Maine Privacy of School Records Laws

The privacy of a student's school records is protected by law in most states, but there are divergent views on this. On one hand, students and their parents believe they are entitled to all student records. But others, including teachers, believe sharing some records (such as a "warning" to another teacher that a student is disruptive) may backfire and cause discord with the student's family.

In Maine, only students and their parents (or guardian) have access to school records, unless the parent or guardian consents to a release.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Federal law also protects a student's right to privacy with respect to school records. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents four (4) basic rights with respect to their child's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or is enrolled in a post secondary institution. Parents and eligible students are granted the following rights:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records;
  2. The right to request that a school correct the student's education record if he or she believes information is inaccurate or misleading;
  3. The right to a hearing if the school decides not to amend the student's education record;
  4. The right to place a statement with the education record on what he or she believes is accurate if the school decides not to amend the student's education record.

Are There any Exceptions to the Law?

Yes, the law allows schools to disclose educational records, without consent, to the following:

  • School employees who have a need to know;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring or plans to enroll;
  • Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • Individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas ;
  • Persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies;
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system .

The main provisions of Maine's privacy of school records laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's School Privacy section for related articles.

Code Section(s) Tit. 20-A ยง6001, FERPA
Who Has Access to School Records? Available to parents and student only unless parent/guardian consents to release. Certain exceptions apply pursuant to FERPA
What Records Can Be Disclosed Without Consent?

Schools may also disclose, without consent, "directory" type information such as a student's

  • name,
  • address,
  • telephone number,
  • university email address,
  • date of birth,
  • honors and awards,
  • current major,
  • degrees earned,
  • enrollment status,
  • dates of attendance,
  • grade level,
  • most recent educational institution attended,
  • sports participation and athlete's height/weight.

Students may request that directory information be suppressed by contacting their school.

Note: State laws surrounding the issues of student privacy rights are constantly changing. You may wish to contact a Maine education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. Most attorneys offer free consultations.

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