Student Record Privacy

If anyone is versed in FERPA laws and regulations, perhaps you could help me to figure this out….In a New York Times article on privacy in education, the creators of a behavioral tracking software called ClassDojo have implemented a new policy to only hold student records for a year and then they will be deleted. For me, it seems that the issue that would come into play would be regarding the “sensitive” and “confidential” records that are being kept by a third-party company who is responsible for the administration of the database at educational institutions. Is this not the kind of information that historically has been kept on file longer, but also has been kept “in-house?’ In the age of information security breaches and social media, what would happen if a student became someone important in society (let’s say a celebrity because we are that vain in how we view important people), and somehow the student’s behavioral records were “accidentally leaked” to the public? Not only would this be a violation of FERPA, but it could prove to be an interesting issue in the future; but perhaps only saving the records for 1 year would seek to mitigate these potential issues instead of keeping a permanent file that could be leaked, released, or tampered with in the future. Still, it would seem that holding this kind of information gives people who do not have an “educational need to know” as defined in FERPA policies access to confidential records about a student. Is this beneficial or potentially harmful for educational entities?

 

Link to Article: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/classdojo-adopts-deletion-policy-for-student-data/?_r=0

More information on FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

 

 

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