- Barnstable Public Schools
- BPS District Handbook
Generally state and federal laws related to student records do two things:
- Allow parents and adult students to access their student records; and
- Protect the confidentiality of student records by limiting the permissible the disclosure of student records.
Student records are documents and other forms of information that contain personally identifiable student information and are kept and maintain by the District or its agents.
A complete explanation of a student’s and family’s rights regarding access to and confidentiality of student records see below.
A notice regarding the District’s disclosure of “directory information” see below.
Notification of Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:
(1) The right to inspect and review the student’s education records.
Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The school principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
(2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise a violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the School to amend a record should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. 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 them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
(3) The right to provide written consent before the school to discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Committee; a person or company with whom the School has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. 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 responsibility.
Upon request, the School discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
Other exceptions are set forth at 34 CFR §99.31.
(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
FERPA Directory Information Notice
FERPA requires that Barnstable Public Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, the Barnstable Public Schools may disclose appropriately 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 the Barnstable Public Schools to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include:
- A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
- The annual yearbook;
- Honor roll or other recognition lists;
- Graduation programs; and
- Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.
Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks. In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with three directory information categories—names, addresses and telephone listings—unless parents have advised the LEA that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.
If you do not want the Barnstable Public Schools to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify your school principal in writing by October 1. The Barnstable Public Schools have designated the following information as directory information:
- Student’s name
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Telephone listing
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Electronic mail address
- Photograph and video image
- Degrees, honors, and awards received
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance
- Grade level
- Post-high school plan
Massachusetts Student Records Regulations
FERPA is the federal law that applies to student records. There are also Massachusetts state laws and regulations that apply.
The Massachusetts regulations regarding student records apply to all information kept by a school committee on a student in a manner such that he or she may be individually identified. The regulations divide the record into two sections: the transcript and the temporary record. The transcript includes only the minimum information necessary to reflect the student's educational progress. The information includes name, address, course titles, grades, credits, and grade level completed. The transcript is kept by the school system for at least sixty years after the student leaves the system. The temporary records contain the majority of the information maintained by the school about the student. This may include such things as standardized test results; class rank; school-sponsored activities; and evaluations and comments by teachers, counselors, and other persons, as well as other similar information. The temporary record is destroyed within seven years after the student leaves school. Parents and students may receive copies of the temporary record before records are destroyed (no more than 7 years after the student leaves).
The following is a summary of the major parent and students' rights, regarding their student records, as provided by the Massachusetts Regulations Pertaining to Student Records:
Inspection of Records
A parent, or student who has entered the ninth grade or is at least 14 years old, has the right to inspect all portions of the student record upon request. The record must be made available to the parent or the student no later than 10 days after the request, unless the parent or student consents to the delay. The parent and the student have the right to receive copies of any part of the record, although a reasonable fee may be charged for duplicating the materials. Finally, the parent and the student may request to have parts of the record interpreted by a qualified professional of the school, or may invite anyone else of their choosing to inspect or interpret the record with them.
Confidentiality of Records
With a few exceptions, no individuals or organizations but the parent, student, and school personnel working directly with the student are allowed to have access to information in the student record without the specific, informed, written consent of the parent or the student. However, in line with federal regulations, the school may release "directory information" about a student to third parties; i.e. parent groups, without prior consent as long as the school gives this notice and permits students or parents to object. This information may include student/parent names, addresses, telephone number and year of graduation. If you do not want this information released, please contact the Principal's office before October 1.
Amendment of Records
The parent and student have the right to add relevant comments, information, or other written materials to the student record. In addition, the parent and student have the right to request that information in the record be amended or deleted. The parent and student have a right to a conference with the school Principal to make their objections known. Within a week after the conference, the Principal must render a decision in writing. If the parent and student are not satisfied with the decision, the regulations contain provisions through which the decision may be appealed to higher authorities in the school system.
Destruction of Records
The regulations require that certain parts of the student record, such as the temporary record, be destroyed no later than seven years after the student leaves the school system. Temporary records will be given to students upon graduation.
Transfer of Records
Consistent with the Education Reform Act, Barnstable Public Schools has the authority to transfer a student's complete record to a student's new school without prior consent of parents. Additionally, under M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 37L, any student transferring into a new school district must provide the new district with a complete school record including, but not limited to, any incidents involving suspension of violation of criminal acts or any incident reports in which such student was charged with a suspended act. Barnstable High School's student records policy states that no part of the student's discipline record will be disclosed to any college/university/ or post secondary school to which the student is applying for admissions as a post-secondary institution. The exception to this would be unless the parent and/or student over the age of 18 specifically request that it be provided.
Access of Non-Custodial Parents to Student Records
Access to student record information by non-custodial parents is governed by both federal and state laws and regulations. An eligible non-custodial parent who wants to obtain access to his or her child’s student record must submit a written request to the school principal. The school must notify the custodial parent of the request before releasing information to the non-custodial parent. A custodial parent may block the release of information to the non-custodial parent by providing the school with documentation that the non-custodial parent is not eligible to obtain access to the information. For purposes of obtaining access to student record information, a non-custodial parent is any parent who does not have physical custody of his or her child. Legal custody is irrelevant. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the school.
The above is a summary of some of the more important provisions of the Regulations Pertaining to Student Records that related to student and parent rights. If more information is desired, a copy of the regulations may be obtained from your school. See also School Committee Regulation JRA-R (Student Records).