FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. It applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
“Education records” can cover grades as well as health and behavioral records. Interpretation of the law can differ by institution, but FERPA is increasingly being painted as a law that pits “students’ right to privacy against what some parents deem as their right to know.”
One catalyst for the discussion has been 19-year old Jason Wren’s presumably alcohol-related death. Wren had a disciplinary history with Kansas State University, but his parents had no warning of his behavior until after his death.
Does an individual have less of a right to privacy by default of being a college student? Where does the right to privacy interfere with an institution’s goal to keep its students safe?