General Information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Section 1002.22, Florida Statutes
1) FERPA protects the confidentiality of student educational records, which include a range of information about a student that is maintained in schools in any recorded way, such as handwriting, print, computer media, video or audiotape, film, microfilm, and microfiche. Examples are:
- Date and place of birth, parent(s) and/or guardian addresses, and where parents can be contacted in emergencies;
- Grades, test scores, courses taken, academic specializations and activities, and official letters regarding a student's status in school;
- Special education records;
- Disciplinary records;
- Medical and health records that the school creates or collects and maintains;
- Documentation of attendance, schools attended, courses taken, awards conferred, and degrees earned;
- Personal information such as a student's identification code, social security number, picture, or other information that would make it easy to identify or locate a student.
Personal notes made by teachers and other school officials that are not shared with others are not considered education records. Additionally, law enforcement records created and maintained by a school or district's law enforcement unit are not education records.
2) FERPA gives parents and eligible students the right to inspect and review their own education records, request corrections, halt the release of personally identifiable information, and obtain a copy of their institution's policy concerning access to educational records, and it requires the district to provide a notice annually regarding these rights. The district provides this notice in the Code of Student Conduct, on this website, and on school websites. (Public Notice of Parental and Student Rights Regarding Student Records for LCS)
3) FERPA prohibits educational institutions from disclosing "personally identifiable information in education records" without the written consent of the student, or if the student is a minor, the student's parents. The district provides a Parent Release of Student Information form for parents that choose to provide written consent for release.
4) FERPA provides exceptions that allow the release of student records to certain parties or under certain conditions. Records may be released without the parent’s or eligible student's consent: (1) to school officials with a legitimate educational interest; (2) to other schools to which a student seeks or intends to enroll; (3) to education officials for audit and evaluation purposes; (4) to accrediting organizations; (5) to parties in connection with financial aid to a student; (6) to organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of a school; (7) to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (a) when records are to be released to comply with a court order or subpoena, a notice is sent to parents (Receipt of Subpoena or Court Order Requesting Student Records). (b) the school district has worked with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to develop a court order that complies with FERPA for use by DCF employees who are not Child Protective Investigators. (FERPA Order) (8) in the case of health and safety emergencies; and (9) to state and local authorities within a juvenile justice system. The local Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) office works with the school district staff in Leon County to secure signed parent release forms for students under the supervision of DJJ. (LCS Release of Student Information for Court Proceedings)
5) In addition, FERPA allows but does not require, schools to release "directory information," including students' names and addresses, to the public, unless parents opt out. The School Board designates as student "directory information": a student's name; photograph; participation in officially-recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if a member of an athletic team; dates of attendance; date of graduation or program completion; diplomas; certificates; and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended. Parents/eligible students may opt out of the release of directory information using the Directory Information Opt-Out Form.
6) High schools are now required to provide students' names, addresses, and telephone numbers to military recruiters unless a student or parent opts out of such disclosure. (Denial of Access to Military Recruiters)
7) Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, requires school districts to provide access to the records of students involved in investigations by Child Protective Investigators. School Board Policy 5540 defines the school district’s responsibilities in such situations.