What is the Law Regarding Confidentiality
The confidentiality of the records of all students is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) a.k.a. the Buckley Amendment. Specifically for students with disabilities, ADA does not have any confidentiality guidelines regarding places of public services while the Section 504 includes guidelines consistent with FERPA.
Educational records are considered all the records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. A record is any information recorded in any way; including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche.
Under FERPA the student when s/he becomes 18, or the parents if the student is under 18, have the right to:
- inspect and review educational records
- seek amendment of records believed to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of student's privacy rights
- consent for disclosure of such records
- request a copy of disclosed records
In general, disclosing of information related to these records requires consent of the student. Observations which are not based on the information contained in the student's record may be discussed with others, and do not require consent. In addition, FERPA includes several exceptions to disclosure of information that students should be aware.