Student Handbook Chapter 3 - Confidentiality
Rules governing disability services
Confidentiality laws prohibit the Center for Accessible Resources (CAR) staff from discussing students' information with anyone, including parents, without written consent. CAR recognizes the constructive role parents and advocates play in encouraging their student to apply for necessary accommodations and allowing the student to take on that responsibility him/herself. Choosing whether or not to obtain disability accommodations is one of the valuable experiences students will gain in college.
Rules governing disability services are different in college than in K-12. Here at Lane Community College (LCC), the entire accommodation process must be student-initiated. The student is responsible for his or her own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. CAR cannot honor requests from parents or advocates.
CAR encourages students to have an open dialogue with their parents/advocates. CAR suggests parents and advocates meet with their student beforehand to:
- Assist the student in becoming a competent self-advocate.
- Ensure the student knows his/her diagnosis and can communicate needs, strengths, interests, and challenges.
- Allow the student to practice stating his/her needs.
Management of Student Disability Information
CAR considers all information regarding a student’s disability diagnosis confidential. Any information CAR receives is used to verify the disability and plan for appropriate accommodations.
Maintaining student disability diagnosis information as confidential does not guarantee a student’s anonymity when receiving accommodations. This means that CAR will only share information with faculty, staff, or in-class service providers on a need to know basis. This information may include a student’s name and accommodations being used.
The following are the policies used by CAR regarding the handling of disability related information:
- All disability verification information for students at LCC is managed by CAR.
- Only authorized personnel working at CAR has access to this information.
- Submitting an online request for accommodations authorizes CAR to notify faculty of the approved accommodations the student will be using in their class.
- The functional impact of a student’s disability may be disclosed to faculty on an educational need to know basis.
- CAR may engage in discussions or consultations with faculty and staff, as needed, in order to effectively implement approved accommodations.
What is FERPA?
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S Department of Education. Here is what FERPA means for parents/advocates:
- All student information will be given directly to the student and not to parents/advocates.
- College representatives are prohibited from discussing information about a student’s academic records with parents/advocates.
- Parents/Advocates do not have access to disability-related records and are not able to sit in on appointments with the Center for Accessible Resources (CAR) without the student’s consent.
A college student can sign a release (FERPA) giving staff permission to share information with parents/advocates with the student present. However, they should know that even if a student signs a release, staff generally only communicate with parents/advocates in the presence of the student. Also, students are required to handle any matters related to the CAR office, including requesting accommodations and reporting issues. We do not work with the parent in place of the student.
FERPA in college can be a big adjustment for students and families. College students are working toward increased independence and responsibility and allowing them to determine who receives their academic information is a part of that growing independence. As with many aspects of the college experience, increased communication between the parent and the student often yields a smoother experience.
Learn more about how FERPA works at LCC on the Release of Student Records webpage.
Here is a PDF explanation of frequently asked questions about FERPA from the Family Policy Compliance Office
What does FERPA mean for college parents/advocates?
Generally, FERPA rules mean at the post-secondary level:
- Student academic information will be given to the student and not to the parents/advocates.
- College representatives are prohibited from discussing information about the student’s academic record with parents/advocates.
- Parents and advocates do not have access to disability-related records unless the student provides express written consent.
- The only exception is in cases where a student is considered a threat to himself or others.
College parents/advocates often feel frustrated by FERPA regulations. They feel they need access to student information. College students are working toward increased independence and responsibility; allowing them to determine who receives their academic information is a part of that growing independence. As with many aspects of the college experience, increased communication between college parents and college students often yield a smoother experience.
Please refer to College Online Policy and Procedure System COPPS for additional information about Access to and Release of Records.
Audio Recording Meetings and Conversations
Meetings and conversations with staff at the Center for Accessible Resources (CAR) are confidential. For this reason it is not permitted to audio record these meetings and/or conversations.