C1. Education Records

  • Policy Code: C1

    First Reading: March 8, 2022
    Adopted: March 22, 2022


    Policy

    The Essex Westford Educational Community Unified Union School District (EWECUUSD) recognizes the importance of keeping accurate and appropriate education records[2] for students as part of a sound educational program and is committed to act as trustee of this information, maintaining these records for educational purposes to serve the best interests of its students.


    The principles of accuracy and confidentiality underlie all policies and procedures for the collection, maintenance, disclosure and destruction of education records.
    It is the policy of the district to protect the confidentiality of education records and release information only as permitted by law.


    Annually or when the student enrolls, the district will inform[3] parents, guardians, and students eighteen years and older of their rights with respect to the student’s education records and the available procedures for exercising those rights.  This shall include notification of the following:

    1.    The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the district receives a request for access.

    2.    The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights.

    3.    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 the law authorizes disclosure without consent. 

    4.    The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

    5.    The procedure for exercising the right to inspect and review education records.

    6.    The procedure for requesting amendment of records.

    7.    The types of personally identifiable information that the district has designated as directory information, and a parent or eligible student’s right to opt out of the disclosure of directory information. [4]

    8.    The procedure for a parent or eligible student to notify the district that they want to opt out of the district’s disclosure of directory information.

    9.    The criteria for determining who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest as defined by FERPA.[5]

     

    Administrative Responsibilities
    The building principal will be the custodian of all education records in a given school.
    The superintendent has overall responsibility for education records throughout the district and for assuring that adequate systems are in place to maintain such records and to provide parents with access to them in accordance with state and federal law. The superintendent is responsible for developing procedures to assure the consistent implementation of this policy.


    The procedures shall comply with all federal and state laws and regulations governing access to and the collection, maintenance, disclosure and destruction of education records.

     

    Definitions
    All terms used in this policy, and the procedures developed for the implementation of this policy, shall be defined, where applicable, as those terms are defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and in the federal regulations promulgated pursuant to that Act[6].


    [1] The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not explicitly require a school board policy on the protection of student records.  Its requirements are stated in the negative…“no funds shall be made available to any educational agency…which has a policy of denying…the right of parents…to review and inspect educational records. 20 U.S.C.§ 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99.  Nor does the State Board Manual of Rules and Practices explicitly require a school board policy on student records.  “Each supervisory union shall develop, and each school shall implement, a system of maintaining student records that aligns with Agency of Education statewide data collections; which enables accurate and timely reporting in connection with state and federal data collection requirements; and ensures the accuracy, relevancy and confidentiality thereof, and accessibility thereto; and which is in compliance with the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 95-380 as amended from time to time.”  SBE Rule 2113.

    [2] A “record” means any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm and microfiche. The term “education records” means those records that are (1) directly related to a student, and (2) maintained by the school district, a school within the district, or a party acting for the school district or a school within the school district. It does not include a teacher’s notes that are in the teacher’s sole possession and shared only with a substitute teacher or records that are exempted from the definition under 34 C.F.R..§ 99.3(b).   20 U.S.C.§ 1232g; 34 C.F.R. § 99.3.

    [3] School districts are required to find an effective way to notify parents or eligible students who are disabled, and parents whose primary language is not English. 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. §99.9.

    [4] The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows schools to designate certain information as “directory information” and release it after providing public notice of the categories of information it seeks to release. “Directory information” includes, but is not limited to, a student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, grade level, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees honors, and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student. Additional information may be released with specific parental consent. 12 U.S.C. §1232g; 34 C.F.R. §99.3.

    [5] The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows schools to disclose student personally identifiable information to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  The criteria for determining who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest must be set forth in the district’s annual notification for FERPA rights.  A school official typically includes a person employed by the school or school district as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board.  A school official also may include a volunteer,  contractor, consultant, or other party who, while not employed by the school, performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  A school official typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. 12 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. § 99.3; 34 CFR § 99.31(a).

    [6] 12 U.S.C. §1232g; 34 C.F.R. §99.3.