I am involved in a FERPA vs. Public Records issue at our local high school that brings up some interesting issues for educators and policymakers. Although I normally would not ask, I would appreciate advice. I've looked everywhere and cannot find a source to put this issue to bed.
I first made my request and was denied so I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request two weeks ago. I received a denial letter today.
The records I am trying to get copies of are the high school swim team's meet results which including meet, swimmer's name, swimmer's event and swimmer's time. The school claims meet results are part of the student's pupil record, also known as an education record. FERPA guarantees pupil records remain private except in certain circumstances. Parents must be asked permission each time pupil records access is requested. A log must be kept. FERPA also guarantees education records of personally identifiable information will not be disclosed (with few exceptions). Schools also maintain another set of data called Directory Information this can be disclosed as the school desires, but once again, sports scores are not included in this list.
None of this makes any sense. Media and others routinely request scores. Most schools automatically send sports scores without formal request. I cannot find any record at any school that considers swim meet results part of a pupil's record. Our school regularly release track results to an online parent-run track and field database, also without formal request.
I believe public high schools sports scores are part of the public record and have nothing to do with a student's pupil record. However there are parents and some educators who I believe are over-reacting and have forgotten they in a public school environment. And yes this is a very red California county!
Is there an information source I can turn to for helping resolve this question?