Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
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Fall River, MA 02720
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What Educational Records Are
Under FERPA, education records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. They can exist in any medium, including: typed, handwritten, digital, computer-generated, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and email, among others.
What Educational Records Are Not
As described more fully in FERPA, records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker and not shared with others, certain medical treatment records, law enforcement unit records, certain employment records, and records created or received after an individual is no longer a student and which are not directly related to the individual’s attendance as a student are not education records and therefore are not governed by FERPA.
In accordance with FERPA, Bristol may disclose the following directory information without your consent and without a record being made of these disclosures. Bristol acknowledges that date of birth, while directory information, may be considered somewhat more sensitive to some community members and therefore reasonable efforts should be made to release date of birth only to those who have a legitimate need to obtain such information.
- Year and registration type
- Degrees received
- Dates of attendance
- Any honors and awards received
- Past and present participation in officially recognized sports and activities
How to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information
You may choose to withhold your directory information from disclosure here
Directory Information Confidentiality Request Form - Student Services Tab under AccessBCC
Disclosure of Education Records
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific
Bristol does not usually disclose information from education records to a student’s parents or guardians unless the student requests or consents to the disclosure. A student can consent to disclose records to parents or other parties by completing a Student Education Record Disclosure found under the student services tab in AccessBCC. In certain situations, appropriate Bristol officials may disclose information when such disclosure seems important for the well-being of the student or others (e.g., in a health or safety emergency).
Dual Enrollment Students
If a student is attending a post-secondary institution - at any age - the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student. However, in a situation where a student is enrolled in both a high school and a post-secondary institution, the two schools may exchange information on that student. If the student is under 18, the parents still retain the rights under FERPA at the high school and may inspect and review any records sent by the post-secondary institution to the high school.
Disclosure of Information
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school. Bristol includes annual notification in the Student and Family Engagement handbook and notifies students via their AccessBCC email address.
You have the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Institute to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Complaints must be submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation or of the date that you knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged violation, and must contain specific factual allegations giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of FERPA has occurred. Complaints may be sent to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW