ANNUAL NOTICE OF RIGHTS UNDER THE FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  FERPA and its implementing regulations afford parents and students who are 18 years of age or older or attend an institution of postsecondary education (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to a student’s education records. The FERPA notice and policy below is consistent with the United States Department of Education regulations.  

Education records are records that are directly related to the student, including computer media and videotape, which are maintained by an educational agency or by a party acting for the agency. “Educational agency”, for purposes of this Policy, refers to NYC Autism Charter School (the “School”). “Parent(s)” for purposes of this Policy means a parent of a student and includes a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.  “Consent” for the purposes of this Policy means: the parent[s] have been fully informed regarding the activity requiring consent, in their native language or other mode of communication; they understand and agree in writing to the activity; and they understand that consent is voluntary and may be revoked at any time.  Information may be disclosed without consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

For all students, the School maintains education records that include but are not limited to:

  1. “Personally identifiable information” is confidential information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable, most importantly the Social Security number and any student I.D. number that would allow the user to access educational records without a password or PIN.
  1. “Directory information” is a category of personally identifiable information contained in an education record of a student, which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  Directory information includes, but is not limited to, the student’s name, address, telephone number, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, grade level, enrollment status, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, sports activity sheets showing weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees, honors, recognition lists, awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, and a Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc.  (a student’s SSN, in whole or in part, will not be used for this purpose).     

FERPA affords Parents and eligible students certain rights with respect to a student’s education records.  These rights include the following:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the School receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the Head of School a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Head of School will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. The School will make copies available to parents for free. Parents have the right to appoint a representative to inspect and review their student’s records.  The School must receive signed, dated and written consent from a parent that specifically states a representative may inspect and review their student’s records. Such release must be sent to the Head of School and must specify the records that may be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure and the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made and the time period that the release is in effect. If any education record contains information on more than one student, parents have the right only to inspect and review the information relating to their student.  
  1. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the School to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should appeal to the Head of School in writing, clearly identifying the part of the record they want amended and specifying why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the School will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  1. The right to consent or refuse to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  For purposes of this Policy, a school official also includes a volunteer or contractor outside of the School who performs an institutional service or function for which the School would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the School with respect to the use and maintenance of Personally Identifiable Information from education records. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the School discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks enrollment, intends to enroll, or is already enrolled for purposes of the student’s enrollment transfer.
  1. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

  1. The right to refuse to consent to the release of Directory information in certain instances. The School’s policy is that Directory information will be released without prior written consent. The primary purpose of Directory information is to allow the School to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications such as a family directory; a playbill showing your student’s role in a recital; an annual program book; recognition lists; graduation programs; and sports activity sheets.  Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and/or Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents and eligible students have the right to refuse to let the School designate any or all of the above information as Directory Information.  Parents are required to submit written notification to the Head of School by September 30th, or within two weeks after enrolling at the School if later than September 30th, if they do not want the School to release Directory information.

In addition to the protections offered by FERPA, parents, legal guardians and persons in parental relation to a student also have rights under the state Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security (the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”). It addresses privacy concerns arising in third party contracts with the School, in teacher performance reviews and other contexts. 

The Parents’ Bill of Rights of the School is published on the School’s website, http://www.nycacharterschool.org/.   

If you have any further questions regarding FERPA or the Parents’ Bill of Rights, please do not hesitate to contact the the Executive Director, Julie Fisher, at [email protected] or 212 860-2580.