If you reveal personal information about someone without their consent, you could be violating their privacy.
Your Guide to FERPA
FERPA is a law designed to protect the privacy of students. While it seems simple, how and when this law applies can be a little complicated.See our response
Does reporting on a student's suicide violate privacy?
A family likely cannot get the principal to remove the story due to the legal reason of invasion of privacy. However, as journalists, ethically, you should consider the feelings of the family in your publication, and treat the issue with respect, focusing on the life of the student, rather than their death.See our response
Can school administrators take my phone and go through my personal information on my phone?
No, school administrators do not have the right to search a student’s phone if a student is caught using their phone during class, even if that student protests its taking.See our response
Can the school search our lockers and backpacks to look for drugs? Can they search our lockers and backpacks for no reason?
Students have a privacy right in their personal belongings, such as backpacks, and school officials must have “reasonable suspicion” before searching a student’s items. But lockers are owned by the school, so the school can search those without having “reasonable suspicion.”See our response
Is using a transgender student's preferred name instead of her given name in a school publication an invasion of privacy?
A student at my school recently announced that he is transgender and wishes to be called “Allen” rather than his given name, “April.” I interviewed him for an article for our school newspaper about the school’s theater club and up-coming school play, using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his,’ and Allen’s preferred name. My advisor and other writers on the paper are worried about publishing the article with Allen’s preferred name rather than his given name. Should they be worried? Is there a privacy issue here?See our response
Does my article about a special education student violate FERPA?
I teach high school journalism. One of my journalists published a story in the school newspaper about students who serve as mentors to special education students. The article featured a picture of two special education students with quotes about the program and a headline that used the word “disability.” A parent complained about the article, saying it was stigmatizing. Did my journalism student violate FERPA when he published the article with that headline?See our response