The Education Dept. (DoEd) is seeking public comments on guidance that will protect the release of student medical records and maintain their privacy as part of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Public Comment Deadline: Oct. 2.
Under FERPA, there are certain instances when schools can release a student’s information without their consent. Officials have asked DoEd whether they can share confidential medical records with attorneys in the context of litigation between a school and a student. This type of sharing is potentially allowable under the “school official” exception to consent if the attorneys have a “legitimate educational interest” in the records.
DoEd officials are considering a guidance that would restrict such sharing. Student medical records in most instances should not be shared without a court order or written consent, DoEd said. The only exception is if the litigation in question relates directly to the medical treatment itself or the payment for that treatment, and even then school should only disclose those records that are relevant and necessary to the litigation, said Kathleen Styles, DoEd chief privacy officer.