The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents and students over 18 years of age certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:
- The rights to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the school receives a request for access. A written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect should be submitted to the school principal. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify parents or the eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Schools are not required to provide copies unless it is impossible to review. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- The right to request that a school correct records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate. Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record they believe is inaccurate by writing the school principal, clearly identifying the part of the record they want changed and why it is inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the record the parent or eligible student will be notified by the school advising them of their right to a hearing regarding the request.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records. FERPA allows schools to disclose without consent to the following parties: School officials with legitimate educational interests (person employed by the district; a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the school district has contracted to perform a special task; or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee) can review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the school district will forward records to another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the school district to comply with the above FERPA requirements. The office that administers FERPA is: Family Policy Compliance Office, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.