Hello all — I’ve been invited to talk next week about a pet peeve of mine — the common, but improper, application of school confidentiality law in the context of school bullying.
Very often, the school district refuses to tell the parents of a student victim what discipline or other action the district took against the bullying child, on the grounds that those disciplinary records of the other child are protected from disclosure by FERPA.
In fact, the opposite is true, and the targeted child has the right under FERPA to receive those specific records.
It can become a real problem because the targeted child who does not have this information has no basis upon which to know if he is going to be safe at the school, and sometimes will therefore not return to school. Districts (and their lawyers) have to be taught the nuances of FERPA so that they can stop this harmful misapplication of the law.
I will be explaining the proper application of FERPA in this context to the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention — this coming Tuesday, February 18th, 9 a.m., at the NJ Law Center in New Brunswick.
If you have an issue or question about obtaining such information from your school district, please call my office.