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Mechanicsburg Area School District

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Special Education » Privacy Rights of Parents and Students

Privacy Rights of Parents and Students

Mechanicsburg Area School District and employees are required by federal and state regulations to protect the rights of students.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 and Chapter 12, “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities,” form the foundation of these rights.  Basically, information dealing with students in the areas of educational record and personally identifiable information cannot be released without written parental consent or, if a student is over the age of 18, without the student’s consent.

Educational records, which are maintained by the school district, consist of information directly related to a student that assist staff in the day-to-day operation of the district educational program. 

Personally identifiable information includes the student’s name, the name of parents or other family members, personal information or personal characteristics that would make a student’s identity traceable.  This information is released only by parent request or to another educational agency to which the student is transferring.

Directory information can be released without consent.  It is information contained in the educational record of a student which would generally not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  The school district would generate this information which includes these items:  student’s name, address, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, participation in official school activities (and participation requirements), degrees and awards, and attendance at any previous educational facility.  Presently it is the policy of the school district not to release directory information.

Disclosure of information permits access to or the release of records, or any part of the records, to any party by any means, including oral, written or electronic.  The district must maintain a written record of disclosure for parents to inspect.  Permission is granted only when requested by the parent in writing.  The request must indicate the following information:  the specific records to be disclosed, the stated purpose of the disclosure, and the party to whom disclosure is to be made.  Information is also available to district personnel who have an educationally relevant reason to possess such knowledge.

Special education records are purged of information which is no longer relevant at the end of each school year.  Parents are notified of this process during the year-end IEP conference and given the opportunity to request copies of information being discarded.