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Understanding FERPA QT66

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Blog, Legal issues, Quick Tips, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Guideline:

The school publication will follow the Federal Educational Rights and PrIvacy Act (FERPA) as defined by the Student Press Law Center.

Social media post/question:

What information is protected under FERPA?

Key Points/Action

FERPA does limit the specific information schools can release about students, but it doesn’t restrict schools from releasing information in aggregate or without student names attached. When schools use the generic term of “Data Privacy” as a justification for not releasing important records, student journalists must know their rights and know what to ask for.

Stance:

School publication staffs must become familiar with the FERPA laws and their own state’s data privacy laws in order to ensure they can receive as much information as possible in their reporting on the school community.

Reasoning/suggestions:

Many high school journalists have a tough time getting important information and records released to them because the administrators improperly hide behind the FERPA laws or even more generically, they claim data privacy. This leads to stonewalling of students and hiding of data such as discipline information, student performance, crime and safety on campus, and many other topics which would help inform the community. Student publications must know their rights in order to get the best and the most pertinent information in telling the stories of their school

Resources:

://www.splc.org/section/break-ferpa

https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

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