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FOIL-AO-19040

From:   dos.sm.Coog.InetCoog
Sent:    Monday, June 03, 2013 10:24 AM
To:      
Subject:           RE: FOIL

Dear :

            I agree with your conclusion.   The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides parents of minor students with the right to gain access to education records pertaining to their children; concurrently, that law prohibits the disclosure of personally identifiable information to others without the consent of a parent.

            If no student in a class has special needs or is a "significantly disabled student", the information at issue, according to judicial precedent, would be accessible to the public, so long as names of students are deleted, and the list of students scrambled if maintained alphabetically.  By so doing, the identities of students would not become known.  However, since your daughter is the only student in the class with certain unique characteristics, her identity likely would be known to many, even if names are deleted and the list scrambled.

            The federal regulations promulgated pursuant to FERPA define "personally identifiable information" to include not only a student's name or other identifier, but also "Other nformation 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 knowledge of the relevant
circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty."  Although the phrase "relevant circumstances" is vague and undefined, I would conjecture that disclosure of a class profile, absent names of students, would nonetheless enable many to link an IQ score to your daughter.  If that is so, I believe that disclosure would constitute a failure to comply with federal law and that any reference to your daughter should have been redacted prior to disclosure.

            If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to contact me.

            I hope that I have been of assistance.