New Laws Govern State Use of Student Records and Clarify Privacy RegulationsJanuary 11th, 2012
New regulations became effective January 3 of this year so that states can assess education programs and how they relate to student academic progress. The Education Department of the United States stated that the amendments to the final rule of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) would help states determine if taxpayer funds are wisely invested in effective educational programs from early childhood to special education and adult education initiatives.
The new FERPA rules do allow information to be used more widely without breaking any federal privacy laws. The updated regulations clarify how student information may be disclosed, and that the data must be properly protected and only accessed when absolutely necessary. Schools must make parents aware through public notice and give them the right to opt out of directory information. Upholding student privacy helps to avoid identity theft, discrimination, and other criminal acts while balancing the need to improve the educational system.
FERPA does apply to special education students and those receiving services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA regulations work in tandem with FERPA to uphold additional protections and confidentiality concerns for children with special needs and their families. Likewise, public notice must be given regarding personal information, its storage, disclosure to outside parties, and destruction of records. The Office of Special Education Programs and the Family Policy Compliance Office, along the Education Department, work together to interpret regulations to resolve any conflicts. The privacy rights of students are protected via FERPA and IDEA to ensure that IDEA requirements are met.
Littman Krooks LLP assists families to understand the laws that govern special education and access educational resources they need for their child with special needs. Our New York City, White Plains and Fishkill special education attorneys counsel clients on improving their child’s future and empowering them to succeed. To learn more about New York special education advocacy, visit http://www.littmankrooks.com/special-education-advocacy/.