The Oxford Public School District is responsible to inform staff annually of their responsibilities regarding confidentiality of student information. This year, staff will be asked to complete the certification form to verify that they understand the importance of confidentiality.
The student record regulations (603 CMR) allow only authorized school personnel to have access to information in a student’s record. Authorized school personnel is defined as school administrators, teachers (to include therapists) and counselors (to include school psychologists) who are employed by the School Department and who are working directly with the student. Individuals not working with a student do not have access to the record without written permission of the parent or student (student at age 14 or entering 9th grade).
While it is sometimes necessary for staff to discuss student issues during the work day, personal and confidential information regarding a student should not be shared outside of the school walls for any reason by any staff person. The most appropriate means of complying with this regulation is to approach it conservatively. In addition, it is helpful to view it from a personal perspective in the sense of how we would want someone to deal with information if it was about our own children or ourselves.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) 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."
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.