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Disclosure of Student Data FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association vs. California Department of Education case and the February 2016 court order regarding the potential release of personally identifiable student data.

The California Department of Education (CDE) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson are fully committed to protecting students’ privacy rights in this case and in any other situation, and will continue to fight vigorously to protect those rights. The court order concerning the potential disclosure of student data can be found here: Notice of Disclosure of Student Records (PDF). The objection form is available here: Objections to Disclosure of Student Records.

  1. What’s the latest in this case?

    On March 1, the court ordered additional safeguards for any potential release of student data (PDF).

  2. If I fill out and submit the form to object, does this mean it’s an “opt-out” or just an objection?

    No. The Objection Form is not an “opt-out” or automatic removal of your or your student’s personally identifiable information in this case. It is simply an objection to that disclosure. The objection form or a letter to the Court, however, is the only vehicle available for concerned parents to formally register their objection to the disclosure of personal student data.

  3. If the information is released, what kind of information will be released?

    First, it’s important to note that no data can be released to the Plaintiffs unless and until Plaintiffs demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that their proposed method of storage of sensitive student data will be secure. In addition, the parties are still litigating the extent of disclosure of student data.  If data is ultimately released, the type of data that may be included is outlined in the REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS section of the Notice (PDF).

  4. Are Plaintiffs seeking only special education student data or data for all students?

    Plaintiffs are seeking data related to all California public school students since 2008, not just special education students.

  5. My child attends a private school. Do I still need to complete and mail an Objection Form to the Court to protest any data release?

    While the CDE does not collect data on private school students, any private school student who also receives services from a public school or school district may have records within CDE’s databases.

  6. Did the plaintiffs in this case request redacted data? And if so, why haven’t you provided that data?

    The California Department of Education has provided redacted data to the Plaintiffs, but Plaintiffs have continued to request unredacted data from the CDE.

  7. If a student attended more than one public school in California since 2008, does a separate objection form need to be submitted for each school?

    No. A single objection form is sufficient.

  8. This case has been in litigation for five years. Why did the CDE take so long to post the Objection to Disclosure form?

    The court order requiring the CDE to provide notice of potential disclosure of student data to parents, guardians, and students was only issued on January 26, 2016.  The CDE posted the notice and objection form on our website on February 1, in accordance with the order.

  9. Did the CDE inform my district about the Notice?

    On February 2, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter to every school district and county office of education in the state, notifying them of this issue, providing background, and requesting that they notify their students’ families of the objection process. Read Superintendent Torlakson’s letter.

  10. How are recent high school graduates or former students no longer in school being notified?

    This issue has received widespread media attention in all areas of the state. The CDE, local schools, school districts, county offices of education, legislators and public officials are all helping to spread the word and raise awareness.

  11. Is my local school district required to provide student records to the Plaintiffs?

    No. The orders in the Morgan Hill case apply to information in the possession of the California Department of Education. If you are concerned about the potential disclosure of your student’s data that is in the possession of the CDE, you may object by completing and submitting the objection form to the court by April 1, 2016.
Questions:   California Department of Education | 916-319-0800
Last Reviewed: Friday, March 4, 2016
Related Content
  • Objections to Disclosure of Student Records
    Notice provided pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regarding the Court’s Order in Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association v. California Department of Education.
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