What is Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)?

Most information about Washoe County School District (WCSD) students cannot be made public without the consent of parents or guardians. Federal law prohibits schools or the district from releasing information without permission, except for what is termed "directory information".

According to the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), directory information about students may be released by the district without parental consent, provided annual notification has been given and the school does not have on file written denial to release directory information; however, schools do use discretion when they receive requests for directory information and will not release such information if it is the principal's judgment that releasing such information would not be in the best interest of the student.

Parents and guardians or students 18 years of age or older who do NOT want directory information released must notify the school principal prior to October 1. A simple form has been created for this purpose and it is available at all high schools. This form allows for the information to be withheld from everyone, or just from military recruiters. If the form is not received by the school prior to October 1, the school and the district will assume that consent has been given.

FERPA affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older certain rights with respect to the student's educational records.  These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the school receives a request for access.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's educational records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA. (See How Do I Obtain or Change My Records)
  3. The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. (See Who May Obtain Personally Identifiable Information)
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Washoe County School District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. (See What Happens if Information Is Released or I Want to Report a Violation) 

The district's policies on access to student information are in compliance with FERPA and Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 392.029 of the 1997 legislative session.