FERPA Guidance for School Resource Officers (March 2016 School Leader Update)
Under the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), parents have a right to access, seek to amend, and to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their child’s education records. Student education records cannot be released without the consent of the student’s parent(s) unless an exception to FERPA applies. Directory information may be disclosed if the parent has consented to release of directory information. However, if a parent has opted out of directory information being shared, then it may not be shared without an exception.
So, what does FERPA mean to School Resource Officers (SROs) or Law Enforcement Officers (LEs)? What access do School Resource Officers (SROs) or Law Enforcement Officers (LEs) have to education records under FERPA? For what purpose? Can they have access to education records and redisclose those records to the local law enforcement agency? What responsibility do SROs and LEs they have to comply with FERPA?
Of course the answer is, in part, it depends. The Family Policy Compliance Office which monitors compliance with FERPA has provided guidance to SROs and LEs under FERPA Frequently Asked Questions on its website. Here are some of the questions that have been addressed which I have compiled into this document: