Each school district protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable information regarding all students in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and other applicable federal and state laws. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law, affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. “Education records” means those records that are directly related to the student which are maintained by an educational agency or by a party acting for the agency. “Education agency,” for purposes of this notice, means the local school district. For all students, the school district maintains education records. Personally identifiable information is confidential information that includes, but is not limited to, the student's name, name of parents and other family members, the address of the student or student's family, and personal information or personal characteristics.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believe are inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Such records hearings will be held within a reasonable time after a parent request and the parent shall be notified of the date, time, and place a reasonable time in advance. Any individual, including a school district official, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing, may conduct the hearing. The parent will have a full and fair opportunity to present evidence at the hearing and may be assisted by or represented by one or more individuals including an attorney. The school district will make its decision in writing within a reasonable time after a hearing, basing its decision solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and including a summary of the evidence and reasons for its decision. If the hearing decision is that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child, the school district will amend the information and inform the parent in writing. If the hearing decision is that the information will not be amended, the parents have the right to place a statement in the education record setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the hearing decision. Any such explanation placed in the records of a child will be maintained as long as the records of the child are maintained and will be disclosed whenever the record is disclosed to any party.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff); a person serving on the school board; a person or company with whom the school has contracted to perform a special task (such as attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); the designated law enforcement unit of West Shore School District, or a parent or student serving on an official committee, or 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. Upon request, the school discloses education records without consent to officials of another public or private school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
The school district will inform parents when personally identifiable information is no longer needed to provide educational services for a child. Such information must be destroyed at the request of the parents. However, a permanent record of a student's name, address, and telephone number, his or her grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed may be maintained without time limitation. “Destruction” of records means physical destruction or removal of personal identifiers from information so that the information is no longer personally identifiable.
The school district will provide, upon request, a listing of the types and locations of educational records maintained, the school officials responsible for these records, and the school personnel authorized to see personally identifiable information. Such personnel receive training and instruction regarding confidentiality. The school district keeps a record of parties obtaining access to education records, including the name of the party, the date access was given, and the purpose for which the party is authorized to use the records. The school district will provide a copy of its confidentiality policy upon request. Complaints may be filed with the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201.