Students at White Plains Children's Center have the right to expect that information about them will be kept confidential by all teachers, therapists, outside therapists, volunteers, student interns, practicum students, and student job shadow observers. Additionally, the U.S. Congress has addressed the privacy-related concerns of educators, parents, and students by enacting the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (known more commonly as “FERPA” or the “Buckley Amendment”). Among other provisions, FERPA allows the government to withdraw federal funds from any educational institution which disseminates a student’s education records without his or her parent’s consent.
Each student with whom you work or have contact with has the right to expect that nothing that happens to or about him or her will be repeated to anyone other than authorized school employees (or parents as applicable for therapists). Even when discussing a student with those who are directly involved in a student’s education, such as the teaching team, therapists, or administration, you may not share otherwise confidential information with them unless it is relevant to the student’s educational growth, safety, or well being.
You may not share information about a student even with others who are genuinely interested in the student’s welfare, such as scout leaders, clergy, or nurses/physicians (a grave medical emergency, in which confidential information may be necessary for a student’s care, is the only exception). Thus, you must refer all such questions to the school employees so authorized and indicated to you, typically the student’s teacher or principal. Outside therapists that have been hired by the family to provide a service (speech, feeding, OT, PT, etc.) may, of course, discuss their client's progress with the client's family. However, please be mindful to not discuss other White Plains Children's Center students when sharing this information with the family.
Parents, friends, or community members may in good faith ask you questions about a student’s problems or progress. Again, you must refer all such questions to the authorized school employees. You may not share information about a student even with members of your own family.
Before you speak, always remember that violating a student’s confidentiality isn’t just impolite, it’s against the law.