ferpa violation

Students Assigned to Report on Parents’ Drug Use

ferpa violationI received the below letter from a parent of a student at Tooele Junior High School where this took place. The parent has asked to remain anonymous.

UPDATE (7/14/16): Another parent has come forward whose child attends Clarke Johnson Jr High in Tooele who also received this same assignment. Two different schools and teachers in the same district.

I believe these schools have violated state FERPA law 53A-13-302 entitled “Activities prohibited without prior written consent — Validity of consent — Qualifications — Training on implementation.”

Specifically section 1(e) which forbids “(e) critical appraisals of individuals with whom the student or family member has close family relationships;” without the prior written consent of the parents…among other sections. How a teacher thought this was OK is beyond me.

The local school district is supposed to provide training on this and the board is supposed to provide disciplinary action, per the last two statements in this code section.

In the “opt-out law” (line 158) that Senator Aaron Osmond got passed a few years ago, under state law parents are supposed to be notified each year of their rights. I don’t believe that’s happening at any school and it seems like parents need to be notified of their FERPA rights as well.

And now, the letter.


“In 2014 my 8th grader brought home an assignment for his health or science class, I don’t recall which subject. The students were learning about drugs and alcohol and were given a worksheet titled “Parent Interview”.  The students were instructed to interview their parents, write their parents’ answers down and return the worksheet to their teacher. This was a graded assignment.

The worksheet asked questions like “Have you ever used drugs?”, “What age were when you first used a drug or alcohol?”, “What did it make you feel like?”, “How often or how many times did you do drugs?”, and questions of that nature.

I was uncomfortable with the worksheet because I did not think it was any of the school’s business.  My husband and I had already talked to our kids, and continue talking to our kids about drugs and what we expect.  I did not see why the school felt the need to force this discussion and/or get a record of our discussion.  I answered the worksheet so my son will get credit, but I did not answer honestly on all questions.  My son did not like to have to interview me on this topic and turn it in to his teacher.

In the 2015/2016 school year my younger son received the same assignment in 8th grade.  I filled it out again and was not honest with my answers.  Again I felt it was none of the school’s business.   A lot of parents I know in the community were given this same assignment.  Some of them talked about how they just wrote “no” on all the answers and turned it in, or they wrote that they will not fill it out.

I don’t think the school should be putting parents and students in this position, nor should they know or have that kind of information.”

5 thoughts on “Students Assigned to Report on Parents’ Drug Use”

  1. Parents should copy the code you cite, staple it to the assignment with a note..”as i believe this assignment violates state code, my child will not participate nor is he to be penalized in any way for my decision to not particpate”. STAND UP, PARENTS. THIS CONTINUES ONLY IF YOU ALLOW IT!

  2. What is more alarming than the school sending out this survey is the fact that parents actually filled it out. It doesn’t matter that they fudged their responses they should have refused to fill it out and then they should explain to their children why they MUST protect their privacy and their rights. Fudging the responses in order to give the appearance of compliance sends a very wrong message to our children. We need to teach our children to stand up and fight back to preserve our freedoms and our rights.

    1. I completely agree, Karen. A Big problem I see among parents is that they don’t like the system but continue to comply with it.

  3. Please fill out the following survey:

    1. What is your name?
    2. What is your social security number?
    3. What is your address?
    4. What is your age?
    5. What are the ages and genders of all your close relatives?
    6. Lately we have been practicing cursive in class. For 70% of your grade, practice your signature on the following lines below:

    I give Common Core my full permission to distribute any information about me that they please.

    Signed: ___________________

    I sign my soul over to Common Core. We love and respect thee, Great Leader.

    Signed: _____________

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