FERPA and PPRA
What rights do parents still have under FERPA?
1. The right to inspect the information in their child’s education records, whether this data is held by the state, the local district or their child’s school.
2. The right to correct information in their child’s records if there are errors. If the school, district or state agency refuses to correct the record, the parent has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school or agency still refuses to correct the record, the parent has the right to amend the record by placing a statement into the child’s record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
3. The right to be informed as the school/district’s criteria in determining who constitutes a school official or other third party with a legitimate educational interest to whom the school/district intends to disclose personally identifiable information without parental consent.
4. The right to opt out of any “directory information” about their child being made public. Directory information generally includes a student’s name, address, email, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and/or dates of attendance. Schools must tell parents before sharing directory information that they have the right to opt out . (For information on how to opt out of “directory information” please see here.)
5. The right to opt out of having their child’s name, address and telephone from being provided to military recruiters.
6. The right to be informed of their FERPA rights each year by their school or district. The actual means of notification (letter, PTA bulletin, student handbook, or website) is left to the discretion of each school.
7. When students turn 18 or enroll in a postsecondary institution at any age, their rights under FERPA transfer from their parents to themselves.
If you believe that your FERPA rights have been violated, you should first complain to your school, district Superintendent and/or school board. If they refuse to take appropriate action, you should file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the US Department of Education. More information about FERPA and instructions on how to how to file a complaint are here: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/parents.html You should try to be as specific as possible.
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232h; 34 CFR Part 98) was enacted in 1978, and applies to student surveys, instructional materials or evaluations funded by the federal government that deal with highly sensitive issues.
What rights to parents have under the PPRA?
1. Parents have the right of written consent before their children are required to participate in any federally funded survey, analysis or evaluation dealing with information concerning:
- Political affiliations;
- Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and his/her family;
- Religious affiliations and beliefs;
- Sex behavior and attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating and demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; or
- Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for a program).
2. If the survey, analysis or evaluation that deals with issues listed above are not federally funded, written consent is not required but parents must be notified in advance of the survey and have the right to opt their children out of participating.
3. In either case, schools and/or their contractors must make these instructional materials or surveys available for inspection by parents ahead of time, to allow them to decide whether to consent or opt out.
The PPRA also grants parents the right to receive notice and an opportunity to opt their children out of:
4. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening administered by the school unnecessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
5. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
If you believe your PPRA rights have been violated, you should take the actions listed above under FERPA.