TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Journalists requesting public records from colleges are being treated like dogs. This Sunshine Week, it’s time to unleash some shame.

A federal privacy law meant to safeguard student grades, transcripts and disciplinary files continues being misapplied to obstruct public accountability, even where no legitimate privacy interests are at stake.Exhibit A is the University of Oklahoma's stubborn insistence that parking tickets are "confidential education records" under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Loosening the restraints — how to get information about school “seclusion” tactics

Managing unruly kids who lash out at classmates and teachers is one of the most delicate tasks for schools, and those who must manage emergencies when physical safety is at stake understandably resist being second-guessed.But there's evidence that students are at times pinned, tied up or locked away in closet-sized isolation rooms for just being annoying even if they do not present a danger to others.Federal statistics indicate that disabled students and racial minorities are disproportionately likely to be placed under physical restraint, raising questions about whether the safety measures are administered even-handedly.Finding out what techniques your school district uses to respond to assaultive kids -- and how often -- should be a matter of a single public records request.

Judge says records in Cornell hazing death aren’t protected by FERPA

Earlier this month, a New York state Supreme Court judge said records dealing with a 2011 hazing incident and previous misconduct within Cornell University's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter are not protected by FERPA, the federal student privacy law.

To fix FERPA, raise the price of lying

Put yourself in the place of a school or college attorney. Your client, the institution, is trying to decide whether to fulfill or reject a journalist's request for public records.Honoring the request is going to be a nuisance, and the records contain some embarrassing information the school would rather not see on the evening news.The records pretty clearly don't contain any confidential student information -- but the journalist can't easily prove that.

Congress quietly liberalizes FERPA information access to benefit foster children

Unnoticed amid the nationwide will-they-or-won't-they fixation with the "fiscal cliff," Congress quietly sent President Obama a revision to the federal student privacy law that broadens access to student records for social workers.The Uninterrupted Scholars Act (S.

Oklahoma State’s FERPA fig leaf just got a lot smaller

There's nowhere left for Oklahoma State University to hide.The man in charge of interpreting the federal student privacy law for more than two decades, LeRoy Rooker, told the Tulsa World in an interview this week that Oklahoma State was under no legal requirement to withhold information about campus sexual assaults from the police.Rooker's interpretation flatly contradicts Oklahoma State legal counsel Gary Clark's insistence that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") forbade the university from alerting campus police about a string of reported sex crimes by a 22-year-old OSU senior.The student, Nathan Cochran, was charged Dec.