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Connecticut Privacy of School Records Laws

Protecting the privacy of students' educational records is crucial. It helps maintain trust between schools, students, and their families. In the state of Connecticut, as in the rest of the United States, several laws govern the privacy of school records. One key federal law is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This federal law sets guidelines for the privacy of student education records.

Connecticut also has its own laws on the subject. These laws ensure that sensitive information about students is kept confidential. This includes information like grades, disciplinary records, and personal details. This information should only be used for legitimate educational purposes. Understanding these laws is essential for school administrators, educators, parents, and students to safeguard students' privacy rights. Let's explore Connecticut privacy laws in more detail below.

School Privacy Laws Generally

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law. This law protects the privacy of student education records. Under FERPA, schools must get written consent from parents or eligible students. They must do so before disclosing any personally identifiable information (PII). This information comes from a student's education records. Yet, there are exceptions. Disclosure to school officials with a legitimate educational interest is okay. In cases of health and safety emergencies, disclosure is also acceptable.

Directory information, including a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, and enrollment status may be disclosed. This can be disclosed without consent unless the parent or student opts out. FERPA applies to all educational institutions receiving federal funding. This includes public schools, school districts, and some private schools. FERPA violations can result in penalties, including the loss of federal funding.

Connecticut Student Privacy Laws

Connecticut also has its own student privacy laws. These laws help further protect students' educational rights. The state of Connecticut has passed a Public Act on student data privacy. This law imposes more requirements on educational agencies and online services. These are third parties that collect student information. This Act prohibits the disclosure of student-generated content without written consent. This content includes things such as essays and creative works. This consent must be from the student, the student's parent, or the student's legal guardian.

It also mandates that educational agencies create safeguards. These safeguards should protect student information from unauthorized access or disclosure. Further, Connecticut's special education laws provide more protections for students with disabilities. They help ensure that their educational records remain confidential. These records should only be accessible to authorized individuals.

Code Section

Public Act 16-189: An Act Concerning Student Data Privacy

General Statutes of Connecticut Title § 10-15b: Access of parent or guardian to student's records; Inspection and subpoena of school or student records

General Statutes of Connecticut Title § 10-154a: Professional Communications Between Teacher or Nurse and Student; Surrender of physical evidence obtained from students

Who Has Access to School Records?

Parents and legal guardians have access to the student's records. But inspection and subpoena of a student's records about substance abuse problems need not be disclosed to parents.

Agency to Contact for Complaints You may want to file a complaint about school record privacy violations. If so, contact the U.S. Department of Education Student Privacy Policy Office.

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

Violations can result in severe penalties at the federal level. Schools found in violation of FERPA may face the loss of federal funding. This includes both grants and loans. Additionally, individuals responsible for unauthorized disclosure of student records can be held responsible. This means they are subject to fines or other disciplinary actions. The U.S. Department of Education imposes these actions.

Note: State laws are always subject to change and may do so at any time. They change most often through the enactment of newly signed legislation and higher court decisions. You may also want to contact a Connecticut education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Right to Privacy in Schools

Students and their parents have a fundamental right to privacy in schools. This includes the protection of sensitive information contained in education records. Examples of this information include the student's name, telephone number, place of birth, and dates of attendance. This right ensures that student records are accurate, secure, and used only for lawful purposes. Educational agencies have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of student information. They can only disclose such information when authorized by law or with written consent from the parent or eligible student. This is usually given through a written request.

Getting Legal Help

If you think your or your students' privacy rights have been violated, consider seeking legal help. Lawyers can help clarify student privacy and parental rights. Attorneys with experience in education law can provide guidance. They can represent you and protect your students' rights. They can also help ensure compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and school district policies. Attorneys can help explain FERPA requirements and your FERPA rights. They can also help communicate with the Connecticut Department of Education.

Consult a Connecticut education attorney about your potential case today.

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