The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) also known as
the Buckley Amendment after Senator James Buckley of New York who proposed it, was
enacted in order to protect the privacy rights of students and their families. This act
was proposed during the early 1970’s which was a period of great social upheaval and
political uncertainty in the United States. People were concerned about government and
other groups using personal information found in student records to the detriment of
students and their families. Due to this concern, Senator Buckley proposed this act as an
amendment to a bill extending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Because FERPA was proposed as an amendment rather than a bill on its own it was not
subject to congressional committee review nor was there any opportunity for those
affected by the law to be heard.

FERPA was designed to protect the confidentiality of student educational records. Virtually any information kept by the school about its students is considered part of the student’s record. Any school, public or private, accepting federal funding of any kind falls under FERPA. The penalty for not following FERPA regulations is a complete loss of federal funding. The act has two major components. First, it gives parents and students the right to inspect and review their educational records, challenge any inaccuracies, request corrections, prevent the school from divulging any personally

identifiable information and review and /or obtain a copy of their complete records. Secondly, the act prevents schools from releasing personally identifiable information without the written consent of the parent if the student is a minor or from the student themselves. There are several exceptions to allow the release of information. Some include: school officials with a legitimate educational interest; schools...

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