Privacy / Confidentiality: CONFIDENTIALITY

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Renee:  Is it legal for a school district to require peer review of student confidential files to be completed by other sped teachers who are not in any way involved or providing services for the student whose file is being reviewed? Is this a breech of confidentiality?

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Jill G
01/26/2016 2:49 pm

Renee –
It does sound like this is allowed under FERPA, the federal law that concerns student educational records.
FERPA allows school officials (teachers, administrators, secretaries, etc.) with a “legitimate educational interest” to access student records. A legitimate educational interest exists if the school official needs to access the record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility. If it is part of the teacher’s responsibility to peer-review records, then this is an acceptable use.
FERPA also makes specific allowances for records that are reviewed as part of an audit or evaluation or for compliance purposes, when related to enforcement activities under federal law. So if the teacher is -for example – reviewing the records to make sure the school is in compliance with IDEA, this is also an acceptable use.
If you still have concerns, the Family Policy Compliance Office ( is a good resource.

01/26/2016 2:49 pm

I have read the following I n FERPA: information can be disclosed without consent to Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes. Now my question is the class room teacher considered an official or would that be members of local administration or parties within the state department? How is official defined?

Jill G
01/26/2016 2:49 pm

FERPA itself does not define official, but the FPCO pretty much defines it as any one given the task (employee, consultant, or volunteer) by the school district, state agency, or federal agency.
If you have such concern about this, perhaps you should speak with someone at the school?