Last Updated on August 23, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
SPPO is a part of the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and is located in Washington DC. They enforce the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law addressing student records rights at schools which accept federal funding and breaches with regard to student records.
Complaints are accepted by SPPO from across the country regarding public and private schools which breach students’ records rights. Due to jurisdiction being limited to schools accepting federal funds, usually private schools at the elementary and secondary levels are not subject to FERPA.
What Breaches Does the SPPO Investigate?
Per the USDOE website and the “FERPA General Guidance for Parents,” some of the breaches which SPPO investigates include:
1) Failure of a school to allow inspection and review of student records by a student and/or his/her parents/representatives.
2) Failure of a school to provide a process to challenge the factual contents of records (opinions, grades or “substantive decisions” are not subject to challenge).
3) Wrongful disclosure of information from confidential records (unless the person learned of the information some other way, had an “official role” in making a decision leading to the protected record, or the school official receiving the information has a “legitimate educational interest”).
4) Issues involving student/parent permission to disclose/not disclose records. FERPA grants records rights to adult students as well as custodial and non-custodial parents.
Who Holds FERPA Rights?
FERPA grants records rights to adult students as well as custodial and non-custodial parents.
Review by SPPO Takes Time
Be advised that SPPO complaints are not always the fastest way to go but at least it is somewhere a parent can seek help outside their own school.
So, if your requests for student records have been denied, a teacher is spreading confidential information they could only have gotten from student records (e.g. special education or discipline information), or the school will not provide a process for you to challenge the factual contents of student records, a complaint lodged with SPPO may be warranted.
Student records lawyer Michelle Ball represents students across California. As an attorney in Sacramento, she can help in locations such as Emeryville, Goleta, Solvang, Merced, Ceres, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Citrus Heights, San Francisco and many other towns.
[originally published 9/17/15]
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.