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FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act)
Does FERPA allow me to report my concerns to the BCT?
The short answer: Yes. The BCT is interested in hearing your concerns and your observations of problematic behavior. FERPA does not restrict you from sharing this information with us; rather, it protects the privacy of students' education records. The long answer: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, otherwise known as FERPA, provides students access to their education records and insures that such records will not be disclosed to others without their prior written consent. Implicit in FERPA is the high value students are entitled to place both on their private education records and also upon their freedom to choose when to make public their own education records. FERPA protection, however, is not absolute.
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Because FERPA is meant to protect education records, it does not prevent
or in any way restrict you from sharing
what you personally observe about a student, either in conversation,
or by observing a student's behavior or demeanor. Recently
enacted changes to FERPA give University officials greater flexibility
in using student information in the case of a health and safety
emergency. The changes to FERPA clarify disclosures in a health and
safety emergency and allow disclosure if there is a threat to the
health or safety of a student or other individual that can be
articulated and is significant. In other words, in health and
safety emergencies, FERPA permits sharing of information amongst
University officials and with outside entities in order to protect the
health or safety of the student or other individuals. Since the BCT is
responsible for identifying, responding to, and supporting at risk
students, it is foreseeable that health and safety emergencies may
require disclosure of student education records to protect the health
or safety of the student or other individuals.
In all cases, please know that student privacy is a high priority of the BCT. Records and proceedings of the BCT are kept confidential and shared only on a "need to know" basis in a manner that is consistent with FERPA and University policy and procedures. These recent changes to FERPA also require the University to record information concerning the circumstance of the emergency and list of State and local educational authorities and Federal officials and agencies that may make further disclosure of the student's education record without consent.