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FERPA: Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act

Annual Notification of FERPA Rights

The Honeoye Central School District recognizes the importance of maintaining student records and preserving confidentiality. Confidentiality of personally identifiable information in educational records shall be maintained in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”)(20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), state law, and district policies.  FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records.


FERPA gives parents and legal guardians certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights are transferred are "eligible students."


RIGHT TO INSPECT AND REVIEW. Parents, legal guardians or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school within 45 days after the day that HCS receives a written request for access to the records they wish to inspect. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a reasonable fee for copies. An HCS school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.


RIGHT TO AMEND. Parents or eligible students have the right to request that HCS correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the school to amend a record should write to the school principal or other designated school official, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed.  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 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.


WHEN CONSENT IS NOT NEEDED FOR THE DISTRICT TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION. Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent, legal guardian or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • “School officials” with “legitimate educational interest”
  • Information the school has designated as “Directory Information”
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring or enrolling, in which case, records will be forwarded upon request
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Accrediting organizations
  • Parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena 
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.

The release of information to “school officials” includes any of the following when that person has a “legitimate educational interest” in having access to the information.  A “school official” is a person employed or contracted by HCS as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member, including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel, or a person serving on the school board.  A “school official” also may include 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, including but not limited to such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, consultant, hearing officer, investigator, insurer/insurance company adjuster, counselor, therapist, a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  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.


DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTORY INFORMATION. Schools may disclose, without consent, "Directory Information”, unless the parent, legal guardian or eligible student elects to opt-out of the disclosure of Directory Information. Directory information is information from a student’s education record that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The following items are designated by HCS as “Directory Information”:

  • Student names
  • Major field of study
  • Grade level
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and athletics
  • Weight and height (for members of athletic teams)
  • Honors, degrees and awards received
  • Photograph

RIGHT TO PREVENT DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTORY INFORMATION (OPT-OUT FORM). Parents, legal guardians and eligible students have the right to opt-out of the disclosure of “Directory Information,” subject to the requirements and limitations of FERPA, state law, and the policies and procedures contained in this policy. Opt-out forms are only effective for the school year in which they are submitted.  In order to opt-out of the disclosure of Directory Information, you must submit the HCS School Publishing Student Information Opt-Out form, which is provided to all HCS families in the summer mailings prior to the start of each school year, and may also be obtained in the elementary and secondary school offices.  Forms may be submitted at any time.  Please note, however, that in the event a parent/guardian submits an Opt Out form after the start of the school year, information may have already been disseminated or submitted for printing.  In such circumstance, information may not be able to be changed or removed.


COLLEGE AND MILITARY RECRUITERS. The district is required to supply class lists including name, address, and phone number to college and military recruiters upon their request.  Parents and legal guardians will have the opportunity to deny the inclusion of their child’s information in class lists requested by college or military recruiters.


CONCERNS, QUESTIONS OR COMPLAINTS.  If you have a concern, questions or complaint about any of the above rights, please first contact and discuss it with your school’s principal or the  Superintendent.  Our hope is to provide information regarding whatever questions or concerns you may have. You also have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning your rights under FERPA, whose contact information is as follows:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520