Did I violate any federal laws with a reward party for my students after testing?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Any record that contains personally identifiable information that is directly related to the student is an educational record under FERPA.
The following items are not considered educational records under FERPA:
-Private notes of individual staff or faculty; (NOT kept in student advising folders)
-Campus police records;
-Statistical data compilations that contain no mention of personally identifiable information about any specific student.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. The student’s signature will authorize the release of grades and standardized test results.
FERPA training is a matter of each school's policy. It has been viewed as a toothless statute, as enforcement actions are rarely pursued. Any sanctions for the violation will most likely be a matter of internal disciplinary procedures based on the policies of the board of education or scool involved. If suggest contacting your teacher's union representative, if available, to determine your rights in a disciplinary action, as policies vary by school.
Whether there was a violation of FERPA depends on all the facts and circumstances involved, such as who the email was addressed to and whether there was consent given before the release of the test results. If you wish to seek legal advice, please consult our attorney directory at the following link:
The following is from FERPA:
PART 99_FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY--Table of Contents
Subpart C_What Are the Procedures for Amending Education Records?
Sec. 99.22 What minimum requirements exist for the conduct of a hearing?
The hearing required by Sec. 99.21 must meet, at a minimum, the
(a) The educational agency or institution shall hold the hearing
within a reasonable time after it has received the request for the
hearing from the parent or eligible student.
(b) The educational agency or institution shall give the parent or
eligible student notice of the date, time, and place, reasonably in
advance of the hearing.
(c) The hearing may be conducted by any individual, including an
official of the educational agency or institution,
who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing.
(d) The educational agency or institution shall give the parent or
eligible student a full and fair opportunity to present evidence
relevant to the issues raised under Sec. 99.21. The parent or eligible
student may, at their own expense, be assisted or represented by one or
more individuals of his or her own choice, including an attorney.
(e) The educational agency or institution shall make its decision in
writing within a reasonable period of time after the hearing.
(f) The decision must be based solely on the evidence presented at
the hearing, and must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons
for the decision.