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Maryland Privacy of School Records Laws

Privacy laws in Maryland help protect student information within educational institutions. These laws serve as a shield. They help ensure that sensitive student data remains confidential. This information should not be disclosed without proper authorization. All stakeholders in the education system should understand these laws. This includes students, parents, guardians, and teachers. They help ensure that the privacy rights of students remain protected. By familiarizing themselves with these regulations, every person can play an active role. They can help uphold privacy standards within educational settings.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is at the heart of privacy laws governing school records. FERPA is a federal law. It establishes stringent guidelines to protect the privacy of student education records. Under FERPA, educational institutions must get prior written consent for the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII). This includes details such as academic performance, attendance records, and disciplinary actions. FERPA ensures that students can control who can access their educational information. These laws also help prevent unauthorized disclosures.

FERPA includes exceptions that allow schools to disclose PII. These exceptions help balance the need for privacy with the need to share information. For instance, information can be disclosed without prior consent in some situations. School officials with legitimate educational interests can access the records. These school administrators need access to the information to perform their professional duties.

This exception also applies if there is a safety emergency. Disclosure can also be allowed by a judicial order or subpoena. School officials can disclose student information to law enforcement. School systems can also disclose directory information to appropriate parties unless a student opts out. Directory information includes student data such as a student's telephone number. The disclosure of directory information can happen without prior consent.

Maryland Privacy of School Records Laws

With federal regulations like FERPA, Maryland has its own set of privacy laws specific to school records. These state laws complement FERPA and provide additional and more detailed protections for student information. Maryland law mandates that educational agencies must get prior written consent. This consent must be from the eligible student, the student's parent, or their legal guardian. They must get consent before disclosing any personal information from education records. But there are some permitted exceptions.

Schools can disclose directory information without consent. This can include a student's name and dates of attendance, for example. This ensures that students and their families have control over their data.

Code Section  Maryland Code Section 24-702; Maryland Code Section 24–703
Who Has Access to School Records? In Maryland, access to school records is typically restricted to authorized persons. These people include school officials with legitimate educational interests. Parents or eligible students also have the right to access the records. They can review the student's education records. Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) is a statewide data system that contains individual-level student data and workforce data from all levels of education and the state's workforce and allows the center to organize, manage, disaggregate, and analyze individual student data. The linkage of student data and workforce data for the purposes of the Longitudinal Data System shall be limited to no longer than 20 years from the date of latest attendance in any educational institution in the state.
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. This office was formerly the Family Policy Compliance Office.
Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws Violations can result in severe penalties at the federal level. Schools found violating FERPA may face the loss of federal funding. This includes both grants and loans. Those responsible for unauthorized disclosure of student records can also 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 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 may also want to contact a Maryland 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 legal requirements for student privacy and parental rights.

Attorneys with experience in education law can provide guidance and help represent students' rights. They can also help ensure compliance with applicable federal and state regulations. Attorneys can review subpoenas and other court orders. They can also provide valuable guidance when exploring your legal options.

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

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