Does FERPA permit school officials to release information that they personally observed or of which they have personal knowledge?

FERPA applies to the disclosure of education records and of personally identifiable information (PII) from education records that are maintained by the school.  Therefore, FERPA does not prohibit a school official from releasing information about a student that was obtained through the school official’s personal knowledge or observation, rather than from the student’s education records.  For example, if a teacher overhears a student making threatening remarks to other students, FERPA does not protect that information from disclosure.  Therefore, a school official may disclose what he or she overheard to appropriate authorities, including disclosing the information to local law enforcement officials, school officials, and parents.

K-12 School Officials
Postsecondary School Officials
Parent and Eligible Student Rights