Student Privacy Quiz

Take the privacy quiz and see what you know.  Answers can be found at the bottom of the page.

1.  True or False  Schools can disclose student names, addresses, and phone numbers to the general public.

2.  True or False  Parents can “opt out” to stop schools from sharing directory information.

3.  True or False  Parents can “opt out” to stop third parties from getting students’ home addresses and other private information.

4.  True or False  We can find out if the school gives private student information to a third party.

5.  True or False  Parents cannot sue if they believe their children’s privacy rights have been violated.

6.  True or False  Medical information is confidential because it is protected by HIPAA laws.

7.  True or False  There’s nothing we can do to protect our kids’ privacy.

 

1) Schools can disclose student names, addresses, and phone numbers to the general public.

TRUE: According to federal privacy law (FERPA), this is considered “directory information” and can be disclosed to anyone unless parents sign a FERPA opt-out form. “Directory information” can include a student’s name, address, phone number, email address, photograph, date of birth, and more.

2) Parents can “opt out” to stop schools from sharing directory information.

TRUE: Parents can sign FERPA opt-out forms to stop schools from sharing directory information. These forms are sent out at the beginning of the school year and can also be requested from the school.

3) Parents can “opt out” to stop third parties from getting students’ home addresses and other personal information.

FALSE: By opting out, you can stop certain types of information (“directory information”) from being released. But other types of information (“student records”) can be released to certain third parties without your consent. Like directory information, student records can include names, addresses, and other personally identifiable information. They can also include social security numbers, fingerprints, and anything else that is directly related to the student and maintained by the school.

Student records can be disclosed to “school officials.” But school officials don’t have to be officials, and don’t even have to work for the school district. If a school district outsources work to another organization, including for-profit companies, that organization is considered a “school official” under the FERPA law. Parents don’t have to consent to this, can’t opt out, and don’t even have to be notified if there’s a security breach.

4) We can find out if the school gives private student information to a third party.

TRUE: According to FERPA, schools must maintain an “access log” of everyone who requests student records. Parents can request to see the access log for their student (and their student only). Make the request in writing, keep a copy, and send it “return receipt requested.”

5) Parents cannot sue if they believe their children’s privacy rights have been violated.

TRUE: However, they can file a complaint with the federal government, through the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education. Even more simply, they can directly approach their principal, school board, or school district officials.

6) Medical information is confidential because it is protected by HIPAA laws.

FALSE: If it is part of a “student record,” it is specifically excluded from the HIPPA law and falls under the FERPA law instead. It can be disclosed to outside organizations if the school district outsources work to them. Find out more about the “HIPPA/FERPA Joint Guide” from www.hhs.gov.

7) There’s nothing we can do to protect kids’ privacy.

FALSE: There’s plenty we can do. Take the Student Privacy Pledge and visit our take action page. Together, we can make a difference.

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