Notification of Rights for Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:
1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the School receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the School principal [or appropriate school official] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Watertown School District official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the School to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the school principal [or appropriate official], clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the Watertown School District decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the district will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the Watertown School District as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the School has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the Watertown School District discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
[NOTE: FERPA requires a school district to make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or eligible student of the records request unless it states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.]
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5901
Under FERPA, the Watertown School District may disclose directory information without consent, unless the parent or eligible student has requested the Watertown School District not disclose directory information about them. The parent or eligible student has fifteen calendar days from the date of the annual publication of FERPA to submit a written request to the student’s building principal or superintendent regarding the non-disclosure of directory information.
“Directory information” means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. It includes, but is not limited to, the student’s name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (e.g. undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part time), participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
FEPRA requires that school districts use a reasonable method to identify and authenticate the identity of parents, students, school officials, and any other parties to whom they disclose personally identifiable information from education records. The Watertown School District method for verification of identity will include requiring photo identification for any individual who is not a current student in the Watertown School District, or is not a current member of the district staff who seeks educational records in person. Requests for records in writing will be made on the letterhead of the school or agency making the request.