Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Regarding Student Records
The protection of student rights has always been a top priority of the Ritenour School District. This document is distributed annually to all parents and students in order to comply with state and federal requirements to notify the parents/guardians and eligible students of their rights with respect to the student’s educational records.
In general, a student’s educational record includes any information maintained by the school district, which contains information directly related to a student. A major exception would be a personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords to parents/guardians (“parents”) of students, and to students themselves who are over 18 years of age (“eligible students”), certain rights with respect to the student’s education records maintained by Ritenour School District (“District”).
These rights are outlined below:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the District receives a written request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies, as precisely as possible, 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 the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students should write the principal or appropriate official, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the District decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the District will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedure will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One of several exceptions which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official includes a person employed by the District as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, counselor or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the District’s board; a school official may also include a volunteer or a contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use of personally identifiable information, (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist); a parent, student or other person serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his/her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her responsibilities for the District. Upon request, the District discloses education records without consent to officials of a school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
FERPA permits the District to designate certain student data as “directory information.” The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the District to include information about students in publications such as school activity programs, yearbooks, honor rolls and other recognition lists, graduation programs, and sports events programs. Directory information is considered generally not to be harmful nor an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Accordingly, the District has designated the following as directory information: student’s name; parent’s name; grade level; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees; honors; awards received; artwork or course work displayed by the District; photographs; videotapes; digital images and recorded sound.
Because directory information is considered a public record, it may be disclosed at the discretion of the District and must be released upon request. Examples of organizations to which this information may be released are companies that market class rings or publish yearbooks.
Eligible students and parents who do not wish to have directory information about their children disclosed, without prior written consent, must annually notify the Administrator for Student Services, Ritenour School District, 2420 Woodson Road, St Louis, MO 63114, in writing within ten days after publication of the annual public notice.
The District is also required by federal law to provide military recruiters, upon request, with secondary school students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings, unless parents have notified the District they do not want their students’ information disclosed without their prior written consent.