School district officials should keep in mind that, in addition to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which protects students’ privacy with respect to disclosure and use of their personal information, there is another law that protects student privacy from a slightly different perspective: the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). The PPRA, which requires the adoption of a formal board policy, governs the administration to students of a survey, analysis, or evaluation that concerns one or more of the following eight protected areas:
1. political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
2. mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
3. sex behavior or attitudes;
4. illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
5. critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
6. legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
7. religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
8. income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).
Schools that forget this law, fail to have this policy or properly enforce it are facing opposition from parents across the State when they are not given the opportunity to opt their children out of participation in such information gathering.
Come learn about the requirements of this law at our Firm’s December breakfast briefings, entitled “Braving the Barrage—Strategies to Address Current Issues” to be held in Syracuse on December 6, Binghamton and Clayton on December 7 and Rochester on December 8.
Parents, guardians, community members, and interest groups are demanding information through FOIL and FERPA, seeking to opt out of curriculum and opt out of surveys, remove books from library shelves and interview students during the school day. This program will provide practical solutions on how school officials should properly respond to these requests in a timely manner and still focus on your main mission of educating students.
Join us for the Breakfast Briefing to address these current issues. Register now—space is limited.