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Friday, June 30, 2006

FERPA case study

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects student records and confidential documents from exposure. Dr. Carolyn Stone of the University of North Florida presented a series of case studies of FERPA related cases that pose interesting questions about the law. Here’s a good one: Ms. Sheffield disappeared with her son Richard to escape an abusive husband. Ms. Sheffield enrolled Richard in your school without a word about their problems. You published the honor roll of your fifth graders in the newspaper and Richard’s name was among them. A relative of Mr. Sheffield saw Richard’s name in the paper and contacted Mr. Sheffield. Ms. Sheffield is furious as she feels she must uproot her family and seek a new town in order to hide. She maintains that the school acted improperly by publishing her child’s name without her permission. Did the school act legally when they published Richard’s name in the newspaper?

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