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Reporter’s Guide to FERPA
Navigating the Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act

Ever have a tough time getting public records from schools or universities? We feel your pain and are here to help you. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act has been twisted beyond recognition, keeping school lunch menus, graduation honors and athletic travel records secret. Take back your right to information. This guide was produced in 2010 by the Society of Professional Journalists in conjunction with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to help journalists and citizens understand their rights to education records and not allow school officials to hide important public information while still protecting legitimate student privacy.

About this project
This guide was produced by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom of Information Committee in 2010 for national Sunshine Week to aid reporters and citizens acquire school records they are legally entitled to while still protecting student privacy. The project was led by Carolyn Carlson, a former national SPJ president and a journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Contributors included Charles Davis, David Chartrand, Sonny Albarado, and Jodi Cleesattle. Also, some of the information is courtesy of Georgia Public Schools and the Open Records Act: A Citizen’s Guide to Accessing School Records, which was sponsored by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, Inc., the Georgia Department of Law, the Georgia Parent Teacher Association and the Georgia Press Association. The Georgia First Amendment Foundation received funding for the booklet from the Georgia Bar Foundation and the National Freedom of Information Coalition through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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