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Ohio Privacy of School Records Laws

Privacy laws regarding education, especially in Ohio, aim to safeguard students' personal information. These laws ensure that educational institutions handle student records with care. Schools must respect students' privacy. One crucial federal law in this realm is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), enacted in 1974. FERPA establishes guidelines for the protection of student's educational records. It also creates privacy rights for students associated with the records.

Understanding these laws is vital for students and parents. It is also important for educational agencies to understand these laws so as to uphold student privacy rights effectively. In Ohio, both federal and state laws work together to govern the privacy of education records. Let's explore Ohio's privacy of school records laws in more detail below.

Privacy of School Records Laws Generally

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law. Under FERPA, educational agencies or institutions that receive federal funding must follow certain regulations. These regulations concern the privacy of student education records. These records encompass any information directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution. However, not all student information is considered equally sensitive.

FERPA distinguishes between directory information and personally identifiable information (PII). Directory information may include a student's name, address, telephone number, and dates of attendance. Educational institutions may disclose directory information without written consent. But, they must inform eligible students and their parents about their right to opt out of such disclosures.

On the other hand, PII includes information like disciplinary records or grades. It generally requires consent before disclosure. School officials with a legitimate educational interest may access student records without consent. This access is limited to specific purposes related to the student's education.

Ohio Privacy of School Records Laws

In Ohio, privacy laws align with FERPA to protect student information. The Ohio Revised Code outlines provisions regarding the privacy of education records in the state. Educational institutions in Ohio must adhere to these laws, which often mirror federal regulations. For instance, Ohio law recognizes the rights of eligible students and their parents to access and review student records.

Ohio law also mandates that educational agencies obtain written consent before disclosing PII from student records. This can either be the written consent of the parent or the student's consent, if they are eligible or of age. Yet, there are certain exceptions which permit disclosures, such as safety emergencies or when required by law enforcement or court order. Additionally, Ohio law requires schools to establish procedures for granting access to student records and to maintain records in a manner that protects confidentiality.

Code Section Ohio Title 33 § 3319.321
Who Has Access to School Records? Release is not allowed without the student's consent if they are over the age of 18 years of age. If they are under the age of 18, consent of the parent or guardian is necessary. Directory information may be released. The rights of school districts to renew or select student records are restricted.
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 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 also may want to contact an Ohio education 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 and provide valuable guidance when exploring your legal options.

Consult a qualified Ohio education law attorney about your potential case today.

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