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Annual Parent Notices — Are You in Compliance?

Now that the 2010/2011 school year has ended, school districts and county offices of education have turned their attention to the 2011/2012 school year. One issue to be addressed prior to the start of the year is the annual parental notice.

As set forth in the California Education Code1 and the United States Code of Federal Regulations2, school districts are required to provide parents with a host of information. Failure to do so could result in varying degrees of liability.

This year, there is one confirmed change and one proposed change in the law that affects the contents of the parental notice.

Enacted Legislation

  • In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education updated its Notice of Non-Discrimination guideline to include a provision relating to the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. Local educational agencies (“LEAs”) must add language to their parental notification which states that the LEA provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

Proposed Legislation

  • If enacted as proposed, one FERPA amendment would allow school districts to designate student identification cards/badges as directory information. The amendment would permit the release of the information contained on the cards/badges even if a parent (or eligible student) opted out of the release of directory information.

In addition to modifying the content of the parental notice, there are several proposed FERPA changes that have the potential to weaken the protections afforded to student information. We are monitoring the status of the Department of Education’s proposed amendments to FERPA and will keep you informed of relevant updates. Because a violation of FERPA could result in a loss of federal funding, this is an important issue that should not be overlooked. If your agency has questions about the proposed statutory changes or would like our office to review or draft a parental notice, we invite you to contact us.

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1 The applicable laws include, by way of illustration and not limitation, Education Code §§ 48980, 32225, 32390, 35291, 46013, 48205, 48206.3, 48207, 48208, 49403, 49423, 49451, 49472, 49520, and 56000 – 56875.

2 34 C.F.R. §99.37(a)

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