FormalAnnualConfidentialityTrainingSystemGet the F.A.C.T.S.
What is confidentiality?Confidentiality is an ethical responsibilityto respect an individual’s right to controlpersonal information and access to it.Confidentiality is the obligation not todisclose private information withoutpermission.
Everyone in educationhas a professional andlegal responsibilityto safeguardthe confidentialityof information aboutstudents andtheir families.
What information isconsidered to be confidential?Confidential information includes private or"personally identifiable information":• the students name• names of the students family members• address• Social Security Number• any personal characteristics or other information thatwould make the students identity easily traceable• information regarding physical, mental, or emotionalabuse• information regarding family problems; substanceabuse; criminal behavior; sexual activity; or suicidalthoughts or acts
Why is protecting confidentialityimportant?Protecting confidentiality is a constitutional rightthat is rooted in the 14th Amendment.We maintain confidentiality out of respect for theindividual and the individual’s right to privacy.Protecting confidentiality• ensures personal safety,• safeguards against the disclosures that may causediscrimination,• protects against prejudicial treatment by schoolpersonnel or peers.
Confidentiality builds trust.Ensuring confidentiality protectionbuilds trust between students (andtheir families) and schoolprofessionals. This trust helps topromote participation in programs,such as mental health or SpecialEducation programs that aredesigned to help students becomemore successful.
CIRCUMSTANCES THATWARRANT PARTICULARSENSITIVITYHIV status,mental health history,suicide information,substance abuse,criminal behavior, and/orsexual activity .Particular sensitivity is needed with regard to
CIRCUMSTANCES THATWARRANT PARTICULARSENSITIVITYfamily problems,child abuse,domestic violence, and/orimmigration status.Particular sensitivity is needed with regard to
Another particularly sensitivetopic is an individual’s SpecialEducation history.This is carefully addressed underfederal and state laws andregulations.
Who should be trained?All members of the school staff, includingvolunteers, are required to participate inconfidentiality training each year.
MAKE RESPONSIBLEDECISIONSInformation regarding the importance ofconfidentiality and proper maintenance ofSpecial Education records is disseminated. Thisinformation is in your booklet and will bediscussed today.School personnel are required to be aware of thelaw; therefore, the Family Educational Rightsand Privacy Act, the Protection of Pupil RightsAmendment, and Special Education informationis discussed.
FERPATHE FAMILY EDUCATIONALRIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACTFERPA is the Family Educational Rightsand Privacy Act. This is a federal law thatprotects the privacy of student educationrecords. The law applies to all schools thatreceive federal funds.
"Parent" includes• a natural parent,• a guardian, or• a person who is acting as a parent in the absence of a parent ora guardian.FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their childrenseducation records. A school gives full rights to either parent, unlessthere is a legally binding document that revokes these rights. Theserights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whomthe rights have transferred are "eligible students.""Parent" will also apply to adult "eligible students."WHO IS A PARENT?
"Disclosure" means the release of or access to privateinformation contained in education records.Private or "personally identifiable information" includessuch information as the students name, address, orSocial Security Number.Disclosure may be through oral, written, or electronicmeans."Education records" are those school records that directlyrelate to a student."Destruction" means physical destruction or removal ofpersonal identifiers from information so that theinformation is no longer personally identifiable.A “participating agency" is any institution that collects,maintains, or uses personally identifiable information.
What are the rights addressedin the Family EducationalRights and Privacy Act?
Parents and eligible students have the rightto the following:• To inspect and review the studentseducation records.• To request that a school correct recordsthat the parent believes to be inaccurateor misleading.
PERMISSION TO RELEASEINFORMATIONGenerally, schools must have written permission fromthe parent in order to release any information from astudents education record.FERPA allows schools to disclose those records withoutconsent whenthere is a legitimate educational interest, and/ora student enrolls in another school.Records may also be released toauditors,evaluators, and/orauthorities who are enforcing laws.
DIRECTORY INFORMATIONSchools may release "directory" information withoutparental consent.Directory information includes information, such as• a students name,• address,• telephone number,• date and place of birth,• honors and awards, and• dates of attendance.Schools must provide an opportunity for parents torequest that the school not disclose directoryinformation.
Schools notify parents each year of their rights asparents and their children’s rights.Schools provide to parents a summary of the policies andprocedures.Schools must inform parents about their rights to• inspect and review the students education records,• ask for amendment of the students education records when theparent believes them to be inaccurate or misleading, and• provide parental consent for disclosures of personally identifiableinformation from education records.The school must provide• information for filing a complaint;• the school official making the request;• A statement setting forth the legitimate educational interest;• contact information for requesting access of education records;• the types of information sought, the methods used in gatheringthe information (including the sources from whom information isgathered), and the uses to be made of the information..
• Before the disclosure of educationrecords, schools are required to have aparents signed and dated consent thatstates the purpose of the disclosure.• Schools are required to maintain a recordof each request, access, and disclosure ofpersonally identifiable information from therecords of each student.• If a parent requests it, a list of the typesand locations of education recordscollected, maintained, or used by theschool must be provided to the parent.
• Schools may disclose personallyidentifiable information in an emergencysituation.• When a parent requests access torecords, the school must comply within 45days. The school is also obligated toexplain the records to the parent if askedto do so.
• If the parent is unable to inspect records, the school is toprovide the parent with a copy.• The school may not destroy any education records ifthere is an outstanding request to inspect and review therecords.• The school must inform parents when personallyidentifiable information collected, maintained, or used isno longer needed to provided educational services to thechild.• The information must be destroyed at the request of theparents. However, a permanent record of a student’sname, address, and phone number, his or her grades,attendance record, classes attended, grade levelcompleted, and year completed may be maintainedwithout time limitations.• Although the school is not required to give an eligiblestudent access to treatment records, the student mayhave those records reviewed by an appropriateprofessional of the students choice.
If a parent asks to amend anrecord . . .• the school may amend it within a reasonabletime or inform the parent of the decision not toamend• the parent is also informed of the right to requesta hearing• if a hearing is requested, the school must holdthe hearing within a reasonable time, give theparent notice of the hearing, provide an impartialindividual to conduct the hearing, and give theparent a full and fair opportunity to presentevidence relevant to the issues
Disciplinary ActionSchools have the right to• involve law enforcement or• conduct an investigation of incidents orconduct that constitutes or leads to adisciplinary action.This may occur with respect to an infractionor violation of the school rules of conductor the law.
If a school or parent initiates legal action,the school may disclose to the court,without a court order or subpoena,the education records of the studentthat are relevantfor the school to proceedwith the legal action.
A school is not required to considerrequests for amendment that• seek to change a grade or disciplinarydecision,• seek to change the opinions orreflections of a school official or otherperson reflected in an education record,or• seek to change a determination withrespect to a childs status under SpecialEducation programs.
THE PROTECTION OF PUPILRIGHTS AMENDMENTThe Protection ofPupil Rights Amendment(PPRA)protects the rights ofparents and students
PPRA ensures that schools and contractors allowparents to inspect instructional materials and thatwritten parental consent is obtained before minorstudents participate in surveys, the collection anduse of information for marketing purposes, andcertain physical exams concerning the following:• political affiliations or beliefs of the student or students parent;• mental or psychological problems of the student or studentsfamily;• sexual behavior or attitudes;• illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;• critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have closefamily relationships;• legally recognized privileged relationships, such as withlawyers, doctors, or ministers;• religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student orparents; or• income.
Parents or studentswho believe their rights under PPRAmay have been violatedhave the rightto file a complaint.
CONFIDENTIALITY• School personnel shall guard against sharingconfidential information in halls, staff rooms, or otherpublic places where other people can overhear.• School personnel shall not leave reports, studentservice records, computer files, or log books whereunauthorized people can have access to them.• School personnel may consult with otherprofessionals for purposes of more effectivelyhelping the student. If there is doubt about thesharing of confidential information, school personnelshould consult the school counselor or schooladministrator before making a decision.
Avoid gossip andchit-chat!
RECORD KEEPING• School personnel are required to keep accurate and objectiverecords.• The failure to keep records is negligence.• Personal records are kept by school personnel to documentimportant information regarding students for use in consultation,referrals, case conferences, and court proceedings.• Personal records are kept in secure locations.• School personnel should record enough information to meetstudents’ needs and to document appropriate and professionalactions.• Notes should be written as soon as possible after anoccurrence, and the original notes should never be changed.Any additions should be initialed, signed, and dated.• School personnel are obligated to inform the student about thedocumentation and the possible need to report such informationfor legal or professional purposes.• Records that may be required in court proceedings should bekept indefinitely, and information should not be released withouta subpoena or a court order.
School personnel must respect studentconfidentiality.Give only the information to authorizedpersonnel or agencies who are directlyconcerned with student welfare.There is no inherent right of a probationofficer or the police to access confidentialinformation without legitimateauthorization.
When to report . . .• School personnel who have reason tobelieve that a child is or might be in needof protection are required to report thatinformation to the appropriate authorities.• If the behavior of the student threatenspotential harm to him/herself or anotherperson, school personnel are required totake appropriate action to protect thestudent and/or the other person.
Custody• School personnel are required to be aware ofcustody court orders and policies regarding therights of non-custodial parents to information andaccess to a child.• If non-custodial parents or other individualsinvolved with the student request information oraccess, school personnel should consult theschool administrator.• No information should be given without adocumented request.
INDIVIDUALS WITHDISABILITIES EDUCATIONACT (2004)• The Individuals with Disabilities EducationAct (IDEA) is a federal law that providesfor a free and appropriate public educationin the least restrictive environment for allchildren experiencing disabilities.• Children with disabilities and their parents(or adult students) are guaranteed certainrights under the 2004 Re-authorization ofIDEA
Procedural Safeguards• Parents are given the "ProceduralSafeguards," which informs them of therights under IDEA.• It is important for all school personnel toknow this information in order to betterserve children with disabilities and theirfamilies.
Special Education Records• Personnel who collect or use confidentialinformation are to be trained with regard to thelegal requirements involved in handling theserecords.• Training documentation is kept in a securelocation.• The Special Education Administrator isresponsible for ensuring the confidentiality ofSpecial Education records. A listing of namesand positions of persons who may have accessto Special Education records is maintained.
• It is generally required that parents give permission beforetheir child is initially evaluated or placed in a SpecialEducation program (including related services). In mostcases, within 60 days of the school’s receipt of consent,the evaluation must be conducted.• Before placement in a Special Education program, a fulland individual evaluation must be conducted. The resultsof this evaluation are confidential and are divulged only tothe parent and those persons who are directly involvedwith the child’s education.• A reevaluation must be conducted every three years, ormore frequently, if conditions warrant or if the childsparent or teacher requests an evaluation. Should a parentrequest an evaluation, there are provisions to allow anindependent evaluation to be performed by non-districtpersonnel at public expense.• Written notice to the parent is also required before anevaluation or a change in the student’s program.• Communication with parents and students is to be madein their native language.
Annual Meeting• An annual meeting must be held to review thestudent’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).• Parents must receive prior written notice of themeeting, or they may consent to waive the rightto prior notice.• The parents, along with the Special Educationteacher, the regular education teacher, and arepresentative of the school, usually anadministrator, form the basic IEP team.
Least Restrictive Environment• Students receiving Special Education servicesare, to the maximum extent appropriate, to beeducated with children who do not experiencedisabilities.• Removal from the regular educationalenvironment should occur only when the studentis not progressing and needs such instruction,services, and aids that cannot be provided in theregular education classroom.• Generally, the child is educated in the schoolthat he or she would attend if not experiencing adisability.
Special Education Records• The records of students receiving SpecialEducation services are secured, with theexception of certain individuals; no one may vieweducational records unless parents give theirwritten permission.• Parents have the right to view their child’srecords.• Parents are to be provided with copies of SpecialEducation evaluations and the student’sIndividual Education Plan.• When the student’s records are no longerneeded by the district, the information should bedestroyed. However, the district is required tonotify or attempt to notify the parent and offer acopy of the record to be destroyed.
Right of Refusal• Parents have the right to refuse Special Educationservices for their child.• A parent who believes that information in theirchilds records is inaccurate, misleading, orviolates the privacy or other rights of the child mayrequest that the district amend the information.• If at any point during identification, evaluation, orplacement parents do not agree with theeducational decisions made concerning their child,they have the right to request a hearing.• The right to appeal the findings and decisions ofthe hearing is also ensured.
Remember . . .The necessity for confidentiality is paramount.Always try to act in the best interest of studentswhen making decisions to divulge confidentialinformation.Keep your administrator informed.Know the law.Understand that you are accountable for decisionsregarding students.Most importantly, act professionally.