Today’s Education Law Look: Privacy!
Meet Nunya Business. This week this individual attended an unnamed institution of higher education and learned about privacy. The lesson covered the issue of privacy, a right protected by way of the Fourth Amendment.
Personal records are governed more specifically by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act otherwise known as FERPA. The law, passed in 1974, was intended to protect students from the inappropriate disclosure of educational records as well as provide the opportunity to amend records, especially disciplinary infractions. Educational institutions receiving federal funding (aka almost all of them) are prohibited from sharing information with third parties without the consent of legal guardians if a student is a minor or students themselves if they’re over 18.
Institutions cannot give out personally identifiable information, which includes things like Social Security number, date of birth, race/ethnicity, gender, grades, and other info that could be used to identify a student. The funny thing, though, is institutions do not need consent if information is classified as “directory information,” which could include things like a student’s name, address, email, height/weight, membership in activities, or a variety of other details. In order to give out this information, an institution must give public notice of what counts as directory information, provide students the opportunity to restrict disclosure, and allow the opportunity for students to opt out of disclosure. Another fun fact is that institutions don’t have to notify students individually about what is classified as directory information.
So, students out there, spend some time learning about directory information at your school. Thanks for reading, hoped you learned something, and remember, my name is Nunya Business!