What the school / district does to protect student information
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents / guardians and students over 18 years of age have certain rights concerning how Lake Washington School District releases educational records. Educational records are kept as part of the normal operation of our schools. The school district gives parents / guardians and eligible students an opportunity to tell us what student information must be kept confidential and not released.
In general, the district cannot release information about a student to people or organizations outside the district without written consent from parents / guardians. But there are exceptions which allow the district to release student information without written consent:
- The district can forward educational records on request to schools in which a student plans to enroll.
- Student information may be disclosed, without consent, to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
School officials include:
Student information can be released to the appropriate individuals, such as health professionals and law enforcement when eminent danger is present or when student safety is at risk.
- People employed by the district such as administrators, supervisors, instructors, or support staff members, including health or medical staff and law enforcement personnel
- People who serve on the school board
- Person or company with whom the district has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist)
- Parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official
Student directory information can be released
Another exception which allows release of student information without written consent from parents / guardians both inside and outside the district is what the law calls “directory information.” Directory information includes:
- Home address
- Telephone number(s)
- Date and place of birth
- Parent / guardian names
- Dates of enrollment
- Enrollment status
- Email addresses - including personal, parent and school-assigned
- Diplomas and awards
- Participation in officially recognized activities & sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
How directory information may be used
Student information can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
- School yearbook
- School directory
- School or district newsletter
- School or district website
- News media
- Graduation and awards ceremonies
- Event fliers, programs, posters, etc.
See the directory information withhold form for a complete list of directory information.
What parents / guardians can do to keep student information private
Withhold release of student information
The law gives parents / guardians and students over 18 the right to request that directory information not be released without their written consent.
Directory information can be withheld from:
- Public release: news media, graduation ceremonies, external publications, websites
- District use: yearbook, directories, school or district internal newsletters, e-mail list for PTSA communications
The district may release directory information about a student unless the request is made not to release it. In order to protect the information from being released, parents / guardians and students over 18 must indicate to withhold the information on the directory information withhold form.
Directory information withhold form
The directory information withhold form allows parents / guardians and students 18 and over to request that directory information should be protected. To request that directory information be withheld, it must be indicated on this form. The form must be turned in to the school by September 14 in order to ensure the information is withheld. If the student enrolls mid-year, the form must be returned within five days.
Important: If you do not indicate a preference for the release of student information, the district assumes that you have no objection to the release of directory information as allowed by law, and no objection to the release of student information for publication as described on the form.
Military and higher education (grades 9-12 only)
Under federal law, directory information can also be released to military recruiters and to institutions of higher education. This only applies to students in ninth through 12th grade. Parents / guardians and students (even if under the age of 18) who do not want directory information released to military organizations or institutions of higher education must indicate that on the directory information withhold form.
You and your student will still be able to request sending their records to specific colleges or universities, but the district will not include your student’s directory information in requests for information made by higher education organizations.
Note: Both military and higher education organizations may gain access to your student’s information from other sources, but Lake Washington School District will not provide it.