Apple Icon  SAFEGUARDING STUDENT INFORMATION: A Guide for WPS Faculty and Staff

In this age of mass marketing, junk mail, spam, and identity theft, it is very important that anyone who works with student information works to protect the privacy of that information. The guidelines which follow will help you to safeguard our student's information.

As a staff member, do not release any student information, or ask that a student release information to any other party. This includes providing lists of student names or other data, survey responses, having students request information or register themselves via web or paper. (Note that Thinkquest and other special official school activities may have students create accounts. If in doubt, check with your principal.)

Parents, legal guardians, and eligible students (age 18+) do have the right to inspect their educational records. Parent conferences, in person or over the phone, are the best way to communicate student information. Email is a great way to set up a parent conference, but you should avoid sending specific information, such as grades and comments, IEP meeting reminders, and discipline details using email. Email is not a secure method of communication. WPS is required to archive email which makes it available for retrieval during possible future Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or legal actions. Again, use email to schedule phone or in-person conferences but not as a tool to send sensitive student information.

Below are highlights from federal law for your review. Remember, do not ask that students reveal any personal information themselves and refer ANY requests for student information outside of information you communicate with parents or guardians during conferences to your Principal.

FERPA: FAMILY EDUCATION RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT

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; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. 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. WPS includes this information in the handbook sent home to parents each fall.

For more information about FERPA, visit the Family Policy Compliance Office website.


  Winchester Public Schools
12 N. Washington Street
Winchester, VA 22601
  Phone: (540) 667-4253
Fax: (540) 722-6198
  Privacy Statement
Internet Privacy Policy
Notice of Non-Discrimination
  Acceptable Use Policy
Student Use of Personally
Owned Electronic Devices
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