A (rare) faithful reading of FERPA: Court says federal privacy law doesn't penalize one-time release of records

A Connecticut college student claims he was railroaded by a campus disciplinary board that expelled him for remarks about guns that he claimed were jokes. A judge threw out his claims -- but agreed that FERPA confidentiality should not have limited his access to key eyewitness statements. 

What/where/when of sexual assaults is a FERPA secret, Illinois college claims

Naperville’s North Central College, located in an affluent suburb just west of Chicago, acknowledges receiving reports of 10 sexual assaults over the most recent available three-year period. But that’s all they’ll acknowledge.The circumstances of each case – even the locations, dates and times – are a closely guarded secret because, Dean of Student Kimberly Sluis… Continue reading What/where/when of sexual assaults is a FERPA secret, Illinois college claims

School cellphone searches test boundaries of students’ Fourth Amendment rights

It's happening at schools across the country: A student is caught misusing a cellphone on campus, and administrators seize the phone and look at everything inside of it.It happened last week at an upstate New York high school, where a 14-year-old boy and his girlfriend are now under criminal investigation after a school principal discovered "inappropriate" photos of the girl while searching the boy's cellphone.Is this legal?

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.