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Chapter Outlines:

(Blue text denotes legislation or court cases)


Chapter 7: Liability and Student Records
I. SANCTIONS FOR VIOLATING FAMILY PRIVACY RIGHTS
A. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
B. Parents must be notified annually of their rights to view student records and
file complaints if needed.
C. Schools can release directory information yearly to public newspapers
information such as name, address, phone number, etc.
1. parents can object and it must be noted in their file and followed in
the future
II. RIGHTS OF PARENTS
1. School Records Act - Parents can view student records: any
identifying information
2. Court case in Illinois regarding test booklets found that they should
be handed over to parents as well, if requested, because they
containing student markings.
III. RIGHTS OF NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS (School or district policy should provide
guidance in situations when noncustodial parents request access to childs
educational records
IV. Page v. Rotterdam-Mohonasen Central School District (1981)--mother tried to
prevent childs father to see sons educational records
A. FERPA--funds shall not be available to educational agencies which deny to
parents the right to inspect and review the education records of their
children
B. Schools should make educational records accessible to both parents of each
child
V. RIGHTS OF ELIGIBLE STUDENTS--students who have reached the age of eighteen
or is enrolled in a postsecondary institution
VI. May exercise same rights granted to parents/guardians
A. May inspect confidential records of themselves
B. May challenge accuracy of information contained in file
C. May determine whether anyone other than authorized individuals may have
access to personal files
D. May have right to a copy of their personal files
E. Afforded same due process provision as parents are offered
F. May bring liability charges for defamation against school personnel (under
certain conditions)
VII. Confidentiality Issues Involving School Counselors
A. Laws have been passed by a number of states protecting the confidentiality
for counselors. In the states where laws have not been passed yet counselors
are required to testify if ordered.
B. Counselors are not required to share information if it is obtained by parents
about the student. If the record is in sole possession of the counselor, these
files are not subject to FERPA. However, confidentiality is not absolute, if it
is public interest it is all lost.
VIII. ENFORCEMENT OF STATE OR FEDERAL STATUTES
A. In order to enforce the federal and state laws federal and state officials
may inspect any file with consent of the parents. This includes evaluating the
federal education programs.
IX. FAMILY EDUCATION RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
A. Landmark US Supreme Court Rulings
1. Owasso ISD v. Falvo- ruled the peer grading did not violate FERPA. It
suggests that students grades are not maintained within FERPA. The
court also stated that FERPA should not be construed to prohibit
techniques currently being used by teachers.
2. Doe v. Gonzaga- A student sued Gonzaga University for disclosing
personally identifiable information without his consent. The court
ruled that students and parents may not sue for damages to enforce
FERPA
3. US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Ruling
a) the court affirmed a lower court ruling that university
disciplinary records are educational records under FERPA and
that disclosing such records withouts students consent violates
FERPA.
b) Reaffirmed the departments broad meaning of education
records
X. VIII. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT OF 2002
A. Annual Notification Requirements--Secretary of Education is required to
annually inform each state education agency and local education agency of
their obligations under both FERPA and the Protection of Pupil Rights
Amendment.
B. Transfer of School Disciplinary Records--Schools must show ability to
transfer records to any schools the student enrolls or seeks to attend.
C. Armed Forces Recruiter Access--schools are required to provide directory-
type information to military recruiters who request it--typically consists of
names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
XI. DEFAMATION INVOLVING SCHOOL PERSONNEL
A. Slander
1. Oral defamation
2. Occurs when school personnel inadvertently communicate sensitive and
damaging information contained in student files to others who have no
need to be informed
3. If information is ascertained by appropriate personnel, the
information should be used only for providing and improving
educational opportunities for the student.
B. Libel
1. Written defamation
2. Personnel should refrain from including damaging information in the
students record for which there is no basis.
3. Any information recorded should be factual and specific with respect
to the serious infractions committed by the student (time, place,
infraction, and witnesses)
C. Privilege
1. Qualified privilege - occurs when school personnel and the recipient of
the information both have a common interest and communicate the
information which is reasonable to achieve the objective.
D. Good Faith
1. Good faith efforts dictate that as information is shared with other
eligible parties, it is communicated for legitimate purposes and without
any intent or desire to damage the student.
E. Acts of Malice
1. Exists when there is intent to harm or injure another.
2. Implied malice - the offender has no defense for conveying harmful
information.
3. Actual malice - the offended person must demonstrate that the
person making the offensive comment had a motive for doing so and
that this motive was calculated to generate ill will against the
offended person.