Student Privacy

The following is from a presentation by the Herkimer BOCES Health and Safety Service. To download the presentation as a PowerPoint file, click here.

Privacy and Confidentiality Information

NYS Code of Ethics for Educators:

  • Educators collaborate with parents and community, building trust and respecting confidentiality.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act.

Federal Law that controls parents’:

  • access to children’s educational records
  • right to have educational records amended
  • control over release of child’s information

Educational Records

  • Directly related to a student and
  • Maintained by:
    • Educational Agency
    • A Party acting for the Agency

Educational Records are…

  • Records of services student may receive
  • Health Records (more on this later)

Personally Identifiable information:

  • Student’s Name
  • Names of student’s parent or family
  • Student or their family’s address
  • Personal Identifier (SSN, Student Number, etc.)
  • Other identifiers: birthday, mother’s maiden name


  • Any information maintained in any way
  • Could be:
    • Handwriting
    • Video or audiotape
    • Film/Print Photos

Access to Student Information
Faculty, Staff, and Designated Officials

  • to carry out responsibilities and have…
  • a “legitimate educational interest”

Release of Student Information
The following information may not be released without explicit, written consent:

  • Grades
  • Student’s Physical Location
  • Enrollment History
  • Student Conduct
  • Free/Reduced Lunch Participation

Other Laws/Regulations

  • Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Individual w/Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • NYS Education Law
  • BOCES Policies

Federal Law containing the “HIPAA Privacy Rule”

  • Applies to Medicaid Services
  • Prohibits disclosing “protected health information”:
    • Demographics
    • Common Identifiers
    • Past/Present/Future Medical Conditions
    • Treatments/Medications/etc.

Applies to:

  • All Children w/disabilities under IDEA & Pre-K children w/disabilities.
  • Infants/Toddlers w/disabilities & their families

Begins when a child is referred to IDEA.

Applies to Personally Identifiable Information:

  • For Pre-K & up this is:
    • The name of the child, the child’s parent, or other family member;
    • The address of the child or their family;
    • A personal identifier, such as the child’s social security number or student number; or
    • A list of personal characteristics or other information that would make it possible to identify the child with reasonable certainty.
  • For Infants & Toddlers this also includes:
    • Other indirect identifiers, such as the child’s date of birth, place of birth, and mother’s maiden name; other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific child that would allow a reasonable person in the program or school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the child with reasonable certainty; or
    • Information requested by a person who the educational agency reasonably believes knows the identity of the child to whom the education record relates.

New York State Educational Law
Mainly reinforces HIPAA, FERPA

Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy & Security

  • Sale of student’s PII
  • Right to inspect/review any stored student data
  • Protection of PII w/passwords, encryption, etc.
  • NYSED only collects PII related to educational purpose.

BOCES Policies

  • 7500: Educational Records
  • 8300: Special Education Programs & Services
    • IEP
  • 6007: “Social Networking Sites”
  • 7500: Educational Records
    • BOCES follows regulations as required by FERPA
    • Requests by Parents & Eligible Students go through: Mark Deierlein
    • Not covered:
      • “Records in sole possession of the Maker”
      • Employee Records
      • Certain Medical & Psychological Records
      • Post Enrollment Records
      • Directory Information
  • 8300: Special Education Programs & Services
    • Students w/Disabilities:
    • PI Data & Information/Records are confidential
    • IEP remains confidential:
      • Not disclosed to any person except as allowed by FERPA
  • 6007: “Social Networking Sites”
    • Related to Classroom Activities
    • Relationships with students
    • Access during BOCES Workday

Scenario 1:
You are assigned to work with a youngster that you really like. Phoebe is a SWD and she attends speech. One day she warms your heart by saying, “I wuv you!” You post how much you love this kid and what a great job you have. You include the cute comment but do not use names or pictures.

Is this OK? Why or why not?

Scenario 2: You meet a parent in Walmart. The parent asks how their Ross is doing. You tell them that he is getting along better with the students in the classroom, especially Joey whom he had some trouble with at the beginning of the school year.

Is this OK? Why or why not?

Scenario 3: As you put Rachel on the bus you tell the driver, “She had a really rough day today.”

Is this OK? Why or why not?

Scenario 4: Chandler returns to school after having the flu. You really missed him. As you are signing in the child you mention to the secretary how happy you are that this student is back. They were so sick for a whole week with the flu. You feel badly about how sick they were and share how happy you are that they have returned.

Is this OK? Why or why not?

Scenario 5: You have had a really difficult day. Monica, to whom you are assigned, has bitten you and you are very angry. You go into the Teacher’s Room crying and everyone is concerned about you. You can’t help it, you tell everyone present that you have had it. Little Monica is too difficult. She is hurting other students and hurting you. You don’t think her placement is appropriate and she should not be in this school.

Is this OK? Why or why not?


  • FERPA: The Big One
  • IDEA: Children w/Disabilities
  • HIPAA: Medicaid Services
  • NYS Education Law: Data Privacy
  • BOCES Policies: YOUR Employer’s Rules

If you have questions, please contact:

Adam Hutchinson

Roberta Matthews