Jul 022012
 
 July 2, 2012  Youth & Schools

 

Carrie Coppemoll provides an update on the Oklahoma FERPA mess I’ve blogged about several times:

The state Education Department identified students asking for graduation waivers by numbers and school districts instead of names after a privacy dust up earlier in June.

At its June 5 meeting, the Board of Education named students who requested waivers from state-mandated end-of-instruction exams. After the meeting, the appeal information was posted on the Oklahoma agency website, including some student transcriptions, medical information and personal information.

The result was an outcry from educators, legislators and advocates. As of Thursday afternoon, the information was still on the department website, though details had been limited to the students’ initials. However, the students’ full names were available on the meeting agenda.

Melissa Abdo, president of the Tulsa Parent Legislative Action Committee, addressed the board about the issue at its meeting Thursday. She said all student information should be taken off the state website.

Read more on News OK.

Although I’m glad to see they switched to initials instead of full names on the web, the state STILL has it wrong if it’s releasing full names at its meetings or to the public. The public’s right to know does not or should not extend to federally protected education records that contain sensitive information on disabilities and health problems. That the U.S. Education Dept. hasn’t reached out to Oklahoma to straighten this out already is deplorable.  

Does the state also take the position that the public has a right to know the names and details of teachers who apply for special consideration or who are under review for infractions or accusations of abuse or wrong-doing?  Or does the state say those records are protected?  I’d be curious to know whether their interpretation of open records law also applies to sensitive personnel information.

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