Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Law With The Crazy Name… FERPA

For those who don’t know what that stands for, it is Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

According to the US Department of Education,

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.


Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

You got that? Schools cannot divulge any medical information to anyone other than the parent or the student. But is that good? Suppose the parents are anti-LGBTQ and they will do harm to the child?

Conservatives sue school for refusing to out transgender students
One family is worried the school will turn their daughter transgender because her classes meet in a room with LGBTQ posters.
LGBTQ Nation
By Daniel Villarreal
August 8, 2022

The right-leaning group Parents Defending Education (PDE) has sued the Linn-Mar Community School District of Iowa because its policies protect transgender students from transphobic parents and students. PDE supports banning LGBTQ books and curricula about institutional racism from schools. The organization has also previously partnered with the anti-LGBTQ group Moms for Liberty.

The Linn-Mar Community School District allows students (grades seven and up) to create a “gender support plan.” The plan requires school staff, students, and school documents (including ID cards and yearbooks) to address students by their self-assigned name and gender identity. The policy also allows these students to enter the locker room, bathroom facilities, and sports teams matching their gender identities.

These Gladys Kravitz’s want to butt into something that is not their business.
PDE’s lawsuit takes particular issue with part of the policy that withholds details of a student’s gender support plan from a student’s parents, even if they specifically request it. The lawsuit also says that because parents are notified by the school about “lesser matters” like “schoolyard tussles, missing homework, and social events,” the school should notify parents about a kid’s gender identity, otherwise parents won’t be able to properly support their kid.

The lawsuit omits the fact that nearly 50 percent of trans people in the U.S. experienced familial rejection for coming out as trans, something which dramatically increases their likelihood of attempting suicide, becoming addicted to drugs, or experiencing homelessness, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

Once again these conservatives don’t care the harm that this will do to the children, they know what the outcome could be but they don’t care… they just hate anything LGBTQ+.

The lawsuit’s true biases become apparent, however, in a section describing the complaining parents being represented by PDE.

One of the parents has a middle-school-aged child on the autism spectrum and worries that their kid’s “difficulty distinguishing between male and female characteristics” will get them placed on a gender support plan, pressuring them to identify as trans or nonbinary even though the child may not have a firm grasp of what these identities entail.

Another parent mentioned in the lawsuit worries that their “extremely impressionable” daughter will follow the lead of LGBTQ-affirming teachers and queer classmates and start identifying as trans or nonbinary.

Of course they cite the bogus research of Lisa Littman at Brown University.

The lawsuit mentions “research” showing that more teens are identifying as trans due to peer pressure, but it doesn’t actually mention which research it’s referring to. A recent study suggested that worries like this are completely unfounded.

What the lawsuit didn’t mention was that there have been a number other court cases before the Supreme Court such as Troxel v. Granville (2000), Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) but then there are also negative cases, DeShaney v. Winnebago County Social Services where they said that the Constitution doesn't protect kids from their parents.

However, with this far right Christian court it doesn’t look promising.

This is a travel day, I’m heading home for an in-person council meeting at the UConn School of Law Friday. I wish that it was a Zoom meeting like all the others for the last two years. But alas the Zoom gods didn't let allow it.

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