Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act/Buckley Amendment

Bill 12-A-31 - Revising "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act/Buckley Amendment" to establish a Procedures Section (Approved)



Approved by the Faculty Senate
April 11, 2012

BRIEF SUMMARY: This bill specifies the procedures portion of the existing Faculty Handbook section on Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act/Buckley Amendment (Chapter 3, Section C11).


BE IT RESOLVED THAT: subject to the passage and approval of both this bill and its companion bill establishing a corresponding "policy" section, Chapter 3, Section C11 of the Faculty Handbook be amended by replacing the existing content with the following "procedures" section (to follow the companion "policy" in the Handbook):

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act/Buckley Amendment Procedures

The faculty member should be aware of the following areas affected by the Buckley Amendment:

1. What kinds of records are covered? The Buckley Amendment covers all records, files, documents and other materials which contain information directly relating to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency such as a University. The location or format of the record does not matter. Discipline folders, health files, grade reports, and other records found in a cumulative folder or computer file are all covered. Schools are required to provide a list of all the records maintained on students.

2. Under what circumstances is it all right to post grades? Grades may be publicly posted only if the student is not identified in any way. Posting of names, initials, social security numbers, or student identification numbers is not allowed. A faculty member can assign a code or number known only to the student and post the grades by these numbers. The numbers must be listed in a manner that assures that the students' numbers do not appear in the list in the positions that coincides with their places in an alphabetical listing of the students enrolled in the class.

3. Are there any student records that a school can refuse to show a student? Yes, the following:

a. A teacher's or counselor's "personal notes" (these are notes that a school official makes for his or her own use and are not to be shown to anyone else, except a substitute);

b. Records of school security police if they are kept separate from the rest of the school's files, if the security agents do not have access to any other school files, and if they are used for law enforcement purposes only within the local area;

c. Personnel records of school employees;

d. Psychiatric or "treatment" records (but students can let a doctor of their own choice look at them);

e. Financial records of parents.
Note: School officials cannot refuse to show students a record simply because it was sent to them by someone outside the school system.

4. Must the school show the record to students immediately upon request? No. Under the Buckley Amendment, the school has 45 days to grant the request.

5. Can the school destroy records after the student has requested to see them? Such action is a violation of the Buckley Amendment. However, schools may remove or destroy records prior to a request.

6. What if the student does not understand the records? An explanation must be provided by the school of the meaning or intent of statements made in the records.

7. May students obtain copies of school records? Under the Buckley Amendment, they may obtain a copy:

a. When records are transferred to another school, and

b. When information is released to third parties.

In addition, if receiving copies is the only practical way access can be obtained (e.g., the parents live in California, and the records are in New York), the school will have to make copies. Local school regulations will govern requests for copies in other situations and will also establish the amount that can be charged for each copy.

Remember: Students have the right to see the records and take notes from them even if the school refuses to copy the papers for them.

8. If students think information is misleading or false, how can they get it removed?

First, the student may ask the school to remove it and explain why. If the school official agrees, then the matter is closed. If the school official disagrees, then a hearing can be requested by the student. A hearing is a meeting between the student and school officials that is presided over by an impartial individual (known as a hearing officer) or committee. The hearing's purpose is to let each side present the evidence in dispute within the school record and to let the hearing officer decide who is right.

9. What information may be disclosed without prior written consent? Directory information may be disclosed without prior written consent if a confidential flag does not appear in the Student Information System. The University defines directory information as student's name; local and permanent address and phone number; date and place of birth; whether student is currently enrolled; dates of attendance; major field of study; anticipated date of graduation; degree(s) earned, if any, date, major, and honors received; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; and most recent previous educational institution attended.

Students may request restriction of release of directory information by completing a request available in the Registrar's office or online through the portal.

10. What information requires the student's written permission for release? The student's written permission is required for release of non-directory information. Examples of non-directory information include parent name, address and phone number; class schedule; class attendance; grades; withdrawals, suspensions; and Southeast ID number. If you have a question concerning release of student information, contact the University Registrar. (Note: In addition to the University's liability for knowingly violating the Buckley Amendment, individuals are also held personally liable for knowingly violating this legislation.)

11. Who may see a student's records without consent?

a. School officials in the same university with a "legitimate educational interest," meaning that she/he must require the student's education records in the course of performing his/her instructional, supervisory, advisory, and administrative duties of the University;

b. School officials in the University to which the student intends to transfer (but only after the student has had a chance to challenge the contents);

c. Various state and national education agencies when enforcing federal laws;

d. Anyone to whom the school must report information as required by state statute (the state statute must have been in effect prior to November 19,1974);

e. Accreditation and research organizations helping the school;

f. Student financial aid officials; and

g. Those with court orders.

12. May police, probation officers, or employers see student records without consent? No. Under federal law, police, probation officers, and employers cannot see or receive information from student records without obtaining the student's consent. If, however, the state has a statute that was in effect before November 19, 1974, requiring schools to give these individuals such data, then the school has the discretion to do so.

13. May the school ask students to sign a blanket consent form at the beginning of the school year so they do not have to request each release of a record or its information? No. The school must contact the student each time someone requests to see any records.

14. What must the school tell a student who is asked for consent to release records? The student must be told what records have been requested, why the request has been made, and who will receive the records.

15. Where can I find more information on the Buckley Amendment? The University officer charged with ensuring compliance with the Buckley Amendment is the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success who can provide more information if needed.


Action Date
Introduced to Senate 3/21/2012
Second Senate Meeting 4/4/2012
Faculty Senate Vote 4/11/2012
President's Review 4/23/2012
15 Day Review 4/2012
Posted to Faculty Handbook