Parents Bill of Rights

  • Education Law § 2-d requires each educational agency in the State of New York to develop a Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security and publish it on its website.

    The purpose of the Parents’ Bill of Rights is to provide information to parents (which also include legal guardians or persons in parental relation to a student, but generally not the parents of a student who is age eighteen or over) and eligible students about certain legal requirements that protect personally identifiable information pursuant to state and federal laws.


    EDUCATION LAW §2-D BILL OF RIGHTS FOR DATA PRIVACY AND SECURITY

    Parents (includes legal guardians or persons in parental relationships) and Eligible Students (student 18 years and older) can expect the following:

    1.  A student’s personally identifiable information (PII) cannot be sold or released for any commercial purpose. PII, as defined by Education Law § 2-d and FERPA, includes direct identifiers such as a student’s name or identification number, parent’s name, or address; and indirect identifiers such as a student’s date of birth, which when linked to or combined with other information can be used to distinguish or trace a student’s identity. Please see FERPA’s regulations at 34 CFR 99.3 for a more complete definition.

    2. The right to inspect and review the complete contents of the student’s education record stored or maintained by an educational agency. This right may not apply to parents of an Eligible Student.

    3. State and federal laws such as Education Law § 2-d; the Commissioner of Education’s Regulations at 8 NYCRR Part 121, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") at 12 U.S.C. 1232g (34 CFR Part 99); Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA") at 15 U.S.C. 6501-6502 (16 CFR Part 312); Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment ("PPRA") at 20 U.S.C. 1232h (34 CFR Part 98); the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) at 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. (34 CFR Part 300); protect the confidentiality of a student’s identifiable information.

    4. Safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices including but not limited to encryption, firewalls and password protection must be in place when student PII is stored or transferred.

    5. A complete list of all student data elements collected by NYSED is available at http://www.nysed.gov/data-privacy-security/student-data-inventory and by writing to: Chief Privacy Officer, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234.

    6. The right to have complaints about possible breaches and unauthorized disclosures of PII addressed. Complaints may be submitted to NYSED at http://www.nysed.gov/data-privacy- security/report-improper-disclosure, by mail to: Chief Privacy Officer, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234; by email to privacy@nysed.gov; or by telephone at 518-474-0937.

    7. To be notified in accordance with applicable laws and regulations if a breach or unauthorized release of PII occurs.

    8. Educational agency workers that handle PII will receive training on applicable state and federal laws, policies, and safeguards associated with industry standards and best practices that protect PII.

    9. Educational agency contracts with vendors that receive PII will address statutory and regulatory data privacy and security requirements.

    Parent FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions About Data Privacy and Security

    1. Can companies that provide services to my school under contract (third party contractors) buy my information or use it for their marketing purposes?
    No. Your personally identifiable information (PII) cannot be sold by a contractor or used for marketing purposes.

    2. Must I be notified if there is an unauthorized disclosure of my personally identifiable information?
    Yes. The school must notify the parent or eligible student of the unauthorized release of student data in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay. This applies to cases of an unauthorized release of teacher or principal personally identifiable information data as well. Each affected teacher or principal must be notified.

    3. What other laws protect my student’s data?
    In addition to New York’s Education Law Section 2-d, there are federal laws that are designed to protect student data and prohibit any misuse. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the foundational federal law on the privacy of students’ educational records. It was enacted in 1974 and applies to schools that receive federal funding, which are mostly public schools and some, but not all, private schools. FERPA safeguards student privacy by limiting who may access student records, specifying for what purpose they may access those records, and detailing what rules they have to follow when accessing the data. FERPA also includes provisions that guarantee a parent’s right to access, review, and request the correction of their child’s educational record. For additional information about FERPA and other federal laws, please visit our page, Federal Laws that Protect Student Data. Other applicable laws are the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) which defines the rules states and school districts must follow when administering tools like surveys, analysis, and evaluations funded by the US Department of Education to students, and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) which imposes certain requirements on operators of websites, games, mobile apps or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age.

    4. How will contracted service providers be held accountable for maintaining the confidentiality of the student data they receive?
    Educational agencies that contract with third parties who will receive student PII must enter into contracts with such third parties which include certain conditions outlined in the law such as the inclusion of data security and privacy plan, the parent's bill of rights, and minimum technical security standards to protect student PII. The Chief Privacy Officer is also authorized by the law to impose civil penalties.

    5. What are the essential parents’ rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) relating to personally identifiable information in their child’s student records?
    The rights of parents under FERPA are summarized in the Model Notification of Rights prepared by the United States Department of Education for use by schools in providing annual notification of rights to parents.

    Parents’ rights under FERPA include:

    The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the school or school district receives a request for access.
    The right to request amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Complete student records are maintained by schools and school districts and not at NYSED, therefore, NYSED cannot make amendments to school or school district records. Schools and school districts are best positioned to make corrections to students’ education records.
    The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (including but not limited to disclosure under specified conditions to (i) school officials within the school or school district with legitimate educational interests; (ii) officials of another school for purposes of enrollment or transfer; (iii) third-party contractors providing services to, or performing functions for an educational agency; (iv) authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as NYSED; (v) organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational agencies) and (vi) the public where the school or school district has designated certain student data as “directory information” (described below).


    The FERPA Model Notification of Rights more fully describes the exceptions to the consent requirement under FERPA).


    Where a school or school district has a policy of releasing “directory information” from student records, the parent has a right to refuse to let the school or school district designate any of such information as directory information. Directory information, as defined in federal regulations, includes: the student’s name, address, telephone number, email address, photograph, date, and place of birth, major field of study, grade level, enrollment status, dates of attendance, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors, and awards received and the most recent educational agency or institution attended. Where disclosure without consent is otherwise authorized under FERPA, however, a parent’s refusal to permit disclosure of directory information does not prevent disclosure pursuant to such separate authorization.
    The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA.


    6. What “educational agencies” are included in the requirements of Education Law §2-d?

    The New York State Education Department (“NYSED”);
    Each public school district;
    Each Board of Cooperative Educational Services or BOCES; and
    All schools that are: a public elementary or secondary school;
    universal pre-kindergarten program authorized pursuant to Education Law §3602-e;
    an approved provider of preschool special education services; o any other publicly funded pre-kindergarten program;
    a school serving children in a special act school district as defined in Education Law 4001; or
    certain schools for the education of students with disabilities – an approved private school, a state-supported school subject to the provisions of Education Law
    Article 85, or a state-operated school subject to Education Law Article 87 or 88.


    7. What kind of student data is subject to the confidentiality and security requirements of Education Law §2-d?
    The law applies to personally identifiable information contained in student records of an educational agency listed above. The term “student” refers to any person attending or seeking to enroll in an educational agency, and the term “personally identifiable information” (“PII”) uses the definition provided in FERPA. Under FERPA, personally identifiable information or PII includes, but is not limited to:

    The student’s name;
    The name of the student’s parent or other family members;
    The address of the student or student’s family;
    A personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;
    Other indirect identifiers, such as the student’s date of birth, place of birth, and Mother’s Maiden Name;
    Other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or
    Information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the education record relates.

    8.What kind of student data is not subject to the confidentiality and security requirements of Education Law §2-d?
    The confidentiality and privacy provisions of Education Law §2-d and FERPA extend only to PII, and not to student data that is not personally identifiable. Therefore, de-identified data (e.g., data regarding students that uses random identifiers), aggregated data (e.g., data reported at the school district level) or anonymized data that could not be used to identify a particular student is not considered to be PII and is not within the purview of Education Law §2-d.

    9. What protections are required to be in place if an educational agency contracts with a third-party contractor to provide services and the contract requires the disclosure of PII to the third party contractor?
    Education Law §2-d provides very specific protections for contracts with “third party contractors”, defined as any person or entity, other than an educational agency, that receives student data or teacher or principal data from an educational agency pursuant to a contract or other written agreement for purposes of providing services to such educational agency. The term “third party contractor” also includes an educational partnership organization that receives student and/or teacher or principal APPR data from a school district to carry out its responsibilities pursuant to Education Law §211-e, and a not-for-profit corporation or other non-profit organization, which are not themselves covered by the definition of an “educational agency.”

    Services of a third-party contractor covered under Education Law §2-d include, but not limited to, data management or storage services, conducting studies for or on behalf of the educational agency, or audit or evaluation of publicly funded programs.

    When an educational agency enters into a contract with a third-party contractor, under which the third-party contractor will receive student data, the contract or agreement must include a data security and privacy plan that outlines how all state, federal, and local data security and privacy contract requirements will be implemented over the life of the contract, consistent with the educational agency’s policy on data security and privacy. However, the standards for an educational agency’s policy on data security and privacy must be prescribed in Regulations of the Commissioner that have not yet been promulgated. A signed copy of the Parents’ Bill of Rights must be included, as well as a requirement that any officers or employees of the third-party contractor and its assignees who have access to student data or teacher or principal data have received or will receive training on the federal and state law governing the confidentiality of such data prior to receiving access.

    Each third party contractor that enters into a contract or other written agreement with an educational agency under which the third party contractor will receive student data or teacher or principal data must also comply with additional requirements outlined in Education Law §2-d such as limiting internal access to education records to those individuals that are determined to have legitimate educational interests, not using the education records for any other purposes than those explicitly authorized in its contract; not disclosing any PII to any other party that is not an authorized representative of the third party contractor to the extent they are carrying out the contract (i) without the prior written consent of the parent or eligible student; or (ii) unless required by statute or court order and the party provides a notice of the disclosure to NYSED, district board of education, or institution that provided the information no later than the time the information is disclosed, unless providing notice of the disclosure is expressly prohibited by the statute or court order; maintaining reasonable administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality and integrity of PII in its custody; and using encryption technology to protect data while in motion or in its custody from unauthorized disclosure.

    10. What steps can and must be taken in the event of a breach of confidentiality or security?
    NYSED’s Chief Privacy Officer is authorized to investigate, visit, examine and inspect the third-party contractor’s facilities and records and obtain documentation from, or require the testimony of, any party relating to the alleged improper disclosure of student data or teacher or principal APPR data. Where there is a breach and unauthorized release of PII by a third-party contractor or its assignees, the third-party contractor must notify NYSED of the breach in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay. NYSED must then notify the parents in the most expedient way possible and without unreasonable delay. The law also authorizes the Chief Privacy Officer to impose certain penalties such as a monetary fine; mandatory training regarding federal and state law governing the confidentiality of student data, or teacher or principal APPR data; and preclusion from accessing any student data, or teacher or principal APPR data, from an educational agency for a fixed period up to five years.



    APPENDIX
    Supplemental Information Regarding Third-Party Contractors

    In the course of complying with its obligations under the law and providing educational services to District residents, the Alden Central School District has entered into agreements with certain third-party contractors. Pursuant to these agreements, third-party contractors may have access to "student data" and/or "teacher or principal data," as those terms are defined by law and regulation.

    For each contract or other written agreement that the District enters into with a third-party contractor where the third-party contractor receives student data or teacher or principal data from the District, the following supplemental information will be included with this Bill of Rights:

    The exclusive purposes for which the student data or teacher or principal data will be used by the third-party contractor, as defined in the contract;

    How the third-party contractor will ensure that the subcontractors, or other authorized persons or entities to whom the third-party contractor will disclose the student data or teacher or principal data, if any, will abide by all applicable data protection and security requirements, including but not limited to those outlined in applicable laws and regulations (e.g., FERPA; Education Law Section 2-d);

    The duration of the contract, including the contract’s expiration date, and a description of what will happen to the student data or teacher or principal data upon expiration of the contract or other written agreement (e.g., whether, when, and in what format it will be returned to the District, and/or whether, when, and how the data will be destroyed);

    If and how a parent, student, eligible student, teacher, or principal may challenge the accuracy of the student data or teacher or principal data that is collected;

    Where the student data or teacher or principal data will be stored, described in a manner as to protect data security, and the security protections taken to ensure the data will be protected and data privacy and security risks mitigated; and

    Address how the data will be protected using encryption while in motion and at rest.