The federal government sets the nationwide standard for privacy of school records in the Family Educational Records Protection Act, or FERPA. The primary purpose of FERPA is to guarantee parents access to school records of their minor children and to prohibit access in many other cases without parental consent. Although some states have passed laws that expand the FERPA protections, California has not. The state statutes reiterate
Privacy of School Records
Most students spend at least 13 years in school, starting in kindergarten. During that time, the school generates grades, test scores and other related records. But academic performance records are not the only student data generated during a child's passage through the school system. If a child gets into trouble for his behavior, he might have records of discipline. There might be therapy and counseling records,
All of this information
Family Educational Records Protection Act
What are a parent's rights under FERPA? While the child is under 18, a parent or guardian has the right to:
- Review the student's school files.
- Ask for correction of inaccurate information.
- Give or withhold consent for release of the records to others.
Children hold these rights with their parents and guardians while they are under 18 years old. When they turn 18,
Read More: California Law: Employee Protection Act
School Responsibilities Under the Act
The Department of Education can withhold federal funding from schools that do not grant access to a student's parents or guardians. But granting access is not the school's only responsibility. Schools must also notify parents and students of these rights and the procedures to review and correct records.
The schools must also tell parents and students that
- Transcripts when a student changes schools.
- Some information anonymously to researchers studying educational techniques.
- Relevant information to government officials auditing public
- Some information in
normal business. the course of
California School Privacy Law Right to Access
The federal law applies to all schools nationwide, but the state of California has also passed laws that reiterate these rights.
California School Privacy Law: Other Provisions
Additional statutes set out the procedures for schools to provide access. The California law allows the parent or guardian to make a written request to correct or remove any information recorded in the written records concerning his child if the information is:
- Not accurate.
- An unsubstantiated personal conclusion.
- A conclusion outside of the observer’s area of competence.
- Not based on the personal observation of a named person.
- In violation of the privacy or other rights of the pupil.
The parent may also
Under California law, the public can get directory information about a student, unless the parent or guardian objects to its release. This information includes data like the student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, and major field of study.
- Justia: 2018 California Code CH. 6.5 - Pupil Records
- U.S. Department of Education: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- U.S. Department of Education: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FAQs
- California Department of Education: Data Privacy
- FindLaw: Details on State Privacy of School Records
- Orange County Department of Education: Student Records
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.