Case name: Letter to: Anonymous parents (FPCO 12/08/11).

Ruling: The Family Policy Compliance Office concluded that a school district did not violate the complainants’ rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act because the grade they sought to amend in their child’s education records was accurately recorded.

What it means: FERPA’s right to amend gives parents and eligible students the opportunity to seek amendment of education records that they believe contain inaccurate or misleading information. If the request is denied, the educational institution must advise the parents or eligible student that they have a right to a hearing. Finally, if after the hearing the educational agency or institution refuses to amend the education record, the parents or eligible student have the right to insert a statement in the record that must remain with it for as long as it is maintained by the agency or institution.

Summary: The FPCO replied to a complaint filed by the parents of a student who was enrolled in a K–12 school. The parents alleged that the school district violated their rights under FERPA because it failed to amend the grade for a test taken by their child. They also claimed that the school refused to remove the results of an IQ test administered to their child without their authorization.

The FPCO explained that although FERPA affords parents the right to seek to amend education records that contain inaccurate information, this right cannot be used to challenge a grade, an individual’s opinion, or a substantive decision. The agency noted that the grade they sought to amend had been accurately recorded by the school.

With respect to the IQ test allegedly administered without the parents’ consent, the FPCO explained that FERPA does not generally restrict a school from creating records. But it does provide certain protections as discussed above to education records. The agency recommended that the parents contact their state department of education for assistance in the matter.