Public Information/Student Privacy
Protecting Your Child’s Privacy, The Wylie Way
Wylie ISD is focused on keeping students and families safe, including protecting your child’s personal information and educational records. As a public school district, these efforts are guided primarily by two laws: the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Texas Public Information Act (TPIA): Open Records
This state law guarantees the public the right to see records about the school district's operation. The TPIA considers virtually all records and documents public unless the district can raise an exception. Our legislators make and revise TPIA laws and the Texas Attorney General enforces them through opinions and rulings. Anyone, from anywhere can file an open records request. These requests are generally related to the business side of the district but can include items regarding students.
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA): Student Records
This is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. Only parents and a few others with a legal right of access can view these documents. These rights transfer to the student when they turn 18 years old. Under FERPA, no information should be shared unless someone has an educational need to know. FERPA is administered by the United States Department of Education. The district can define specific items within student information as “directory information.”
Texas Public Information Act FERPA State Law Federal Law Information is Public Information is Private Everything Except Student Educational Records Covers Only Student Educational Records Some Information (Very Little) Can Be Withheld Some Information (Directory Information) May Be Disclosed with Parent Permission Can’t Ask Why Requestor Wants the Records Must Identify Requestor Tracked and Recorded Centrally Recorded in Each Student’s File Forward Request in Writing to Central Office Process Primarily at Campus
To help keep your child’s personally identifiable information (PII) safe, including keeping it from being released under an open records request, only the following information is considered “directory information”:
- Fields of study
- Grade level
- Video Image
- School of attendance
- Participation in officially recognized
- Academic honors (such as activities and sports performance on assessments)
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Honors and awards received
This means those specific items about your child will be used in places like publications, yearbooks, extracurricular activity programs, news releases, district and/or campus websites and social media postings, videos, and artwork displays. It will also be provided in response to an open records request.
Wylie ISD’s policy is that all information, including student home addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers are NOT considered “directory information” and are NOT released to the public. We only release your child’s address and/or phone number under specific circumstances as listed below. The Wylie ISD Board of Trustees adopted this policy to protect student and parent/guardian privacy. There is no need to complete any forms or notify your child’s school to keep your child’s home address and phone number from being released to the public.
In accordance with FERPA, there are only three exceptions under which Wylie ISD would release a home address and phone number. They are:
- To companies under contract with the school district and that contract requires the release of the information
- To military recruiters for recruiting purposes only (per Federal law)
- To other government/educational agencies with a legitimate need to know.
FERPA requires that we notify parents annually about this policy. As a parent/guardian, you may request that Wylie ISD not release information considered to be “directory information” for your child, however, if you “opt-out” your child’s name, image, recognitions, etc., may not be used for any school/district-sponsored purposes. Parents of high school students also have the right to “opt off” having their child’s information released to military recruiters. This means your student will not be included in the yearbook. This form is provided annually as part of the enrollment process.
Education records are records that are directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or a party acting for or on behalf of the agency or institution. These records include but are not limited to grades, transcripts, class lists, student course schedules, health records (at the K-12 level), student financial information (at the postsecondary level), and student discipline files. The information may be recorded in any way, including, but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, videotape, audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche, and e-mail.
Who Can View Student Records?
FERPA gives custodial and noncustodial parents alike certain rights with respect to their children’s education records unless a school is provided with evidence that there is a court order or State law that specifically provides to the contrary. Otherwise, both custodial and noncustodial parents have the right to access their children’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, the right to consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records (except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations), and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student. The term “education records” is defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
For more information on FERPA please see the Wylie ISD Student Handbook.
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