Did you know that your child’s school can share personal information about your child to third parties without your consent? The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows public schools to release what’s known as directory information to almost anyone. What directory information is can vary from school to school, but it may include your child’s
- phone number
- email address
- date and place of birth
- weight and height (if they’re members of athletic teams)
- degrees, honors and awards
- most recently attended educational agency or institution
Fortunately, FERPA also requires these schools to provide you with the opportunity to opt-out of this sharing of your child’s information. Schools will often directly supply you with an opt-out form similar to the one created by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy & Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, but some may have the form on their website while others may slip it into an annual notification about FERPA rights. This opportunity for opting-out may also have an early deadline at the beginning of the school year.
Bottom line: if you don’t sign the form, the school is free to share your child’s information with others. If you haven’t seen or can’t find your Directory Information Disclosure Opt-Out Form, contact your school and make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to help protect your kids!
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