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Understanding the New FERPA Guidance for School Security Staff from the U.S. Department of Education

Event Date: March 27, 2019


  • Madeline Sullivan, U.S. Department of Education’s (the Department) Office of Safe and Supportive Schools (OSSS);
  • Michael Hawes, the Department's Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPD), Student Privacy Policy Office; and
  • Janelle W. Hughes, REMS TA Center.



Responding to the recommendations put forth by the Federal Commission on School Safety (Commission), which is chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the Department’s OSSS, formerly known as the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, partnered with the Student Privacy Policy Office within the Department's OPEPD and collaborated with its REMS TA Center to host the Understanding the NEW FERPA Guidance for School Security Staff Webinar.

Held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, this one-hour Webinar included a description of FERPA; provided considerations for properly sharing information with partners to protect the school community; presented the more commonly posed questions with responses and examples; and discussed the importance of understanding FERPA when developing comprehensive school emergency operations plans (EOPs). Michael Hawes, Director of the Department’s Student Privacy Policy Office, joined the Webinar to provide an overview of School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the recently released technical assistance document that answers commonly asked questions to "explain and clarify how FERPA protects student privacy while ensuring the health and safety of students and others in the school community." The presentation concluded with a Question and Answer session and was followed by a Web Chat.

While the live Webinar offered opportunities to respond to individual and unique questions from stakeholders and practitioners, the archived Webinar serves as a complementary resource to the new FAQ document, helping to ensure school safety partners and planners understand how the law applies to their work protecting school communities.