Must this California school district withhold the identity of a student charged with sexually assaulting another student?

Under a court settlement, the identities of two California high
school students — who have admitted to sexually assaulting another
student while she was unconscious at a party — will not be released

Now, a school administrator says the federal student
privacy law prevents the release of directory information about one of
the students involved in the assault.

In 2012, Audrie Pott, a
15-year-old student at Saratoga High School in California, three teenage
boys sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious at a party. She
killed herself after the boys shared explicit photographs of the assault

Both students are now 18 years old.

Following the incident, one of the Saratoga High School students transferred
to Christopher High School in Gilroy, Calif., the Gilroy Dispatch
reported. In response, a reader asked the newspaper whether the person
who assaulted Pott still lives in Saratoga and was allowed to transfer
to Christopher High, or if he moved to Gilroy.

“None of the newspaper stories indicate he actually lives in Gilroy,” the reader said.

are allowed to transfer between school districts if both districts
agree to the arrangement, according to the California Education Code.

Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Flore told the newspaper
she couldn’t give an answer because the student’s family does not
consent to the release of the student’s directory information.

the District cannot share the information that you have requested as
that would be a violation of FERPA and Board’s policies and
administrative regulations,” Flores said in a statement to the

Source: Gilroy Dispatch, How did he transfer into Gilroy’s Christopher High? (4/24/2015)

Former SPLC Attorney Advocate Adam Goldstein: While the backstory here
is complicated, the FERPA question is not: if the family doesn’t consent
to the release of directory information, the district can’t release the

It’s entirely reasonable for the parents in Gilroy
to ask questions about how this student has been moved into classes with
their children. But FEPRA does not inquire whether the request is
morally justified; it merely prohibits the release of personally
identifiable information without a chance to opt-out. As the family
opted out, the district is probably following the law correctly.

We rate this: a pretty legitimate use of FERPA