Can off-duty police officers or School Resource Officers (SROs) be considered school officials under FERPA and, therefore, have access to students’ education records?
Yes, if certain conditions are met. FERPA (§ 99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)) permits schools to outsource institutional services or functions that involve the disclosure of education records to contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other third parties provided that the outside party:
- Performs an institutional service or function for which the agency or institution would otherwise use employees;
- Is under the direct control of the agency or institution with respect to the use and maintenance of education records;
- Is subject to the requirements in § 99.33(a) that the personally identifiable information (PII) from education records may be used only for the purposes for which the disclosure was made, e.g., to promote school safety and the physical security of students, and governing the redisclosure of PII from education records; and
- Meets the criteria specified in the school or local educational agency’s (LEA’s) annual notification of FERPA rights for being a school official with a legitimate educational interest in the education records.
K-12 School Officials
Postsecondary School Officials
Exceptions - School Official
Law Enforcement Units/School Resource Officers