PTAC releases guidance on sending PII via email

The U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has issued a guidance video concerning the use of email in schools and student data privacy. In the short video, the Department briefly explains the protections afforded student personally identifiable information (PII) by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and asks school employees to evaluate the risks associated with using email as a convenient means of transmitting such sensitive information.

The Safe at Home program

House Bill (HB) 359, Ohio’s new Safe at Home program, became effective yesterday, Sept. 8. The HB 359 bill analysis is available here. The program creates a system of address confidentiality implemented through the secretary of state’s (SOS) office.

Changes to withholding grades and credits

As of October 11, 2013, HB 14 has limited the circumstances in which a board of education may withhold the grades and credits of students who have failed to pay fees and charges. Under the newly amended provisions of RC 3313.642, boards of education are prohibited from withholding the grades, credits, official transcripts, diplomas, IEPs, or 504 plans of a student for the nonpayment of fees for materials used during the course of instruction if:

-a complaint has been filed in juvenile court alleging that a student is an abused, neglected, or dependent child; or

Recent act creates FERPA exception for child welfare workers

On January 14, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the "Uninterrupted Scholars Act of 2013." The Act amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which generally prohibits the release of personally identifiable information from student education records without written consent from a parent or eligible student.

Ohio Supreme Court rules on case between Ohio State University and ESPN

The OSBA Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) recently participated in an Ohio Supreme Court case between The Ohio State University (Ohio State) and ESPN. The LAF joined the Ohio Legal Rights Service, Community Legal Aid Services, and Northeast Ohio Legal Services, and submitted an amici curiae brief arguing that Ohio State was prohibited from disclosing the records requested by ESPN pursuant to Ohio's Public Records Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Does HIPAA or FERPA apply to student health information?

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act of 1996 and its regulations contain a Privacy Rule that requires covered health care providers to keep health information confidential. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) covers students enrolled in elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools that receive federal funding. It requires school districts to keep confidential students' personally identifiable information other than directory information.