Quite a bit of information pertaining to public school students is generated and stored throughout the years spent in school, such as test scores and disciplinary records. Schools also may have records of immunizations or illnesses that are protected under medical records privacy laws. If left unsecured or given out freely, it could be used for identity theft or other dubious purposes. Fortunately, federal law and some state laws prohibit the sharing of this information while also giving parents and students access to these records.
Not all teachers and administrators think it's a good idea to allow parents access to all student records, however. One concern is that unfettered access could compromise the honesty of evaluations, or that a student seeking help with an unplanned pregnancy (for example) may not want their parents involved.
The Privacy of Public School Records In Oregon at a Glance
Oregon statute generally conforms to federal laws concerning the privacy of school records (discussed in greater detail below). Under state law, public school officials may disclose personally identifiable information to the police, child protective services, and health care officials if it is an emergency or necessary to protect the health and safety of the student. Also, courts and juvenile justice agencies may request personally identifiable information concerning a student but must certify in writing that they will not disclose it to a third party.
Additional details about Oregon's school record privacy laws are listed in the following table:
|Code Section||336.187; 326.565|
|Who Has Access to School Records?||Consistent with state and federal law regarding record custody and disclosure; may be transferred by request when student transfers schools or is placed in a state institution; disclosure allowed to law enforcement and/or child protective services and/or health professionals in "health or safety emergency."|
|Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws||-|
Note: State laws may change at any time, through new legislation, opinions from state appellate or federal appeals courts, or through other means. You may want to contact an Oregon education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Protection of School Records Under FERPA
The Family Educational Records Protection Act (FERPA ) is a federal law that prohibits schools from disclosing personally identifiable educational records without the parent's written permission. FERPA defines "educational records" as files, documents, health records, or other materials pertaining to a student and maintained by the school. FERPA privacy protections transfer from the parent to the student once the student turns 18.
Research the Law
Oregon Laws on the Privacy of School Records: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.