student records may be released. Examples of these individuals include designated, authorized representatives from state and local education agencies, and health or safety personnel in case of an emergency. Exhibit 62 includes a form that an agency or school could use to monitor this type of release.

Within the agency or school, education records may be released and used by personnel who are considered to have a legitimate educational interest or need-to-know without prior written consent of the parent. Section 4 contains guidelines regarding this type of release. Examples of personnel who may have authorized access to the student records include research and evaluation directors and service providers or coordinators of special programs in which the students participate.

The NSLA allows the release of free- and reduced-price school meal eligibility without the consent of the parent for certain purposes. (See section 2.) Agencies or schools should establish written guidelines to permit such release.