Handbook – Annual Notifications
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g) and State law afford parents and students who are 18 years of age or older (“eligible student”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education record. These rights include:
Confidentiality of Student Records (Policy 9050)
The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Prior consent for disclosure of a student record is not required, if the disclosure is:
- To school system officials with a legitimate educational interest. A “school system official” is defined as a person employed by the HCPSS; or a person or organization contracted by the HCPSS to perform a special task, (such as an attorney, auditor, school resource officer, medical consultant, or therapist) as determined by HCPSS. A school system official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill a job or professional responsibility.
- To officials of another school, or school systems, in which the student seeks to enroll.
- To the following authorized representatives in connection with the audit and evaluation of federally supported education programs:
- The Comptroller General of the United States
- The Attorney General of the United States
- The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
- Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) personnel.
FERPA authorizes HCPSS to disclose certain information from the educational records of a student that is designated as directory information without written consent, unless the parent or eligible student has advised HCPSS to the contrary. Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s or eligible student’s prior written consent. The following information has been designated by HCPSS as “directory information” and can be released without parental consent:
- Telephone listing
- Date and place of birth
- Grade level
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Enrollment status and dates of attendance
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended.
In addition, Maryland law permits the release of a student’s home address and phone number to the following persons or organizations only:
- An organization of parents, teachers, students, or former students, or any combination of those groups, of the school (e.g. PTA/PTSA, booster club, class reunion committee, etc.).
- A person engaged by a school or Board of Education to confirm a home address or home phone number.
- An organization or force of the military (e.g. military recruiters, etc.).
- A representative of a community college in the state.
- A representative of the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Parents or eligible students have the right to restrict the school system from releasing any category of directory information about their child. At the beginning of each school year, parents or eligible students should indicate their wishes by filling out the Data Confidentiality section on the Family File (www.hcpss.org/connect/). A print version, Emergency Procedure and Confidential Student Information Card, may be obtained from the school office. If the form is not filled out, the school system assumes no restriction is placed on the release of directory information related to the child.
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.C. 1232h) affords parents certain rights regarding the conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or to an emancipated minor under state law. These include the right to:
- Consent before students submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the US Department of Education –
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sex behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent’ or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
- Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of –
- Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
- Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others. (This does not apply to the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating, or providing educational products or services for, or to, students or educational institutions.)
- Inspect, upon request and before administration or use –
- Protected information surveys of students and surveys created by a third party;
- Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
- Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
Right to Inspect and Review
Parents and eligible students have the right to inspect, review, and receive a copy of the student’s education records within 45 calendar days of the day the school receives a written request for access. The school principal or designated school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the student’s record may be inspected. The school principal/designee will be present during this review.
Request to Amend a Student’s Record
Parents and eligible students have the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records should they believe the records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the school to amend the education records should write to the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want revised, and specify why it should be revised.
Right to File a Complaint
Parents or eligible students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by HCPSS to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
Photographing, Videotaping or Audiotaping in Schools
As part of school-related activities and assignments, HCPSS students may be photographed, videotaped, audiotaped, or asked to submit videos, recordings, or photographs of themselves. In order to safeguard children’s privacy and ensure parents’ rights, HCPSS takes the following proactive measures regarding students’ images and recordings:
- Teachers will notify parents/guardians of their intended use of videotaping, audiotaping, or photographing for school-related activities and assignments through their course homepage on Canvas. Parents/guardians should contact their child’s teacher with questions about specific uses of videotaping, audiotaping, or photographing.
- Parents/guardians may request that their child not be included in media intended for public audiences by filling out the Media Release section on the Family File. However, this request does not include yearbooks or memory books. Parents may request their child not be included in the yearbook or memory book by contacting their child’s school administrator.
- Parents and visitors must have the building administrator’s expressed approval in order to photograph, videotape or audiotape students in school or on school grounds during the regular instructional day. This statement does not apply to photographing, videotaping or audiotaping during extracurricular activities, such as public concerts and athletic events.
HCPSS has the right to videotape students on school property and to videotape (including audiotape) students while on its school buses. Video and audio recordings are used to assist in the investigation and complaints on school property and buses, and may be used for disciplinary purposes, at the discretion of the Superintendent/designee.