FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of students. It affords parents the right to access and request that their children’s education records be amended, and gives them some control over the disclosure of the information in these records. FERPA generally prevents schools from sharing student records, or personally identifiable information in these records, without the written consent of a parent, except as provided by law.
At WCS we respect student and family privacy, which mean that we never discuss an individual student with a member of the staff, another teacher, or a parent if that individual is not someone who has a legitimate need to know. This is particularly true of any situation involving grades, evaluations, or assessments; student discipline; student health; or aspects of a student’s home or family situation.
Notwithstanding anything in this policy, when a school employee believes that a situation exists which presents a serious threat to the well-being of the student, the employee must notify the student’s parent or guardian without delay, unless the matter has already been reported to DCFS, in which case it is the responsibility of DCFS to notify the student’s parent or guardian of any possible investigation or take other appropriate action.
Notwithstanding anything in this policy, when a school employee believes that a student is at-risk of attempting suicide, physical self-harm, or harming others, the employee may intervene and ask the student questions regarding the student’s suicidal thoughts, physical self-harming behavior, or thoughts of harming others for the purposes of (1) referring the student to appropriate prevention services, and (2) informing the parent or legal guardian.
Physical Contact with Students:
All volunteers should be thoughtful and gentle in any physical contact that they may have with students, both to protect students and themselves. Should a student need to be restrained in order to prevent severe harm to self or others, the School’s Safe Schools Policy and proper practices from training must be followed by staff.
Adults in the school are encouraged to:
- Shake students’ hands,
- Hold students’ hands, as appropriate, to guide a student or engage in a game / activity,
- Give a gentle or reassuring pat on the back,
- Give a squeeze or hug on the side,
- Gently guide a student with hands placed on the shoulders.
Adults in the school are not to:
- Hold children on their laps,
- Give full-body hugs to students,
- Ever touch students in anger or with an intent to coerce,
- Yank or pull on a child,
- Grab, hit, or engage in any physical aggression towards a student.
- Volunteers should avoid being in a room alone with any student with the door closed. If helping a student in bathroom or who is ill, in talking about a sensitive matter with a student, and in other circumstances, doors should be left open and/or other adults should be invited to be present.
I understand that by the virtue of my agreement to volunteer at Wasatch Charter School, I may have access to records which contain individually identifiable information such as a social security number or student identification number, of which the disclosure is prohibited by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). FERPA is a Federal regulation that governs the privacy and disclosure of student records. I acknowledge that I fully understand that no student information is to be released to non-district personnel or third-parties. The intentional disclosure by me of this information violates FERPA policy and could subject me to criminal and civil penalties imposed by law. I further acknowledge that such willful or unauthorized disclosure could constitute just cause for termination of my volunteer services immediately regardless of whether criminal or civil penalties are imposed.
In relation to my observation or volunteer service, I must follow the guidelines outlined above. If my assigned responsibilities include access to student files, data, or information, I will abide by the confidentiality and privacy policies of WCS. I understand that if I have any questions regarding the disclosure of information, I must ask WCS administration prior to sharing any observations or information obtained in the course of my service.