Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center had a guest column in the Star-Tribune last month that was recently reproduced in the Waco Tribune, where it caught my eye. For anyone interested in student privacy issues and how schools often misuse federal law to shield what they do not want to disclose, it’s a great piece to read. Even if you just want to understand the history of FERPA, it’s a great piece to read.
Here’s a snippet:
Congress drafted FERPA in 1974 with one narrow purpose in mind: To keep K-12 schools from disclosing psychological evaluations and similar documents to law enforcement before parents had the opportunity to inspect and correct them for misleading information. But thanks to aggressive lawyering by secretive colleges — and “home cooking” from deferential state-court judges — the statute has been judicially expanded beyond all rational boundaries. One Ohio court even classified e-mails between a football coach and a booster suspected of offering cars to recruits as “education records.”
Image-fixated colleges have turned the privacy shield of FERPA into a sword of secrecy — in one extreme recent case, even suing their own students.
Now go read the whole thing on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.