The FERPA is legislation by the US government which seeks to protect the privacy right of parents and students on access to the student’s academic records (U. S. Department of Education). According to the provisions of the act, a parent or an eligible student has the right to inspect their records. However, in a move to safeguard the privacy of students’ records, the act prohibits the access of the records of another student as well as financial records of parents (U. S. Department of Education). The law also prohibits the access of their own confidential recommendation letters provided access right has been waived.
It is also to be appreciated that the law does not allow students or parents to review notes which are in the possession of the teacher (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). According to the FERPA, the learning institution is legally bound not to disclose educational records of any student without their consent (U. S. Department of Education). Due to this reason, students or parents are dictated by the law to provide a written and signed consent giving the institution the authority to disclose such records.
It is however to be acknowledge that the law does not deter the institution from disclosing students public information such as addresses and phone contacts (U. S. Department of Education). Such privacy rights provided by the FERPA are subject to other limitations such as by legal court request, to the federal department of education, and to address the health emergency concerns. Just to be noted is the fact that the law gives students a legal authority to request for amending of records they feel are incorrect (Van Dusen). Therefore, the FERPA is an important move in protecting the privacy rights of students due to the following reasons.
First, the law prohibits the unlawful access of educational records of other students (U. S. Department of Education). Under the constitution of America, right to privacy is regarded as a fundamental right for all citizens. This means that, even juveniles are equally protected by this law. However, this right did not define educational records as subject to privacy. Therefore, the FERPA has practically defined a binding provision to provide the privacy of student’s educational records. This protects the accuracy and confidentiality of each and every other student’s records.
Still, according to available information, prior to the enactment of the FERPA, it was not uncommon for students to forge academic credentials. This can be best described as a negation of the underlying principles and purpose of education. Indeed, such were not only an invasion of the student’s right to privacy but much a loophole for perpetrating criminal activities such as identity theft. Based on this reasoning, the FERPA serves as a sufficient protection to the privacy of student records kept by learning institution, a factor which streamlines the American educational system (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations).
Another reason is that it mitigates the practice of disclosure of academic records by institutions to persons other than the eligible student or their parents (Van Dusen). Academic records particularly those dealing with performance and written works are intellectual properties of the eligible student. This means that they should have the legal authority to benefit from them. Just to be appreciated is the fact that without the privacy provisions of the FERPA, disclosure and access of student records could not be legally protected. This could compromise the both the confidentiality and originality of such information.
The FERPA block right is also a crucial tool in defining the privacy right of student’s records. According to the law, a student can direct the institution to block any public display of their personal information (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). This has the implication that the institution has no authority not only to disclose the information but also to use it in its normal public involvements. Still, on this provision is the fact that the student has the right to recall such a block at will through writing to the institution (U.
S. Department of Education). This is found to give the students legal authority to define who, when and how their records can be displayed. Such a provision is of great importance in protecting the privacy of student records. The FERPA functions to set provisions for safeguarding the privacy of the information transmitted by state agencies to federal agencies (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). During this information technology era, computer crimes are a leading cause of compromised privacy and confidentiality of data transmission.
However, the act has given sufficient provisions for preventing corrupting of student records during such transmissions (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations). This provision protects both the privacy and the accuracy of student records. In conclusion, FERPA serves the sole purpose of protecting the privacy of student records. The law only allows parents and eligible students to gain access, inspect and request for necessary amendments of their records. It prohibits the institution from disclose the records of any student to a third party without their written consent (U.
S. Department of Education). This has the implication of ensuring of the privacy and confidentiality of student records kept by learning institutions. Although the law gives some exceptions on the right to student record privacy, such are clearly defined and safeguarded to mitigate malicious release of such records to unwarranted individuals of institutions. Therefore, FERPA protects the right to privacy for student records. Works cited Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. “Education. ” Family Education Rights and Privacy. 3 May. 2010. <http://ecfr.
gpoaccess. gov/cgi/t/text/textidx? c=ecfr;sid=6b7e313020dfabb7caa0216830b2a7d8;rgn=div5;view=text;node=34:1. 1. 1. 1. 34;idno=34;cc=ecfr> U. S. Department of Education. “Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). ” Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 5 May. 2010. 5 May. 2010. <http://www2. ed. gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index. html> Van Dusen, William. “FERPA: Basic Guidelines for Faculty and Staff. ” A Simple Step-by-Step Approach For Compliance. 2010. 5 May. 2010. <http://www. nacada. ksu. edu/Resources/FERPA-Overview. htm>