Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

    FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”

    • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. The school must honor your request to review your child’s education records within forty-five (45) days of receiving the request. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The school official will arrange for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
    • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record that they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise him or her of his or her right to a formal hearing regarding the request for amendment. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
    • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

    - School officials with legitimate educational interest; contractors, consultants, or volunteers to whom the district has outsourced institutional services or functions. For example, the district shares data with educational institutions that have a vested interest in helping district students, such as:

    - Communities In Schools;

    - The Kalamazoo Promise;

    - Other schools to which a student is transferring;

    - Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

    - Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

    - Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

    - Accrediting organizations;

    - To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

    - Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;

    - State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific

    state law; and

    - Information the district has designated as "directory information."

    Disclosure of Information

    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, KPS may disclose appropriate designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the district to the contrary in accordance with district procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow KPS to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: a playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production; the annual yearbook; honor roll or other recognition lists; graduation programs; or sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

    Directory information, which includes student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized school activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, dates of attendance and previous school(s) attended, is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. The district may disclose personally identifiable information from education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent of the parents or the eligible student to other school officials, including teachers, within the educational agency or institution whom the district has determined to have legitimate educational interests, such as Communities In Schools and The Kalamazoo Promise. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the district has outsourced institutional services or functions. In addition, two federal laws require us to provide military recruiters, upon request, with three directory information categories — names, addresses and telephone listings — unless parents have advised KPS that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.

    If you do not want KPS to disclose information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the district by writing to:

    Kalamazoo Public Schools

    1220 Howard Street
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008