What happens when you combine the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), and popular blogging platform Tumblr?
SPLC has made fantastic use of the Tumblr platform to educate others about FERPA, a federal law that is all too often used by university administrators to hide "unseemly" student records that ought to be publicly viewable-no matter how embarrassing they might be to the school. There are some legitimate uses of FERPA, but because the Department of Education has yet to give clear guidance on the law’s proper scope, the act is ripe for abuse. As explained on FERPA Fact:
Sometimes, the records are legitimately protected by FERPA. Sometimes, the records aren’t protected by FERPA but are protected by other privacy laws. And sometimes, schools just don’t want to release the records.
In order to help students, parents, and administrators better understand whether or not a given record is properly covered by FERPA, SPLC has introduced this handy rating system:
SPLC has been dedicating a lot of effort to the issue of FERPA lately. In addition to FERPA Fact, it has a campaign called "Break FERPA," which, among other things, informs students on how to request their own educational records (as mandated by FERPA).
Want to see more? Go check out SPLC’s highly informative foray into FERPA over at FERPA Fact!