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Family Education Rights and Privacy Act

The option to restrict the release of directory information about your student

The Issaquah School District needs to honor families’ privacy while meeting its obligation to share education-related information with the community. The annual Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) notification and opt-out process—described below—helps schools balance these interests.

FERPA is a federal law that allows school districts to disclose students’ “directory information” to anyone, without consent, as long as the district annually notifies parents and allows them the chance to opt out. FERPA defines “directory information” as information contained in a student’s education record that generally would not be considered harmful or invasive to privacy if disclosed. The law allows school districts to determine and notify parents of its exact definition of such directory information.

The Issaquah School District defines student directory information as: student's name, photograph, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, guardian email, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, diplomas and awards received and the most recent previous school attended.

Under FERPA, if you do NOT want the Issaquah School District to release this directory information about your student, you must make a request in writing and send it to your school principal by September 15 each year. A sample FERPA opt-out letter is available here

Please note: Even for students with no FERPA opt-out letter on record, District employees will exercise their best judgment when releasing directory information and seek parent/guardian permission for situations that would generally be considered outside of the realm of typical school-related activities or news. Also, the District cannot control the release of certain directory information—such as photographs/images or names—when students participate in school events open to the general public.

More information about your rights under FERPA is available online on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Parents and eligible students (students over 18 years of age) have certain rights under FERPA including:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the student's school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school's principal or designee a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal/designee will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. In such instances, schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights. Parents or eligible students may ask the student's school to amend a record on those bases. They should write the school's principal or designee to clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the principal/designee will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. See 34 CFR 99.31. One of these exceptions is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the school has contracted to perform a service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks. School officials have a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. Upon request, a school also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the school and/or the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-5901
  • For additional information or technical assistance, you may call (202) 260-3887 or go online to the U.S. Department of Education.