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SOME KEY CONSIDERATIONS CONCERNING CONFIDENTIALITY 1. When discussing a student with other parties who have a legitimate educational interest in the information, staff should exercise discretion, professional judgment and extreme caution in their comments about a student. Conversations should take place in a setting where remarks cannot be overheard. 2. Staff should be strongly cautioned against taking records home, and storage of records (whether copies or originals) at home should be forbidden. 3. Remember: there is no general exception for disclosures to “friendly” agencies, such as the police, mental health or SRS. Education records of students and PII from records should not be disclosed unless there is a proper parental consent to release or one of the exceptions applies. 5. Rules apply to all staff members with access to records. Clerical staff, paraprofessionals, substitutes, bus drivers, etc., should receive training on confidentiality. FERPA DEFINITIONS "RECORD" Any information recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, film, computer media, video or audiotape, microfilm, and microfiche. "EDUCATION RECORDS" Records which are: directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the school district. (Does not include: Records of that are kept in the sole possession of the maker; and are used only as a personal memory aid; and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.) “PERSONALLY IDENIFIABLE INFORMATION” (“PII”) Includes, but is not limited to: • The student’s name, or the name of the student’s parent or other family member, or the address of the student or student’s family; and • A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number or student number; • A list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily traceable, or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable. “PARENT” A parent of a student and includes a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian. The school district shall give full rights under FERPA to either parent, unless it has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes those rights. “DISCLOSURE” To permit access to, or release/transfer/other communication of, PII contained in education record to any party, by any means, including oral, written, or electronic means. Written consent is needed to disclose unless to a school official with legitimate educational interest. "SCHOOL OFFICIAL WITH A LEGITAMATE EDUCATIONAL INTEREST“ …Any teacher, administrator, supervisor, other professional or service provider employed by or contracted with the District to provide educationally- related services… (including, but not limited to, consultants, attorneys, auditors, insurers, evaluators, therapists, support staff, tutors, paraprofessionals, health staff, transportation staff, athletic staff, extra- or co-curricular activity staff, substitutes, assigned student teachers, interns, volunteers, teacher's aides,… or school board member) …who needs information relating to a particular student in order to carry out his/her official duties for the District. SPOT THE ISSUE – IF THERE IS ONE (FERPA) Paula Parent enters to the school office, wanting to make an appointment with the principal. While waiting, she overhears the following discussion between two staff members behind the counter: “Did you see that Billy Bad this morning, when Mrs. Teacher sent him down to talk with Mrs. Principal? He was practically foaming at the mouth. “What do you expect? You know what they say: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When Mrs. Bad arrived, she lit into Mrs. Principal with the foulest language I have ever heard. Some people!” Bob Bus Driver fills out a discipline referral form. It reports: “This morning on my first run, Johnny Jump Up started teasing Sammy Silence from his seat in the back of the bus. Sammy talked back to him. Johnny jumped up out of his seat and ran down to the front of the bus, screaming that he was “going to get” Sammy. “I spoke over my shoulder, telling Johnny to sit down immediately. He kept coming. By the time I could safely pull the bus over, Johnny and Sammy were punching each other in the aisle. Sammy had Johnny down on his back, and was punching away. “Johnny started the fight; Sammy had been reading in the seat behind me before all this started. E-mail from Classroom teacher to Sped Case Manager: CT: “Thanks for the heads-up on Johnny. His mother came in yesterday; what a piece of work! I don’t see how we can continue to have him in the classroom; it’s not helping him, and the disruption has become significant. I don’t care what she says, we’ve got to move him to a special class. What hoops do we have to jump through to get there? Conversation between Isadora Instructional Assistant and her husband: IIA: “Honey, how would you feel if I changed jobs?” H: “What’s up; I thought you loved your job.” IIA: “I did until this year. They’ve got me guarding Billy Bad. He’s always in trouble. He’s rude to me, and today he kicked me when I told him he needed to come in from the playground. I know that he’s been found to be emotionally disturbed, and is on an IEP and everything, but this is just too much for me.” Remember When discussing a student with other parties who have a legitimate educational interest in the information, staff should exercise discretion, professional judgment and extreme caution in their comments about a student (whether verbally, electronically or in writing).
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