A Baltimore mom was surprised and unhappy recently when her son came home from school missing three teeth. The source? A mobile dental clinic at a Baltimore city public school had extracted some of her son’s teeth that day. The mother didn’t realize it, but she had already consented to the dental work through signing a permission slip/release form.
Most parents and students do not know that under the law as it is now, Directory Information about students can be shared with third parties without parental or student consent. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act determines what kinds of information schools can share with third parties. Although directory information may sound innocuous, it can include information about each student that is quite detailed. Directory information can include:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2015 San Diego — What should a parent or adult student do when a school asks for sensitive health information? What happens when a school offers a health clinic for treatment? What protects all of the sensitive health information at schools? This issue has been on the WPF radar lately
Schools increasingly provide students with more health services. Health clinics, counselors on site, administration of drugs, and vaccinations are among the types of healthcare offered on school campuses ranging from kindergarten through graduate school. Given that schools may have sensitive health information, what law covers health record privacy for school records? The answer is important. It is also messy, because two laws can apply to this information. In some cases, no privacy law applies to the health records.
President Obama has announced that the White House will propose legislation for educational privacy reform. The administration needs to start with the basics and get FERPA right once and for all, because currently, FERPA is not doing the job it was intended to do. Here’s a backgrounder on this educational privacy cornerstone.