Presented by Todd Sussman, LMHC, LMFT, Privacy Officer
As the District’s Privacy Officer, I often receive calls from school staff questioning what student information may be disclosed and to whom - without a parent’s written consent. Directory Information is student personally identifiable information that, generally, would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
The first step is to determine what types of information the District has designated as Directory Information. The District’s FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) Opt-Out Notification Form 2014/2015 (found in the Code of Student Conduct), lists 13 types, including student’s name, telephone number(s), residential address, and major field of study.
The next step is to determine if the purpose and/or recipient falls into one of five designated categories, also listed on the FERPA Opt-Out Form. They include:
(a) to colleges and universities in which the student is enrolled, may seek enrollment or may be recruited,
(b) for school publications, instructional materials and other school communication tools,
(c) to agencies that provide food, shelter or clothing to students and families, as determined by our Family Counselors, School Counselors, and Social Workers,
(d) to Broward health officials to address potential or confirmed serious public health threats, and/or
(e) to class reunion committees for reunion activities.
Most importantly, before any disclosure of a student’s information can be made, the final step is to review the signed FERPA Opt-Out Form for that student to determine if the parent or guardian opted out of the disclosure of a portion or all of the designated directory information.
If you follow all of these steps, your disclosures will be FERPA-compliant and you will be protecting the student’s and parent’s privacy rights. I am available to answer any questions pertaining to directory information and other privacy issues. Here’s to a successful new school year.
Todd Sussman can be reached at 754-321-1914.