NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS UNDER FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records.
These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in 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.
- The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information in 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 system as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel), or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employeesand who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student or other volunteer 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/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 or transfer, or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.FERPA also permits disclosure of personally identifiable information in a student’s education records, without consent of the parent or the eligible student, to a caseworker or other representative of a State or local child welfare agency or tribal organization authorized to access a student’s case plan when such agency or organization is legally responsible, in accordance with State or tribal law, for the care and protection of the student.
A record of disclosures of the education records will be maintained in the student’s cumulative folder. A parent or eligible student may inspect and review that record.
- 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 office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Notice for Directory Information
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, CMS may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures.
The District has designated the following information as directory information:
- Student’s name;
- Telephone listing;
- Electronic mail address;
- Date and place of birth;
- Major field of study;
- Dates of attendance;
- Grade level;
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams;
- Degrees, honors, academic recognitions and awards received;
- Most recent school attended.
The primary purpose of directory information is to allow CMS 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;
- Sports programs;
- Graduation programs; and
- Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.
Directory information, which is information contained in an education record 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. However, Board policy states that directory information may only be released to outside organizations that offer and/or supply school memorabilia such as companies that manufacture class rings, publish yearbooks, or provide graduation products.
Board policy also defines “student list” information as including student names, addresses, telephone numbers, electronic mail address, grade level, and last school attended. Student list information can only be shared with the following outside organizations:
- Institutions of higher education;
- School-affiliated nonprofit groups such as PTSA’s and Booster Clubs, to be used for purposes that are approved by the school principal; and
- Entities that are under contract with the school district to provide services that benefit students or a particular school on behalf of the school district.
Before being approved to receive the information, each organization must agree in writing to:
- Use the Student List only for the express purpose for which it was requested;
- Keep the Student List information confidential;
- Not copy, disseminate, or otherwise disclose the Student List to any other entity or person; and
- Destroy the Student List upon completion of the use for which it was requested.
In addition, two federal laws require CMS to provide military recruiters and institutions of higher education, upon request, with three directory information categories - names, addresses and telephone listings of each secondary school student served by CMS - unless parents of such students or students who have attained 18 years of age have advised the District in writing that they do not want directory information disclosed.
If you do not want CMS to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify your child’s current school in writing within 10 days after the first day of the academic school year. CMS Board Policy S-REC “Student Records” is available on the CMS website. Parents and eligible students have the right to obtain a copy of this policy.