Parents want to keep their children and information about them safe. When it comes to school records, both federal and state laws exist to protect students’ privacy. The two main privacy of school records federal laws are the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).
Federal Laws on School Record Privacy
FERPA dictates how schools handle parent or guardian requests for their child’s education records or amendments to them if they're inaccurate. Schools can’t release educational records without the written consent of the parent. To release personally identifiable educational records, the school must provide the parent or guardian the following information:
PPRA protects student rights by having schools allow parents to inspection any instructional materials, as well as surveys, or evaluations that students could be asked to participate in. Also, PPRA requires schools have written parental consent before students participate in surveys or evaluations. Student assessments on the following topics can only be conducted with the prior written consent from the student’s parent or guardian:
Written consent to assess students are only valid when the school made a copy of the survey available for review at convenient times and locations for at least two weeks after parents and guardians received the notice. This should include:
Once a student is enrolled in college or turns 18 years old, the student’s consent is required for these evaluations, not the parent’s.
State Laws on School Record Privacy
The chart below details the state school record privacy laws in Oklahoma.
|Code Section||Oklahoma Statutes Title 51, Section 24A.16 – Confidential Records of Public Educational Institutions and Title 70, Section 6-115 – Information Concerning Pupil|
|Who Has Access to School Records?||School records are confidential except for “directory information” which can be any of this student information:
However, the school must give a public notice of the categories that will be put in the directory so the parent (or student who’s at least 18) can designate some or all of that information as not releasable without consent (i.e. exclude it from the public directory).
Statistical information about a school and its students that doesn’t identify any particular student will be open for inspection and copying, as is directory information.
Individual school record for the prior or current year can be released for program evaluation and effectiveness.
A teacher can’t reveal student-obtained information unless required by contract or released to a parent or guardian of the student on request.
|Penalty for Violating School Record Privacy Laws||If a teacher reveals information obtained about a student unlawfully, it’s a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for misdemeanors in Oklahoma, unless otherwise specified, is a $500 fine and a year in jail.
Another example of a lawful release of student information is reporting child abuse. In fact, it’s mandatory for teachers to report child abuse.
|Agency to Contact with Complaints||To file a complaint about school record privacy violations, contact the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) at 1-8000-872-5327 or:
Note: Federal and state laws are updated regularly. It’s important to consult with an experienced Oklahoma education lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws.
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