As an educational entity in the State of Utah, Wasatch Charter School will collect and maintain student data. This document serves to provide clarity around what information is collected and maintained by the School.
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of students. It affords parents the right to access and request that their children’s education records be amended, and gives them some control over the disclosure of the information in these records. FERPA generally prevents schools from sharing student records, or personally identifiable information in these records, without the written consent of a parent, except as provided by law.
At WCS we respect student and family privacy, which mean that we never discuss an individual student with a member of the staff, another teacher, or a parent if that individual is not someone who has a legitimate need to know. This is particularly true of any situation involving grades, evaluations, or assessments; student discipline; student health; or aspects of a student’s home or family situation.
Under FERPA, the term “education records” includes all records containing information directly related to a student and are maintained by WCS, or by a person acting for WCS. This includes all records regardless of medium, including, but not limited to, files, documents, handwriting, email, videotape or audiotape, electronic or computer files, film, print, microfilm, and microfiche. Examples of “education records” include grades, class lists, course schedules, transcripts, health records, and discipline files. Personal notes made by teachers or other staff are not considered education records if they are:
- kept in the sole possession of the maker;
- not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute, and
- used only as a memory aid.
Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit for law enforcement purposes are also excluded.
The term “directory information” is used for the portion of the education record that, if disclosed, would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy. WCS has designated the following as directory information:
- name, address and, telephone number;
- day and month of birth;
- parent’s email address;
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
- dates of attendance;
- awards received;
- most recent previous education agency or institution attended; and
Directory information may be released at the discretion of school administration, without consent, for appropriate reasons. Under the provisions of FERPA, parents must be notified annually of their right to withhold the release of any or all directory information. WCS will honor a parent’s request that their student’s directory information not be released. At the beginning of each school year, students will be sent home with a Directory Notification Form. If parents wish, they may sign the form to withhold the release of their children’s directory information.
Disclosure of Student Information
Generally, schools must have written parent permission to release any information from a student’s education records. However, in addition to properly designated “directory information,” FERPA allows disclosure, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
A Legitimate Educational Interest
School officials with a “legitimate educational interest” may access student records under FERPA. Generally, this refers to individuals in the school who need to know information in the student’s education record in order to perform their professional responsibility.
Other Schools Into Which a Student is Transferring or Enrolling
Schools that submit a records request or in which a student has enrolled are eligible to receive information from that student’s education records, so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment, or transfer. This includes post-secondary institutions to which the student is applying.
Judicial Orders or Lawfully Issued Subpoenas
Schools must release information requested by judicial order or legal subpoena. However, the school must make a reasonable effort to notify the parent in advance of compliance, unless the court or other issuing agency has ordered that the contents of the subpoena not be disclosed, or that the protected education records not be included.
Health and Safety Emergencies
Disclosure to appropriate officials is valid if the information contained in the education record is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. This exception is limited to the period of the emergency and generally does not allow for a blanket release of personally identifiable information from a student’s education records. When making a disclosure under the health or safety emergency provision in FERPA, schools are specifically required to record the articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals that formed the basis for the disclosure and the parties to whom the school disclosed the information.
The Juvenile Judicial System
Schools may release information to state and local juvenile justice authorities after receiving written certification that the information will not be disclosed to any other agency, organization, or third party without the parent’s permission, except as allowed by state law.
Specified Officials for Audit or Evaluation Purposes
This exception refers to federal, state, and local education agencies that must collect data or student information to audit, evaluate, or enforce educational programs.
Immigration and and Customs Enforcement for Foreign Students Attending School Under a Visa
INS requires foreign students attending an educational institution under an F-1 visa to sign the Form-I-20. The form contains a consent provision allowing for the disclosure of information to INS. This consent is sufficiently broad to permit an educational institution to release personally identifiable information of a student who has signed a Form I-20 to the INS for the purpose of allowing the INS to determine the student’s non-immigrant status.
Ex Parte Orders
Schools must release information in response to an ex parte order from the Attorney General of the United States or his designee in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes. An ex parte order is an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction without notice to an adverse party.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
In addition to the requirements of FERPA, the IDEA provides additional privacy protections for students who are receiving special education and related services tailored to protect special confidentiality concerns for children with disabilities and their families. WCS must inform parents of children with disabilities when information is no longer needed and will be destroyed. WCS must have one official who is responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information and must train all persons who are collecting or using personally identifiable information about confidentiality and FERPA.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA’s Privacy Rules exclude health information contained in an education record. Health records maintained by an education agency or institution are, however, subject to FERPA. For example, immunization records and school nurse records would be considered “education records” subject to FERPA.
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and Utah Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Utah statute affords parents and students additional protections that do not exist under current federal law.Under the Utah Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, WCS must obtain prior written consent from a student’s parent or legal guardian if the school plans to administer any psychological or psychiatric examination, test, treatment, or any survey, analysis or evaluation that has the purpose or evident intended effect of causing the student to reveal information, whether the information is personally identifiable or not, concerning the student’s or any family member’s:
- political affiliations or, except as provided under UCA §53A-13-101.1 or rules of the Utah State Board of Education, political philosophies;
- mental or psychological problems;
- sexual behavior, orientation, or attitudes;
- illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships;
- religious affiliations or beliefs;
- legally recognized privileged and analogous relationships, such as those with lawyers, medical personnel, or ministers; and
- income, except as required by law.
The prohibitions above also apply within the curriculum and other school activities unless prior written consent is obtained. Thus, parents or legal guardians must provide written consent before a student can participate in curriculum discussion “in which the purpose or evident intended effect is to cause the student to reveal” the prohibited information listed above, subject to certain exceptions discussed below. Students are free, however to exercise “free speech” and related rights allowed by other state legislation. The Utah Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not prohibit students from spontaneously expressing sentiments or opinions that might otherwise be protected against disclosure under the Act.
Generally, for consent to be valid, the parent or legal guardian will be provided with notice that a copy of the survey questions to be asked of the student is available at the school and a reasonable opportunity to obtain written information regarding the following, at least two weeks before the test/treatment/survey/analysis/evaluation is administered or information listed above is sought:
- the information and relationships that will be examined or requested;
- how the records or information will be examined or reviewed;
- the means by which the information will be obtained;
- the purposes for which the records or information are needed;
- the entities or persons (public or private) who will have access to the personally identifiable information; and
- how a parent can give permission to access or examine the personally identifiable information.
Following disclosure of the above-listed information, a parent or guardian may waive the two-week notification period.
Two-weeks advanced notice of the above-listed information will not be provided in response to a situation that a WCS employee reasonably believes to be an emergency, or as authorized under applicable Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Requirements, or by order of a court of law.
Parental authorization is valid only for the activity for which it was granted. A parent may withdraw consent by submitting a written withdrawal of authorization to the school executive director prior to or during the course of the activity.
Notwithstanding anything in this policy, when a school employee believes that a situation exists which presents a serious threat to the well being of the student, the employee must notify the student’s parent or guardian without delay, unless the matter has already been reported to DCFS, in which case it is the responsibility of DCFS to notify the student’s parent or guardian of any possible investigation or take other appropriate action.
Notwithstanding anything in this policy, when a school employee believes that a student is at-risk of attempting suicide, physical self-harm, or harming others, the employee may intervene and ask the student questions regarding the student’s suicidal thoughts, physical self-harming behavior, or thoughts of harming others for the purposes of (1) referring the student to appropriate prevention services, and (2) informing the parent or legal guardian.
DATA NOT COLLECTED
Wasatch Charter School will not collect prohibited information, including:
A social security number; or
A student’s, criminal record, except as required in Section 78A-6-112.
Wasatch Charter School will collect for all students the following information:
Date of Birth
State and Local Student Identification Numbers
Citizenship / Immigration Status
Parent / Guardian Names
Parent / Guardian Address
Parent / Guardian Phone Number
Parent / Guardian Email
Grade Level Retention Information
Home School District
Teacher Observations, Reports, or Assessments
Cumulative Student Records from previous educational institutions
Wasatch Charter School may collect the following information:
Medical information (such as allergies and other medical conditions that may impact the student at school)
Special Education records
Documents that are legally binding (such as custody arrangements and court orders)
COLLECTION & USE OF STUDENT DATA
Student data will be collected by:
- Completion of forms by parents / guardians;
- Requests of student records from previous educational institutions;
- Administration and documentation of assessments (including by staff or contractors for the purpose of identifying and serving students in need of special education services or interventions);
- Creation of student report cards, referral forms, and disciplinary records.
Student data will be used exclusively for educational purposes and will be shared only with:
- WCS employees and board members with an educational need to know;
- Parents / guardians of the student;
- Students themselves;
- External contractors providing academic supports, services, or programs to students, as detailed in the metadictionary and having an educational need to know (Available on Website);
- Entities specifically allowed by FERPA and detailed above (other schools into which a student is transferring or enrolling, entities with judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, appropriate officials in situations in which it is necessary to protect health and safety, the juvenile judicial system, officials involved in an audit or evaluation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement for students attending school under a visa, or in response to an ex parte order); or
- Another entity with the written permission of parent / guardian.
Should student data be used for research purposes, parents / guardians will be notified and requests will be addressed as outlined in the Wasatch Charter School Data Security Plan (Available on Website).
The collection, use, and sharing of student data has both benefits and risks. Parents and students should learn about these benefits and risks and make choices regarding student data accordingly.
STORAGE & PROTECTION OF STUDENT DATA
Wasatch Charter School shall follow industry best practices to protect information and data. In the event of a data breach or inadvertent disclosure of personally identifiable information, Wasatch Charter School staff shall follow industry best practices outlined in the School IT Security Policy for responding to the breach. Further, Wasatch Charter School shall follow best practices for notifying affected parties, including students, in the case of an adult student, or parents or legal guardians, if the student is not an adult student.
PARENT’S & STUDENT’S RIGHTS
Parents and students have the right to:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school;
- The right to request that a school amend the student’s education records;
- The right to consent in writing to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the student’s education record, except under certain permitted situation; and
- The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) regarding an alleged violation under FERPA.