District 97 Notification of Parent and Eligible Student 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 District 97 receives a request for access.

Parents or eligible students who wish to inspect their child’s or their own education records 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 are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

Parents or eligible students who wish to ask District 97 to amend their child’s or their own education 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 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 (PII) from 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. The criteria for determining who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest must be set forth in the school’s or school district’s annual notification for FERPA rights. A school official typically includes a person employed by the school or school district as an ad­ministrator, supervisor, instructor, or 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,  contractor, or consultant who, while not employed by the school, performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII 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 typically has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educa­tion record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by District 97 to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202

It is the practice of District 97 not to share personally identifiable student information with outside entities unless absolutely necessary to further its educational mission. PII must be shared with district employees, contractors, state and/or federal agencies, or other individuals or groups who have a legitimate educational interest in that information from time to time.  District 97 examines each request for information carefully to determine if every request relates to a legitimate educational interest.

If District 97 determines that a legitimate educational interest exists, FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the parent or eligible student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the parent or eligible student, § 99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the school to record the disclosure. Parents and eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A school may disclose PII from the education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent of the parents or the eligible student –

To other school officials, including teachers, within the educational agency or institution whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests.  This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in § 99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(3) are met. (§ 99.31(a)(1)). District 97 considers this the definition of School officials for purposes of disclosing PII.

Individuals and/or entities listed below are considered to have a legitimate educational interest in the PII of students at District 97:

To officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of § 99.34. (§ 99.31(a)(2))

To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as the state educational agency (SEA) in the parent or eligible student’s State. Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of § 99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of federal or state-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf, if applicable requirements are met. (§§ 99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)

In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§ 99.31(a)(4))

To state and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a state statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released, subject to § 99.38.  (§ 99.31(a)(5))

To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to:  (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction, if applicable requirements are met.  (§ 99.31(a)(6))

To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§ 99.31(a)(7))

To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§ 99.31(a)(8))

To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena if applicable requirements are met. (§ 99.31(a)(9))

To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to § 99.36. (§ 99.31(a)(10)

Information the school has designated as “directory information” if applicable requirements under § 99.37 are met. (§ 99.31(a)(11))

To an agency caseworker or other representative of a state or local child welfare agency or tribal organization who is 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 in foster care placement. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(L))

To the Secretary of Agriculture or authorized representatives of the Food and Nutrition Service for purposes of conducting program monitoring, evaluations, and performance measurements of programs authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, under certain conditions. (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(K))

District 97 Declaration of Directory Information

Under FERPA, a student's directory information may be released to an inquirer, outside District 97, unless the student specifically requests that directory information be withheld. However, FERPA does not require directory information be released upon request. It is at the discretion of the institution. It is District 97’s practice not to provide mailing lists to third parties. 

Any information not specifically listed as directory information is considered non-directory information.

What is Directory Information?

FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. A school may disclose "directory information" to third parties without consent if it has given public notice of the types of information which it has designated as "directory information," the parent's or eligible student's right to restrict the disclosure of such information, and the period of time within which a parent or eligible student has to notify the school in writing that he or she does not want "directory information" released to the public. The means of notification could include publication in various sources, including a newsletter, in a local newspaper, or in the student handbook. The school could also include the "directory information" notification as part of the general notification of rights under FERPA. The school does not have to notify a parent or eligible student individually. (34 CFR § 99.37.)” This document should be considered the required notification of Parent and Eligible Student Rights under FERPA.

Directory information is information contained in a student's education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. FERPA requires each institution to define its directory items.

At District 97, the following information is considered directory information:
        •        Name
        •        Address (local, permanent, and electronic mail)
        •        Telephone numbers
        •        Grade
        •        Home Room
        •        Student activities
        •        Weight/height (athletic team rosters)
        •        Date(s) of attendance
        •        Enrollment status (enrolled or not enrolled)
        •        Date of graduation
        •        Awards received and where received

When is Directory Information Not Really Directory Information?

It is important to also understand the concept of "implicit disclosure." An implicit disclosure may occur when a list consists only of directory information but the list itself by definition reveals non-directory information. For example, a list of names and email addresses of all students who have a particular grade-point average reveals the students' GPAs. Likewise, a class list containing names and email addresses of the students reveals class enrollments. Since neither grade-point average nor class enrollment are directory items, releasing these lists without prior consent of the students constitutes a FERPA violation.

How Does a Parent or Eligible Student Request Directory Information be Withheld?

The parent/guardian must complete and sign the Request to Withhold Directory Information form to keep directory information confidential. At District 97 we call this "requesting confidentiality" and we mark the student's record as "Confidential." The signed form must be presented in person, or mailed along with a copy of photo identification, to the school office. If an email address is provided, notification will be provided to the parent when the directory hold is in effect.

A request to withhold directory information results in the following:

Student name/address is excluded from future printed telephone directories and other similar printed material, such as commencement programs, athletic rosters, yearbooks, and other official public documents created by District 97.

Requests filed to withhold directory information may take up to 10 days to process. Requests to withhold directory information will not be retro-active and already published information will not be recalled.

In addition to written or electronically distributed information, no Information will be released to any person(s) via telephone or email.

It is important to note that a request for confidentiality does not permit the student to be anonymous in the classroom (including an online "classroom") nor to impede or be excluded from classroom communication.

How Does a Parent or Eligible Student Remove A Request to Withhold Directory Information?

A request to withhold directory information is in effect for the current school year, even if the student is no longer enrolled at District 97, and can only be removed by the parent or eligible student in writing or the culmination of the school year in which the request to withhold was made.

The parent or eligible student must complete and sign the Request to Release Directory Information form. The signed form must be presented in person, or mailed along with a copy of photo identification, to the school office. If an email address is provided, notification will be provided to the student when the directory hold is released.