New federal FERPA / privacy guidance and emergency preparedness planning

After a national dialogue following the tragic loss of life at Virginia Tech, on October 30, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education issued additional guidance regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).   According to the Secretary’s accompanying letter, educators and others identified the need for clarification about FERPA rights and obligations. 

The Department issued guidance directed to both elementary and secondary education, “Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety: A Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act for Elementary and Secondary Schools” and higher education, “Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety: A Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act for Colleges and Universities.”  A separate guidance is also available for parents, “Parents' Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: Rights Regarding Children’s Education Records.”

In addition to the FERPA issue, the Department, in conjunction with other federal agencies, is making available a summary to assist with development of an emergency management plan. 

With respect to emergency planning, including in the educational setting, the National Council on Disability,  draws attention to the first of FEMA’s promised series called, A Reference Guide for Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in the Provision of Disaster Mass Care, Housing and Human Services.  Additional emergency planning information in this regard can be found here
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