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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-044

On October 12, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Random Lake. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district disclosed personally identifiable information from a student's records in October 2006 without first receiving required parent consent.

The parent alleges the district improperly disclosed personally identifiable information from her child's records by using non-district employees to solicit her child’s academic progress reports and grades for the purposes of continued participation on the district football team. On October 9, 2006, the parent spoke with a district employee who told her the football coach and a new coach called the school asking for student progress reports and grades. The parent believes the information from her child’s records was shared with the district football coaches who are non-district employees. The child’s records were not disclosed to non-district employees.

The parent also contends personally identifiable information was improperly disclosed when her child’s homework was graded by students in the classroom and then reported to the teacher. State and federal law require that parental consent must be obtained before a district releases personally identifiable information from a child's education records. However, in 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court held in Owasso Independent School Dist. V. Falvo that grades put on papers by another student are not records maintained by an educational agency and peer grading, therefore, does not violate federal pupil records law. Further, state pupil records law does not prohibit students from grading other student work.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 12/11/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy