How Should Schools Respond to Law Enforcement Requests for Student Records?

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) has released a new paper designed to help school and district personnel understand how to respond to law enforcement requests for student information.

"With the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last month," according to a news release from FPF, "it is important that schools — and the companies that serve them — understand their legal options and when they may be required to disclose student personal information to law enforcement."

The guide suggests two best practices related to requests for student information from law enforcement:

  • Meet with legal counsel to determine what obligations exist; and
  • Align the amount and type of student data collected to the programs and services provided to avoid collecting unnecessary data about students.

"If schools collect student immigration status data, it is considered part of the student record and is protected by FERPA," said Amelia Vance, education policy counsel at FPF and co-author of the paper, in a prepared statement.

The paper also offers answers to several common questions about student data requests, such as "what are my school's obligations under FERPA?" and "How should the school keep parents or students informed of records requests?"

To access the full paper, visit fpf.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].