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Friday, July 20, 2007

School Directory Information - Public Record

Last year, there was a major hubub in my hometown of Dublin, Ohio when the school district released student directory information to the Columbus Dispatch, who had asked for the information in a public records request.

According to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. Dublin has designated the following information as directory information:

  • student name
  • a student's photograph
  • school of attendance
  • current grade level
  • assigned teachers
  • major field of study
  • participation in officially recognized extra-curricular activities and sports
  • height and weight, if a member of an athletic team
  • dates of attendance (not including specific daily records of a student's attendance)
  • date of graduation
  • honors and awards including honor rolls and scholarships

While FERPA permits schools to disclose such information, schools must also annually notify parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them.

I recently recieved the notice from Dublin City Schools. Perhaps learning from the outcry, they specifically point out that directory information does not include the Parent Teacher Organization parent/student contact lists. Meaning that the school will not give out the students address and telephone number. Dublin's 10 day opt-out period runs from July 24 to August 2.

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