6320 - STUDENT RECORDS: ACCESS AND CHALLENGE
6000 - STUDENTS
6320 STUDENT RECORDS: ACCESS AND CHALLENGE
Adoption Date: 11/6/2008
Revisions History: Revised: 7/8/2010; 7/10/2012; 6/6/2014
FERPA provides parents and eligible students (i.e., students 18 or older) the right to inspect, review, and challenge any and all of the student's education records. It also requires written parent or eligible student consent to disclose the student's records (in which the student is personally identifiable) to third parties, except in situations for which FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
Unless a court-order directs otherwise, a student's records will be equally available to both custodial and non-custodial parents.
This policy applies to records that BOCES generates and maintains in the Student Admissions Office. It does not apply to records generated and maintained in the Eastern Monroe Career Center (EMCC), or to records related to "itinerant-only" services, which are maintained by the home district and the department from which the service is being contracted.
Regulations and Procedures
The Board directs the District Superintendent to establish administrative regulations and procedures to comply with the provisions of FERPA. The purpose of such regulations and procedures shall be to make student education records available to parents and eligible students, and to ensure confidentiality of such records with respect to unauthorized third parties. The regulations will also establish procedures for hearings for parent or eligible student challenges to the content of records. Furthermore, the regulations will provide guidelines for the transfer of student education records to other schools or post-secondary educational institutions.
In addition, the Board directs the District Superintendent to assure that parents and eligible students receive proper annual notification of their rights under FERPA.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
20 United States Code (USC) Section 1232g34
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 99
Regulation Info 6320R
With the exception of Eastern Monroe Career Center (EMCC records), the Student Admissions Office is responsible for the collection, maintenance, accessibility, security, transfer and retention of student education records associated with a student’s work at BOCES. Management of student education records will adhere to the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The BOCES generates and retains educational records of students for their work at BOCES as long as they remain in a BOCES program. Once a student completes his studies under BOCES and returns to his home school district, the records are transferred to the home school district.
EMCC records are maintained in the EMCC office. They are considered home school records, and they fall under the home school FERPA policies and procedures.
Pursuant to FERPA, the term “parent” includes guardians, and the term “eligible student” means a student who is eighteen (18) years of age or older or who is attending an institution of post-secondary education.
Once a student becomes “eligible,” the FERPA rights to privacy, access, and challenge transfer from the parents to the eligible student. However, parents who claim the student as a dependent for Federal income tax purposes may continue to have access to the student’s records without the student’s consent.
The term "education records" is defined as all BOCES records, files, documents and other materials, regardless of medium, containing information directly related to a student. It does not include personal notes made by teachers or other staff when such notes are
Kept in the sole possession of the maker
Not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute, and
Used only as a memory aid.
Additionally FERPA does not prohibit a school official from disclosing information about a student if the information is obtained through the school official's personal knowledge or observation and not from the student's education records. Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit for law enforcement purposes are also excluded.
Access to Student Records
Unless authorized to inspect a student’s education records by law or regulation, persons or institutions other than those indicated below may have access to a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student’s parent or of the eligible student.
Parents and Eligible Students
Parents and eligible students have the right to inspect all education records of the student. In cases of divorce or separation, both parents have the right to inspect the student’s education records unless there is a court order to the contrary. Where appropriate, professional interpretation by qualified staff may accompany the inspection of education records.
Parents or eligible students who desire access to the student’s education records may contact the Student Admissions Office (phone: 383 2232) and submit a written request. The office will arrange a convenient time for the review to take place. In the event that a student is no longer in a BOCES program, the Admissions Office will refer the parent to the student’s home school district.
School officials with legitimate educational interests may have access to student records. The term “school officials” includes administrators, supervisors, teachers, and support staff members, including health staff, office staff, and security personnel. It may also include a person serving on the school Board, or a person or company with whom the school has outsourced services or functions it would otherwise use its own employees to perform (such as an attorney, auditor, consultant, therapist, etc.). A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional or clerical responsibility. School officials who are authorized to view information in student educational records are prohibited from redisclosure of that information to unauthorized parties.
Transfer to Other Educational Institutions
Under FERPA, the BOCES may disclose any and all educational records, including disciplinary records and records that were created as a result of a student receiving special education services under Part B of IDEA, to another school or postsecondary institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll, or after the student has enrolled or transferred, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer. Parent or eligible student consent is not required for transferring education records. The BOCES’ annual FERPA notification will indicate that such disclosures may be made.
In general, however, the BOCES will seek consent from parents or eligible students prior to transferring records, and will not include the student’s disciplinary records in the material transferred except upon specific, written parent or eligible student request or when, for reasonable cause, circumstances warrant.
Upon request, the BOCES will provide parents or eligible students with a copy of the information disclosed and an opportunity for a hearing.
Pursuant to FERPA, the District may release personally identifiable information (PII) from a student’s educational records without consent as indicated in the following sections.
The District may release Directory Information as specified in Policy 6322.
Subpoenas of student records should be served to the District Superintendent, who will consult with the School District Attorney to determine what records shall be forwarded to the legal agency issuing the subpoena. Building administrators or other personnel should not receive or accept subpoenas on behalf of the BOCES. Persons attempting to serve a subpoena should be referred to the District Superintendent’s secretary at the Foreman Center.
Health and Safety Emergencies
The BOCES must balance the need to protect students' personally identifiable information with the need to address issues of school safety and emergency preparedness. As provided for in FERPA, information from student education records may be released without consent to any person whose knowledge of it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or others. Such information may be released only when an “articulable and significant threat” is present. A determination to release such information shall be based on a totality of the circumstances, including the information available at the time the determination is made. The district must record the articulable and significant threat that formed the basis for the disclosure and maintain this record for as long as the student's education records are maintained. The Student Admissions Office will work with the school official or officials who made the determination to provide information under the emergency to assure that the required record is properly completed and filed.
The audit or evaluation exception allows for the disclosure of PII from education records without consent to authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the U.S., the Attorney General, the Secretary of Education, and State or local educational authorities ("FERPA permitted" entities). Under this exception, PII from education records must be used to audit or evaluate a Federal or State supported education program, or to enforce or comply with Federal legal requirements that relate to those education programs (audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity).
The District may, from time to time, disclose PII from education records without consent to authorized representatives of the entities listed above. The District may also, from time to time, designate its own authorized representative who may access PII without consent in connection with an audit or evaluation of an education program within the District. As an example, the District might designate a university as its authorized representative in order to disclose, without consent, PII from education records on its former students to the university. The university could then disclose, without consent, transcript data on those former students attending the university to allow the District to evaluate how effectively the District prepared its students for success in postsecondary education.
This exception allows for the disclosure of PII from education records without consent to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, schools, school districts or postsecondary institutions. Studies can be for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests; administering student aid programs; or improving instruction.
The District may, from time to time, disclose PII from education records without consent to such organizations conducting studies for the District, in accordance with its obligations under FERPA.
In addition, other entities outside of the District may, from time to time, disclose PII from education records that the District has previously shared with that entity, to organizations conducting studies on behalf of the District. For example, a State Education Agency (SEA) may disclose PII from education records provided by the District without consent to an organization for the purpose of conducting a study that compares program outcomes across school districts to further assess the effectiveness of such programs with the goal of providing the best instruction.
Required Agreements for the Studies or Audit/Evaluation Exceptions
To the extent required by law, the District shall enter into a written agreement with organizations conducting studies for the District, or, with its designated authorized representatives in connection with audits or evaluations of education programs within the District. In the event that the District discloses PII from education records to its own designated authorized representative in connection with an audit or evaluation of an educational program within the District, it shall use reasonable methods to ensure to the greatest extent practicable that its designated authorized representative complies with FERPA and its regulations.
Hearing to Challenge the Content of the Record
Parents or eligible students who believe information contained in BOCES student records is false or misleading may contact the Student Admissions Office to raise their concern. The Admissions Office will relay the concern to the appropriate individual or office and will attempt to resolve the concern informally to the parent’s or eligible student’s satisfaction.
In the event that the matter cannot be resolved informally, parents/eligible students may submit a written request for a formal hearing to the Student Admissions Office, which will transfer the request to the appropriate Title IX Compliance Officer. The petition shall be on the Hearing Request form provided by the BOCES (Form 6320F). It shall include the name, address, age, and program of the student, the specific record or records to be challenged, and the remedy being sought. The petition shall also include any supportive documentary evidence available.
Within ten (10) days of the receipt of such petition, the Hearing Officer will notify the parent or student of the time and place of the hearing to review the case.
The hearing will be conducted by the designated Title IX Compliance Officer (Hearing Officer). The parent or student will have the right of representation by counsel with the right to present witnesses and other evidence in support of his/her position. A record of the hearing will be maintained, but no stenographic transcript will be required, and a tape recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record.
Decision after Hearing
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer may determine that the records complained of, or portions thereof, shall be removed from the student’s records, or that the records shall be corrected, or that a statement submitted by the student or parent shall be placed in the student’s records as rebuttal. The Hearing Officer may reject the petition. Such determination shall be in writing.
Decision to amend: If, as a result of the hearing, the Hearing Officer decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students, the BOCES shall amend the education records accordingly and so inform the parent or student in writing.
Decision not to amend: If, as a result of the hearing, the Hearing Officer decides that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students, the BOCES shall inform the parent or student of his/her right to place in the education record of the student a statement which sets forth the written comments of the parent or student regarding the information in the education records or reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing officer or both written comments and reasons.
- The statement of the parent or student will be appended by the school to the education records so long as the record or the contested portion thereof is maintained by the BOCES.
- If the education records of the students or the contested portion thereof are released by the BOCES to any party, the statement of the parent or student will also be released to the party.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to mean that the parent or student and the BOCES may not, by mutual agreement, meet prior to either a parent or student request for a hearing or the hearing itself in order to discuss the concerns of the parent or student regarding the accuracy or inaccuracy of the records of the student.