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Privacy of Student Records

This is information on the privacy of student records.

Privacy of Student Records Collected and Maintained by the California Department of Education

Statutory Authority

To meet its statutory responsibilities, the California Department of Education (CDE) collects and maintains personally identifiable information from the education records of California students. Such information may include the following types:

The CDE adheres to the privacy requirements in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), the California Information Practices Act (California Civil Code Section 1798 et seq.), California Education Code Section 49062 et seq., Article 1, Section 1 of the California Constitution, and all other applicable federal and state laws and regulations that safeguard education records, privacy, and confidentiality.

Personally Identifiable Information from Education Records

The CDE collects and maintains personally identifiable student information from education records. With some exceptions, such personally identifiable information is considered confidential and cannot be disclosed without the parent’s or student’s (if the student is eighteen or older) written consent.

Personally identifiable information includes a student’s name and other direct personal identifiers, such as the student’s identification number. Personally identifiable information also includes indirect identifiers, such as the name of the student’s parent or other family members; the student’s or family’s address; and personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.

Parental Rights under FERPA to Inspect, Review, and Request Amendment of Education Records

FERPA gives parents certain rights regarding their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of eighteen or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are considered "eligible students."

Except under certain specified circumstances, FERPA affords parents or eligible students the right to inspect and review the student’s education records. Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school does not amend the record as requested, the school must offer the parent or student a hearing on the matter.

More information on parent rights under FERPA can be found at the federal Family Policy Compliance Office’s “FERPA General Guidance for Families” (Outside Source).

Exceptions to Written Parental Consent Requirement 

Records may be disclosed by the school or the district to the CDE, as the State educational authority, without prior written consent if the disclosure is in connection with:

Records may be disclosed without prior written consent under certain other circumstances, including the following:

The school or district may disclose directory information from education records without consent as long as it has notified parents and eligible students of:

Directory information can include the student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.

Only schools or districts may disclose directory information but only after parents are notified and given an opportunity to refuse such disclosure. The CDE will not disclose student directory information. Parents should check the school’s parent handbook or contact the local school district for local policies on disclosure of student directory information.

A school, district, the CDE, or any party that is authorized to receive personally identifiable information from education records may release the records or information without the required written consent if all personally identifiable information has been removed. Authorized parties must make a reasonable determination that a student's identity is not personally identifiable, considering single or multiple releases and taking into account other reasonably available information. This determination must be made before releasing individual or summary student information.

Complaints about procedures regarding privacy of student educational records may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20201.

Informal inquiries may be sent to the FPCO through the following e-mail address: FERPA@ED.Gov and PPRA@ED.Gov.

Additional Resources

FERPA (Outside Source) - full text of FERPA Federal law

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Part 99 (Outside Source) - information pertaining to FERPA

The federal Family Policy Compliance Office (Outside Source) - information on FERPA, including Frequently Asked Questions

California Education Code Section 49069 et seq. (Outside Source) - specifies parent’s rights to inspect, review, and challenge the content of a student’s records maintained at the school district

California Education Code Section 49073 et seq. (Outside Source) - specifies requirements for school districts pertaining to student directory information and exceptions to parental consent requirements

Questions:   Information Security Office | iso@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-8334
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