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Like FERPA, PPRA applies to education agencies and institutions that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education.30 With respect to confidentiality of education records, PPRA protects the rights of parents and students by requiring that schools obtain written parental consent before minor students participate in any Department of Education-funded survey or evaluation that reveals personal information about students, including:

  • Political affiliations
  • Mental and psychological problems potentially embarrassing to the student and his/her family;
  • Sexual behavior and attitudes;
  • Illegal, antisocial, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior;
  • Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
  • Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
  • Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; and
  • Income other than what is required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program.
PPRA does not require that parents be given copies of surveys; however, they must be able inspect surveys, evaluations or related instructional materials.31

For more information on PPRA, please contact:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202–5901
(202) 260–3887 (phone)
(202) 260–9001 (fax)
FERPA@ed.gov (email)
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ppra/index.html (website) External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website


IDEA is a federal law first enacted in 1975, which has been amended and reauthorized numerous times.32 IDEA provides federal funding to states to ensure that children with disabilities receive a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment possible. While certain criteria must be met for special education services administered in public schools, IDEA does provide states with some room for variations in their local policies. Under the Act, parents and families of children with special education needs have specific rights including the right to inspect the child's school records. Records pertaining to special education students are subject to the same FERPA requirements as all other education records.

For more information on IDEA:

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U.S. Dept. of Education
400 Maryland Ave, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-7100
www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website


The McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures that homeless children and youth have access to a public education.33 Under the Act, children and youth who are homeless can remain at their school of origin even if they are moved outside that school district’s boundaries. The Act also allows children to immediately enroll in a new school, even if required documentation such as immunization records, birth certificates, or guardianship documentation is not readily available. Under McKinney-Vento, the confidentiality provisions of FERPA are extended to records regarding a homeless child or youth,34 such as immunization or medical records, academic records, birth certificates, guardianship records, and evaluations for special services or programs.

The Definition of a Homeless Child or Youth

The term "homeless" is broadly defined by the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act. Under the Act, "homeless children and youth" refers to those who "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence" and:
  • are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, etc.;
  • are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
  • are living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • are abandoned in hospitals;
  • are awaiting foster care placement;
  • have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  • who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; or
  • are considered migratory children.35
For more information on the McKinney Vento Homelessness Assistance Act, contact:

Connecticut Department of Education
Division of Family & Student Support Services
25 Industrial Park Road
Middletown, CT 06457
Phone: (860) 807-2058
Fax: (860) 807-2127
http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&q=320796&sdePNavCtr=|45493|#45543 External Link – You are leaving the CT Judicial Branch website



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