Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students 18 or older certain rights with respect to the student’s educational records. They are:

    • The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the day the district receives a request for access. The written request for records should be submitted to the Special School District of St. Louis County’s Manager of Student Records.
    • The right to request amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or student believes is inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy under FERPA.

      • Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the Special School District to amend a record should write the area coordinator or principal of the Special School District building, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed.
      • If the district decides not to amend the record as requested, the parent or eligible student will be notified of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided when notified of the right to a hearing and can be obtained through the Special School District Director, Compliance Liaison.

    • The right to provide written consent before disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes certain disclosure without consent. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information and disclosures to the parent or eligible student, FERPA requires the school to record the disclosure. Parent and eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

    A district may disclose personally identifiable information from the education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent of the parents or the eligible student:

    1. To other school officials, including teachers, within the district or institution whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the district has outsourced institutional services or functions.

      The district has determined that the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) and its officers, employees and agents are school officials with legitimate educational interest because they act for and on behalf of SSD with respect to transfer students and the transfer program, and because they seek to advance the interests of both. A transfer student’s attendance records and other education records relevant to the student’s participation in the program or to the program itself may accordingly be disclosed to VICC without obtaining written consent. Upon request, SSD discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

    2. To officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

    3. To authorized representative of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Disclosures under this provision may be made in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal-or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.

    4. In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

    5. To State and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a State statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released.

    6. To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the district in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.

    7. To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.

    8. To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.

    9. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.

    10. To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency.

    11. Information the school has designated as “directory information.”
    • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington D.C. 20202.

    As part of a student’s educational record, the Special School District maintains the student’s individual test protocol booklets. When students are reevaluated and the information in the previous protocol booklets is no longer applicable, the booklets will be destroyed. If the parent/guardian or eligible student would like the out-dated test protocol booklets maintained in the student’s educational record, a written notification should be addressed to the Special School District of St. Louis County, Student Records Department, 12110 Clayton Road, Town & Country, MO 63131.

    As noted above, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that the Special School District, with certain exceptions, must obtain written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student’s educational record. However, the Special School District may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless the parent or eligible student have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the Special School District to include this type of information from the educational record in certain school publications. Examples include:

    • a playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production
    • the annual yearbook
    • honor roll or other recognition lists
    • graduation programs
    • sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members

    Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent or eligible student’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with three directory information categories - names, addresses and telephone listings - unless parents or eligible students have advised the agency that they do not want the student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.

    If parents or eligible students do not want the Special School District to disclose directory information from the student’s education records without prior written consent, they should notify the Special School District building principal in writing. The Special School District has designated the following information as directory information:

    • student’s name
    • address
    • telephone listing
    • electronic mail address
    • photograph
    • date and place of birth
    • major field of study
    • dates of attendance
    • grade level
    • participation in officially recognized activities and sports
    • weight and height of members of athletic teams
    • degrees, honors, and awards received
    • the most recent educational agency or institution attended
    • student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems but only if the identifier cannot be used to gain access to education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate the user's identify, such as a PIN, password, or other factor known or possessed only by the authorized user
    • a student ID number or other unique personal identifier that is displayed on a student ID badge, but only if the identifier cannot be used to gain access to education records except when used in conjunction with one or more factors that authenticate a user's identity, such as a PIN, password, or other factor known or possessed only by the authorized user

    Questions concerning release of student information, student records, or rights should be directed to the Special School District, 12110 Clayton Road, Town & Country, MO 63131 or call 314.989.8100.