Why Parents Need To Understand FERPA Regulations
Privacy of personal information is on the forefront of everyone’s mind, and unfortunately all too often also on the front page of almost every newspaper in America. The age of the hacker is in full swing. With the threat of exposure being a regular occurrence, it begs the question, “What is the likelihood my child’s education information could be obtained illegally?” Under Federal regulation, FERPA is designed to keep that risk at bay. Your child has the right to protected information, especially when it is digital. What other things should you know about FERPA as a parent?
FERPA is designed as much to keep those that shouldn’t have your child’s education records out as it is mandating that families and children have access to their own information. This is one part of FERPA that many parents seem to be most unaware of.
You have likely heard of HIPAA. That regulation stringently regulates medical record access and requires a lot in terms of safety and security of information pertaining to anyone’s medical information and history. You can think of FERPA in much of the same way. Just like HIPAA, there are perimeters around who can access your child’s education records and what they can do with them.
Under FERPA You Have Rights To Information As A Parent
First and foremost, as your child’s parent, you have a right under FERPA to see the complete education record of your child. Any information the school district has on file pertaining to your child you have a right to have access to. There is never an instance where your school district should be telling you that you can’t see anything in your child’s education records.
Secondly, you have a right to disagree with what is in their records. There are times where parents find information in a school record that they either disagree with or think doesn’t give the right perspective of your child. You can contest this information under FERPA. You do however have to follow some rules as to how you go about disagreeing with what you find in your child’s education records.
You must formally contest what is recorded, in writing, and request it to be changed to something that you believe is more accurate. What you need to understand in this instance is that they do not have a legal obligation to change anything just because you disagree. In cases where school districts refuse to correct or reword something in your child’s education records, you are able to file a written response as to why you believe it is inaccurate and have that included in your child’s file. You should always follow up and make sure your written response is included. They do have a legal obligation to include it, even if they disagree with that your response says.
Your child has a right to see their education records once they turn 18. There should never be an instance where your child is told they are not able to view their records as soon as they turn 18. For many who are applying for college, this is an important thing to note, especially if they have IEPS, 504s or any other special services they would like to know is recorded in their file ahead of time. As a parent, you should see those records before college applications go out as well. Knowing what’s contained in the education records ahead of time could save a lot of grief in the college process.
Information You Can Refuse To Make Public Under FERPA
There is certain information about your child that can be made public, such as their full name, dates of enrollment, and contact information under the premise of being included in a school directory to other members of the student body. Under FERPA, you have a right to refuse to make that public if you are so inclined. Make sure you check with your school if there is information you wish to withhold from public viewing.
Sharing Your Child’s Information With Professionals
In cases where children have special education services or accommodations of any kind, there are likely professionals outside of the school setting who are working with them. Those professionals will want to see your child’s complete education record, along with any other medical records or personal records written by their parents also included so they have the full picture of your child’s education and daily life. You can absolutely share your child’s education information with those professionals as you wish. What you need to be sure of though is that they are aware of the FERPA guidelines and are taking active steps to assure your child’s information is safe and secure. Ask your allied professionals what they do to ensure that their record storage is FERPA compliant.
eCare Vault Earns iKeepSafe FERPA and California Student Data Privacy Certifications
eCare Vault is the first of its kind to be parent-driven when it comes to information sharing and collaboration. Where schools have education systems that are FERPA secure within their own districts, none of those systems include the parent or other allied professionals that work with a given child within their school district.
For parents that need and want secure digital protection over their child’s education records and collaboration with professionals outside the school district in a way that is protected, complete and holistically recorded alongside uploaded files, eCare Vault is the only solution that puts the power of education collaboration and information security in the hands of parents.
If you are working with your child’s school district pertaining to their special education needs or accommodations, eCare Vault is the only logical choice for FERPA certified sharing of education information and documentation.