The PPRA and the Rights of Students and Parents

The PPRA and the Rights of Students and Parents

The Parents Rights under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment or PPRA affords parents and students who are either 18 or classified as emancipated minors certain rights in relation to the conduction of surveys, the collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. The amendment seeks to ensure that schools and contractors make certain information and materials accessible to parents, if such information or materials will be used in connection with Department of Education or ED funded surveys, analyses, and evaluations in which their children may participate.

What’s more, the PPRA also seeks to ensure that schools and contractors obtain parental consent prior to requiring minor students to participate in any ED-funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that would ask them to reveal or confirm any of the following personal information:

The PPRA also seeks to ensure that parents receive both the notice and opportunity to opt a student out of any of the following:

Under the PPRA, parents and guardians have the right to inspect, upon request, prior to the administration or use of the following information or materials:

Who does the PPRA apply to?

The PPRA applies to all educators and school counselors, as well as most instructional materials that may be used in a given classroom, irrespective of the formatting of these materials. The only exception to this rule is academic tests, as this issue was tried in court in the state of Kentucky after parents insisted on viewing academic state tests in advance. In Triplett v. Livingston County Board of Education, KY Court of Appeals, 1997, the court stated, “Parents do not have the right to opt-out of state tests, since none of the questions of those tests would trigger the protections of the PPRA.”

How do school administrators and educators maintain PPRA compliance?

To maintain PPRA compliance, school administrators and educators are advised to reflect on the following considerations:

The PPRA seeks to provide parents and students alike with some modicum of protection in relation to the personal information that students may divulge in relation to surveys. While students are legally adults after they reach the age of 18, the vast majority will still be dependent upon their parents in some form or fashion. As such, legislation such as the PPRA is needed to ensure that the rights of these students are not violated. With the PPRA, parents can rest assured that their children will not have to answer any survey questions without first granting consent to their applicable school district.

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