After FERPA Fact rating, Saddleback College reverses position on records relating to shooter
Here’s a first: After earning FERPA Fact’s “Not protected by FERPA” rating, one California college has reversed its position.
Last week, we gave a Triple Duncan rating to Saddleback College’s use of FERPA. The school cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (before citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) when denying student journalists at the Lariat access to public records about a former student who went on a shooting spree that killed three in February.
This week, the college has reversed its position. In an email sent Thursday, the school’s spokeswoman told Lariat editor Angie Pineda that after consulting with the school’s lawyers, the school would be releasing records relating to Ali Syed.
“The opinion of legal counsel is that based on the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), it is within the discretion of the district to decide whether to release the documents in this highly unusual circumstance,” McCue wrote. “The college and district take student privacy rights and laws protecting those rights seriously. Given that it is within our discretion to release the documents in this circumstance, the college and district have made the decision to honor the Lariat’s request.”
Pineda said she and her staff never expected administrators to provide the records. "We were all stunned,“ she said. Read the documents here.