FTC, Department of Education Announce Workshop to Explore Privacy Issues Related to Education Technology #00004

Submission Number:
00004
Commenter:
David Roston
State:
Iowa
Initiative Name:
FTC, Department of Education Announce Workshop to Explore Privacy Issues Related to Education Technology
I am not sure whether the scope of the workshop is intended to deal with the relationship of FERPA to bullying. That is the subject of my concern. There is a consistent practice of Iowa schools with which I have contact to refuse to provide information to the parents of bullying victims with the identity of bullies and the consequences meted out for bullying. This refusal is justified as being required by FERPA. I understand that FPCO has consistently taken the view that FERPA does not prohibit the disclosure of information contained in student records when that information is known to school staff without reference to the records and can be disclosed without referring to records. I have encountered the problem only with regard to non-cyber bullying, but I can see that in the case of cyber-bullying as school might try to rely on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in the same way. This problem is particularly egregious when children with disabilities are bullied but do not have the communication skills to identify the bully (or even the event) for their parents. There is a need to move FPCO's interpretation of FERPA into a regulation, so that someone reading the regulations would know that they cannot justify a refusal to disclose readily known information on the basis of FERPA.