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Maine Privacy of School Records Laws

Privacy is a fundamental right, especially when it comes to student education records. In Maine, like in the rest of the United States, laws are in place to protect the privacy of students and their families. These laws ensure that sensitive information about students is kept confidential. This information should only be accessed by authorized persons or entities. Let's explore Maine's privacy of school records laws in more detail below.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

One key federal law governing this area is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Under FERPA, student education records are protected from unauthorized disclosure. These records include personally identifiable information (PII). PII is directly related to a student and maintained by an educational institution. Examples of such student information include grades, transcripts, and disciplinary records. It can also include a student's dates of attendance, enrollment status, and financial aid information.

Directory information includes a student's name and telephone number. Directory information can be disclosed without consent unless the student's parent, legal guardian, or the eligible student opts out. School officials can access student education records if they have a legitimate educational interest. But they must adhere to FERPA guidelines. Information can also be released to law enforcement in the event of a safety emergency, subpoena, or court order.

Maine Privacy of School Records Laws

In addition to FERPA, Maine has its own laws governing the privacy of student records. Pursuant to state law, educational institutions in Maine must safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) in student records. Maine law also outlines procedures for disseminating student information. The state prohibits unauthorized access to such records. Additionally, the Maine Department of Education plays a role in ensuring compliance with state and federal privacy laws. This agency helps provide guidance and oversight to Maine schools.

Code Section(s)

Maine Revised Statutes Title 20-A § 6001-B et seq.

Who Has Access to School Records?

In Maine, access to school records is typically restricted to authorized school officials. These personnel must have a legitimate educational interest. These officials must include teachers, administrators, and support staff directly involved in the student's education. Parents or eligible students also have the right to access and review student records, as outlined by state and federal privacy laws. There is a Statewide Longitudinal Data System, the purpose of which is "to compile, maintain and disseminate information concerning the educational histories, placement, employment and other measures of success of participants in state educational programs."

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 substantial 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, persons 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 penalties.

Note: State laws may change at any time through the enactment of new legislation, decisions made at higher courts, and other means. We strive to ensure the accuracy of the information on these pages, but you also may want to contact a Maine education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Getting Legal Help

There may be instances where you feel your or your child's privacy has been violated. In these situations, you have the right to seek legal help. Lawyers can help clarify student privacy and parental rights. Attorneys with experience in education law can provide guidance and representation to protect students' rights. They can also help ensure compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and school district policies. Attorneys can review subpoenas and other court orders. They can provide valuable guidance when exploring your legal options.

Consult a qualified Maine education attorney about your potential case today.

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