The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), or FERPA as it is commonly known, is a federal law that protects the privacy of students and their education records.
This law limits the information that a school system can release about a student without parental or legal guardian consent. If a student is 18 years old or older, he can consent for himself. A school system will be in violation of federal law and at risk of losing federal funding if it does not comply with FERPA.
Sample information that is not releasable, without parental/legal guardian consent, is a student’s grades, disciplinary record, academic program (such as if the student receives special education services), address, telephone number, or dates of attendance. School system employees cannot comment on this information without parental/legal guardian consent or they will be violating federal law.
These restrictions can be waived if a parent or legal guardian signs an agreement for their release.
More information about FERPA can be found on the U.S. Department of Education web site athttp://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html or by contacting the U.S. DOE at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605