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Mississippi Privacy of School Records Laws

Privacy of school records is an important aspect of safeguarding students' personal information. Regarding educational records, laws and regulations are in place to protect students and their families. One of the key federal laws governing this area is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. It sets the guidelines for the privacy of student records across the United States.

In Mississippi, similar laws ensure the confidentiality and security of students' educational information. Understanding these laws is crucial for educators, parents, and students alike. They can help ensure compliance and protect privacy rights together. Let's explore Mississippi's privacy laws related to education in more detail below.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

In 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was enacted. This federal law grants certain rights to parents and eligible students concerning the privacy of education records. These rights include the right to examine and review the student's education records. They also include the right to request amendments to those records. FERPA also protects the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII). But consent must be given from a student's parents, legal guardians, or the student themselves if they are eligible.

FERPA also outlines exceptions to consent requirements. For example, school officials with a legitimate educational interest can disclose information. Or information can be disclosed to comply with a court order or subpoena. There may also be exceptions in cases of health or safety emergencies. Directory information, like a student's name or status of enrollment, may be disclosed without the written consent of the student or their families.

Under FERPA, “educational records" is broadly defined. It includes any records directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution. This encompasses a wide range of information, from grades to test scores to disciplinary records and attendance reports. Importantly, FERPA applies to all schools receiving federal funding, including public schools, school districts, and postsecondary institutions.

Mississippi Privacy of School Records Laws

In Mississippi, the privacy of student records is governed by federal law and state statutes. The Mississippi Code contains provisions that complement FERPA. They provide more detailed information concerning the protection of student information.

Code Section

Mississippi Code § 37-15-3

Who Has Access to School Records?

This is governed by FERPA and the Mississippi Code. Records are not available to the general public. They are available to school officials and student's parents as prescribed by FERPA.
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, anyone 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 Mississippi education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Getting Legal Help

If you or your child's privacy rights have been violated, 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. They can also help represent the students' rights in court and ensure compliance with applicable federal and state regulations. Lawyers can help ensure compliance with school district policies. Attorneys can also review subpoenas and other court orders.

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

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