Bill Fitzgerald writes:
In this post, we will take a look at what is potentially a large loophole in FERPA that has some obvious implications for school to prison pipeline issues.
However, I need to open with an enormous caveat. First, the FERPA brochure referenced in this post is from 2007. It is possible that these regulations have been updated over the last eight years.
[Note: As of 2011, the policy concerning law enforcement units and FERPA had not changed. See p. 5 of this guidance. — Dissent]
The Department continues to offer the following advice (emphasis added):
Schools are increasingly using security cameras as a tool to monitor and improve student safety. Images of students captured on security videotapes that are maintained by the school’s law enforcement unit are not considered education records under FERPA. Accordingly, these videotapes may be shared with parents of students whose images are on the video and with outside law enforcement authorities, as appropriate. Schools that do not have a designated law enforcement unit might consider designating an employee to serve as the “law enforcement unit” in order to maintain the security camera and determine the appropriate circumstances in which the school would disclose recorded images.
According to how FERPA is written, and based on the Department’s own advice, schools appear to be encouraged to classify specific employees as “law enforcement units” to collect and manage data inside the school that is not protected by the specific law designed to protect data collected inside schools. This detail is odd on its own, but given that the stated purpose of this exemption is to stovepipe data sharing with law enforcement, this recommendation is highly problematic. Given that this FERPA brochure specifically addresses surveillance camera data, it remains an open question how this would affect the use of body cameras in schools.
Read more on FunnyMonkey.