Hold the phone!! Is SkoolLive interested in obtaining student educational records?

July 26, 2015
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From Jim Metrock:

While looking through a SkoolLive contract with an Arizona school district, I found this disturbing paragraph:

6.17 Student Educational Records. School District’s students’ educational records are protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (“FERPA”). SkoolLive will comply with FERPA and will not access or make any disclosures of student educational records to third parties without prior notice to and consent from School District or as otherwise provided by law.

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Back in my law school days, I remember my Contracts professor emphasizing that everything in a written contract is there for a purpose. 

Every word, sentence, clause, and paragraph in a contract has been discussed, argued about, thought out, and agreed upon. 

So why has SkoolLive put this paragraph, dealing with whether or not their company will disclose educational records, into its contracts with school districts?

I have not read anything in the past to indicate SkoolLive is interested in accessing the educational records of students.  Even if they are interested in the records, I don’t know how they can possibly access them.  I can’t imagine a school superintendent or school board member ever entertaining the wild idea of giving a company like SkoolLive access to students’  educational records.

Yet the paragraph is in the contract, and the paragraph is there because smart people at SkoolLive wanted it there.

Think about it. The last thing SkoolLive would ever want to do is mention anything to do with “FERPA” or “student educational records” unless they  felt the absolute need to do so.  This company does not want to cause any more controversy than it needs to. Parents take student privacy seriously and SkoolLive risks angering parents by even talking about student educational records.

So what is the problem?  SkoolLive appears to be saying they are going to comply with FERPA, and they are not going to  access student educational records, and they are not going to disclose any such records to third parties.

The problem is more apparent when the paragraph is read this way:

SkoolLive will not comply with FERPA
and will access student educational records 
and will make disclosures of student educational records to third parties
after giving prior notice to School District
and after receiving consent from School District.

Two paragraphs saying the same thing.

 If SkoolLive had no possible interest in student educational records they would not have added the words in red:

6.17 Student Educational Records. School District’s students’ educational records are protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (“FERPA”). SkoolLive will comply with FERPA and will not access or make any disclosures of student educational records to third parties without prior notice to and consent from School District or as otherwise provided by law.

 

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