Q: I am concerned that my 6-year-old daughter’s teacher may share information from my daughter’s school record with other parents in my daughter’s school, for play dates, for a class directory or for evaluation purposes.—Concerned Parent
A: Educators and public school employees may only share student information consistent with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This law allows educators to share “directory information” about students.
If you DO NOT sign a form, the school will use its own careful discretion in releasing directory information about students.
Annually, your daughter’s school must ask you to tell the school (by signing a form) if you do not want even directory information released–beyond school employees–about your child. If you DO NOT sign a form, the school will use its own careful discretion in releasing directory information about students.
The school may release your daughter’s name to the local newspaper or PTA newsletter if she wins a talent contest or a spelling bee. The school will not release anything other than directory information (for example, the number of online credits that your 17 year old daughter has earned or your 12 year old son’s assessment for the district gifted and talented program) without the parent’s express permission.
The school MAY, however, release aggregated and NOT personally identifiable information about students at your children’s school without parent permission to specific authorized entities for specific purposes. For instance, the school could report that 20% of the students or 35 students at ABC Charter School were in the 90th percentile of a state-required reading assessment.
If state law requires, your children’s school will release assessment information–aggregated and without student names or identifiers–to the Utah State Office of Education. This is a simplified answer. The complete FERPA regulations (including new amendments) can be reviewed at Code of Federal Regulations Title 34, Part 99-Family Educational Rights and Privacy.
What is UPPAC? UPPAC is a committee of nine educators and two community members charged with maintaining and promoting a high standard of professional conduct and ethics among Utah teachers. It is advisory to the Utah State Board of Education in making recommendations regarding educator licensing and may take appropriate disciplinary action regarding educator misconduct.
For more information about UPPAC or to submit your questions to the UPPAC Q&A, contact William Spiegel at email@example.com or by phone at 801-538-7500.
Read the UPPAC newsletter, “Utah School Law Update,” for more Utah public education legal news and information.