Protecting student information records is of vital importance to educators and administrators. Ensuring protection can be a source of stress for many departments and school districts. Laws such as FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, can be difficult to parse and, at times, opaque.
We’ve compiled 3 things you should know about FERPA compliance to help save time while ensuring protection for your students.
1. FERPA conditions apply to education records which may include treatment
Treatment records may fall outside of FERPA’s purview. School treatment records are any records a school maintains in connection to a student’s medical treatment. These have their own rules and regulations that must be followed. FERPA governs services given by school staff, regardless of position, or those acting on behalf of the school, so long as the specified services aren’t being billed to Medicaid. This includes services by medical professionals.
2. Schools have 45 days or less, to provide a family with their child’s information records following a request
This is true for all students. However, parents of students with disabilities receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may have additional rights to access education records. It’s important to have a solid structure in place for adhering to both FERPA and IDEA when supplying parents’ with education records. Even without an explicit request for information, parents have robust rights when it comes to their students’ education records.
3. Schools are generally prohibited from sharing information that could reveal a student’s identity without parental consent
There are a number of exceptions to this rule including disclosures to school officials, to another school the student intends to enroll in, and to state or federal officials using the education records for auditing or enforcing education laws. Still, giving information to the wrong person or group can have serious legal repercussions. As a school or district administrator, you are well-informed about these exceptions; be sure you are also protecting your students, faculty, and staff with clear and efficient procedures for disclosures.
A common theme when it comes to ensuring total FERPA compliance is having a strong system in place for managing and disclosing student education records. Traditional software programs school districts use to house information don’t frequently have this level of legal compliance. That’s what eCare Vault does—it’s one of the only completely HIPAA and FERPA compliant platforms available to schools and districts. Click here to learn more about how eCare Vault can serve your students, staff, and faculty!