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Missouri Privacy of School Records Laws

The privacy of school records is crucial to protecting students' personal information. In Missouri, laws govern how schools handle and protect students' education records. These laws ensure that sensitive information remains confidential. Such information should only be disclosed under specific circumstances. Understanding these regulations is essential for safeguarding students' privacy rights. It's also important for ensuring compliance with federal and state laws.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law. This law outlines guidelines for the privacy of students' education records. It establishes the rights of parents and eligible students regarding the access and disclosure of these records. This article provides an overview of privacy laws related to school records in Missouri. It focuses on FERPA and its implications for educational institutions and students.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

In 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was enacted. FERPA is a federal law. It covers all educational institutions and agencies receiving U.S. Department of Education funding. This law protects the privacy of student education records. It gives parents certain rights regarding these records until the student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution.

Education records covered by FERPA include any records directly related to a student. This information is collected and maintained by the educational agency or institution. It encompasses a broad range of information. For example, it includes grades, transcripts, disciplinary records, and personally identifiable information (PII). But FERPA allows for the disclosure of directory information without prior consent of the student or their family. This is the case unless the student or parent has opted out with the education program. Directory information typically includes the student's name and enrollment status. It can also include their honors and awards and dates of attendance.

Missouri Privacy of School Records Laws

In Missouri, federal and state laws govern the privacy of school records. Missouri's privacy laws align with FERPA. They also include additional and more detailed provisions to protect students' information. Missouri law safeguards PII in education records against unauthorized access or disclosure. Educational institutions must get consent from the student or parent before disclosing PII. But there are exceptions in specific situations outlined in state law or FERPA.

Missouri law also defines the rights of eligible students and their parents. This includes the right to access and review education records. Missouri statutes also specify procedures for handling requests for student information, including those made by law enforcement agencies or through subpoenas. School districts must adhere to these laws to ensure compliance and protect students' privacy rights.

Code Section 5 CSR 20-700.100
Who Has Access to School Records? Records are confidential with stated exceptions. For example, there are exceptions when authorized personnel have a legitimate educational interest. There are also exceptions when there is a safety emergency or lawfully issued subpoena. PII can only be disclosed with prior written consent from the student's parent or legal guardian. Such information is protected under student rights and must be safeguarded by school officials.
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 agency helps protect students' FERPA rights and will help correct the actions of local educational authorities with alleged failures.
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, those 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 Missouri education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Getting Legal Help

There may be times when you or your child's right to privacy are 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.

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

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