Ask the FERPA Professor

Hello FERPA Professor,

Recently one of our graduate students called and wanted access to student attendance records for all students in his class. He stated that he wants to pursue legal action against one of the students who was in the class. I told him we could not release this information to him and he needed to contact his instructor and or program chair. He asked why and I told him about the FERPA law. Was that the correct answer? Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Mike Hooler

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Dear Mike,

Your response was correct and possibly kept your institution from permitting a FERPA violation.  The one piece of your response to the student that probably should have been omitted was the referring of the student to the instructor or program chair. 

There was no need to carry this request any further than your office and neither of these individuals should have given this student any of the requested information. Probably the best action on your part, once you gave the student the correct response, would have been to call the other school officials involved and remind them that if they got this request they should, under no circumstances, disclose the information to the student.

I hope this is helpful in responding to your inquiry.

Thanks,

The FERPA Professor

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