Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal privacy law that gives parents certain rights and protections with regard to their child’s education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact and family information, and class schedules. Parents have the right to inspect and review their child’s education records and to request changes under certain circumstances. The law also gives these rights to students who have reached 18 years of age.

Process for Reviewing Student Records
Parents must submit to their child’s principal a written request that identifies the records that they wish to inspect and review. The principal shall make arrangements for access and notify the parent of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Per law, the records must be made available to the parent within 45 days of receipt of their request. Parents have a right to special education records within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of their request.

Process for Amending Student Records
Parents may also request that the school district amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. To request an amendment to student records, parents must submit a written request to the school principal. Written requests should clearly identify the part of the record to be amended and the reason(s) why this part of the record is inaccurate or misleading. If the request to amend is denied, the parent will be notified by the principal and advised of their right to a hearing to appeal the decision.

Release of Student Information
To protect our students’ privacy, Providence Schools cannot disclose personally identifiable information about its students to anyone other than parents or guardians without written permission (from the parent or guardian). Under FERPA, there are 10 exceptions in which personally identifiable information may be disclosed including:

  • Disclosures made to school officials with legitimate educational interests. School officials include: A person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the School has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use its own employees to perform (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, therapist, community-based organization or service agency); a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  • Disclosures to an organization with which PPSD has entered into an agreement to conduct a study or research on behalf of PPSD for the purpose of improving instruction.
  • Disclosures made to another school at which the student intends to enroll.
  • Disclosures made to state or local education authorities for auditing or evaluating federal (or state) supported education programs, or enforcing federal laws that relate to those programs.
  • Disclosures including information the school has designated as "directory information."
  • Disclosures in connection with the application for or receipt of financial aid.
  • Disclosures made to state and local juvenile justice systems or their officials.
  • Disclosures made to accrediting organizations.
  • Disclosures in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.
  • Disclosures in connection with a health or safety emergency.

Student Directory Information
FERPA requires that Providence Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, PPSD may disclose appropriately designated "directory information" without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow PPSD to include this type of information from your child’s education records 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; and
  • Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

Student Directory Information is information contained in a student’s education record that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. As allowed by the FERPA law, Providence Schools has identified the following items as directory information:

  1. Name of student
  2. Address of student
  3. Student grade level
  4. Student school of attendance
  5. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  6. Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  7. Degrees and awards received, including honor roll and graduation lists
  8. Telephone listing (released to military only unless parent ‘opts-out’)

FERPA gives parents the right to have their child’s directory information kept private and not released to anyone, which means that the school district will not provide any of this information to the public, including military recruiters. By law, military recruiters upon request are provided with three directory information categories for high school juniors and seniors – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents have advised PPSD that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent. Parents have two options for withholding their child’s directory information. They can choose to withhold information from all sources or they can choose to withhold information from the military only.

Process for Parents to ‘Opt-Out’ of Releasing Student Directory Information
Parents must complete the Student Directory Information "Do Not Release" form in order to keep their child’s student directory information private and not released to the public. This form is sent home with students during the first week of school. This form must be completed and returned to the child’s school by October 15th of this school year. Providence Schools begins releasing Directory Information upon approved request by November 1st of the school year. An opt-out form can be completed at any time during the school year; however, Directory Information is available as of November 1st. Please contact your child’s principal or the Parent Call Center at 456-0686 if you have not received the Student Directory Do Not Release form.

FERPA Complaint Process
Parents have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the school district to comply with FERPA requirements. Complaints should be sent to:

Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.