Personnel got discipline info from child's file

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pnwest, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Attendance records are also part of the school record and reported as such. I really don't think attendance is confidential - our coaches have access to attendance, our central office employees report our attendance to the state, probation dept has access, . . I still don't understand what your family has to do with this issue . . .:dizzy:
     
  2. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Maybe my eyes are just tired and I'm not understanding this well but you keep saying "the parent". Is the parent you or someone else?
     
  3. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Say my child is suspended from his school. I contact personnel and ask for x days off. I do not see why personnel needs to contact my son's principal and ask about the dates of the suspension. I would not want my son's principal knowing that suspending my son caused me to have to take some days off from the same employee he works for. He shouldn't have to think about it.

    If personnel wants proof that I had to take days off for a particular reason, they should ask me to provide the proof.

    I wouldn't get FERPA involved, though. Times are too scary as far as employment goes, and you have to pick your battles. This one doesn't seem like it's worth raising Cain. You're annoyed because your son is having so much trouble, and it's affecting your employment. Keep your eyes focused on the real problem.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Our schools give opt-out forms for directories. No one is placed in the directory unless the parent gives permission.
     
  5. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2011

    My apologies, entirely my mistake regarding the attendance records. I remember reading that now in the directory information exemption.

    I still don't see an exemption for discipline information.

    Thank you for your help.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I was referring specifically to the part that referenced "dates of attendance".
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I think what the personnel department should have done was ask the employee to furnish documentation that the child was suspended.

    They chose sneaky spying instead.
     
  8. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Here's my thoughts:

    First of all, if this parent is you, can you stop referring to yourself in the third person (or is it second?). It's confusing, and causing your point to be lost. Just say "I asked for time off" or "My spouse asked for time off".

    Second, if you or your spouse put on the form that you needed time off for your child's suspension, you have put that information out there. If you didn't want anyone to know, you should have called it personal time. If they then questioned it, you could have furnished written documentation of your child's absence from school.

    Third, who suspended the child? Wouldn't that be the principal? So since the P is already privy to that information, why would it matter if he told the personnel department that yes, indeed, a parent will need time off to stay with the child?

    Fourth, I think you should give your principal a little more credit. To think that he won't help your child now that the child has been suspended is a bit much. Likely, you are not the first family that personnel has contacted him about.

    Fifth, if personnel has made this a practice around your school, it likely means that there is reason to-not necessarily with YOU (or your spouse), but maybe others. They would need to treat everyone equitably, so if Joe down the hall is calling in with bogus reasons for absence, then they might have to check up on everyone.

    Bottom line: if you (or your spouse) had not listed the suspension as reason for needing time off, how would they have known to call the principal?
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I agree with kcjo! (on all 5 points--especially number one!)
     
  10. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Sorry for using the word parent. I must be in privacy mode. I am the parent.

    It's a big deal to my family. Spouse and I have anguished over the position this puts us in and haven't hardly been able to sleep.

    I'm pretty sure it's illegal and for good reason. We though it stunk before we even heard of FERPA. No parent should have to navigate this road and make these considerations.

    We just want this employment practice to stop. We think it is a clear violation of FERPA. We don't want anyone to be fired.

    We have taken our concerns before the district officials who have stated that they have investigated and are doing nothing wrong. They claim exemption under FERPA but won't quote the passage containing the exemption when asked.

    That fact alone and the nature in which they express it show us that they don't value our child's or their employee's privacy.

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts and am considering them greatly whether I agree or disagree.

    We don't want to get anyone fired. In this case our damages could be worse. Economic times ARE tough, especially in the employment sector.

    What if my spouse get's fired because of these illegal actions in the future? What about the other 1,000 plus employees in the district and their precarious employment situation?

    All employment issues aside, we keep coming back to asking ourselves: What is best for the children?

    FERPA's sole purpose is to protect the children. Whether you like FERPA or not, it is the law and should be followed.

    Regardless of FERPA, how hard would it be to change their personnel procedures in order to avoid these types of situations?

    There are quite a few private companies that seem to get by reasonably well without the ability to access student records. Why should they?
     
  11. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Feb 23, 2011

    I am sorry. I am not trying to downplay your feelings, but this to me is not a big deal. Most schools make their employees show why they are out of school. I have had to supply funeral pamphlets, doctor's notes, and even a show order to prove my family was at a national show for livestock.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 23, 2011

    There are certain things worth fighting for. In the grand scheme of things, this does not seem to be one of those things, at least based on what has been described here. I think you need to let this one go.
     
  13. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2011

    All good points kcjo13. I appreciate you bringing them up. And all of the other help here as well. No matter how many times I read FERPA I don't see an exemption for these types of actions. Not anything remotely close.

    They should have requested it from the parent instead of breaking the law. Sneaky is one thing, violation of federal law is another. All FERPA and child issues aside, one has to wonder what EMPLOYEE privacy laws are being broken if this is how they interpret FERPA.

    The Principal doesn't need to be left with the impression that the Parent is under investigation for any reason. Whether that impression is left should not even have to be argued, we think the practice is against the law.

    We'll probably never know. I hope you're right, but I shouldn't have to wonder. We are borderline already with multiple discipline instances. The principal has really gone above and beyond. We didn't think the child would be allowed back in school from this last suspension before all of this happened. We've never complained to the school about anything. We've always given the benefit of the doubt to the educators. We used to be proud of our school.

    This is a regular practice of the district personnel department which supervises 1,000+ employees. They say they do it to prevent the child's parent from lying about it on the form. It doesn't matter if they apply this illegal practice fairly or not, it is illegal. Well, the act of the principal disclosing the information when personnel calls is illegal we think. But we don't think the problem is with the Principal. If my boss called and asked me for information I would give it to them and not ask too many questions. The principal may have innocently assumed that Personnel had a real reason. I'm operating under the assumption that the Principal is the gatekeeper of the student record and should have asked personnel if they were seeking the information for an educational purpose. Regardless if it was the boss or not.

    Besides our contention that the exchange between the personnel department and the Principal is illegal, they could have just asked for the parent copy of the form. That's what the other 99% of the other employers do.

    We value all input and are having some honest discussions as a result. That's why we present this in an educator's forum as parents. We're angry and don't want to do something stupid. If we haven't already done damage.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 23, 2011

    If this bothers you so much, file a complaint against the administrator with the central office. Arguing about it here isn't going to do you any good. Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.
     
  15. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Those are all reasonable requests I feel. All they had to do was ask us. There is certainly no need to unlawfully use the child's confidential school record to EVEN POSSIBLY take money away from the child's family. Or is that somehow in the best interest of the child?
     
  16. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Thanks Caesar, we've already done that to no avail.
     
  17. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Please think twice about rocking the boat. Yes, I agree that they shouldn't have done that. But don't rock so hard that you end up in the water without a job and having to fight this battle in court. It's way too hard as it is to keep employed in education. Districts are looking for anything that will cut the labor force.
     
  18. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Just answer one question for me-how did the personnel department know to call the principal? What gave them the idea that your child had been suspended?
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 23, 2011

    Wait. Where did money come into this? Does this have to do with the need to take time off/use of personal days? The only time I've seen money deducted is when someone has used up ALL their personal and banked sick days...and even then, there's leeway for real emergencies... Is that what this is about?

    Pn...we are professional educators, not lawyers. You have been given a lot of thoughts on how this situation could have been better handled, you've read of how asking for documentation for leave is not out of the norm, we've shared thoughts about how since this was a 'within district' situation that it 'feels ' different (at least for us) than if this was an outside entity calling for the same info...seems as if this situation is on the heels of a difficult period with your child's school experience...all of it leaves questions in our minds as in yours, I'm sure. We are not your judge and jury...nor should we be your counsel...since this conversation was your only conversation on these threads, it makes it even harder to get a 'handle' on the whole picture...I wish you and your family peace...and I wish for nothing but the best learning experience for your child...that is where you should perhaps focus your energies...outside of this current distraction... Good luck to you. :angel:
     
  20. pnwest

    pnwest Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2011

    We appreciate everyone's input. We've gotten some really good feedback that has caused some deep discussion between us. Thank you.
     

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