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March 10, 1999

Ms. Paige D. Scherr
Hayes, Coffey & Berry
P.O. Box 50149
Denton, Texas 76206

OR99-0679

Dear Ms. Scherr:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122734.

The Denton Independent School District (the "district"), which you represent, received a request for video tapes from a district school bus. You seek our opinion on the applicability of 20 U.S.C. 1232(g), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), to these records. You have not supplied the responsive information for our review.

In Open Records Decision No. 634 (1995), this office concluded: (1) an educational agency or institution may withhold from public disclosure information that is protected by FERPA and excepted from required public disclosure by sections 552.026 and 552.101 without the necessity of requesting an attorney general decision as to those exceptions, and (2) an educational agency or institution that is state-funded may withhold from public disclosure information that is excepted from required public disclosure by section 552.114 as a "student record," insofar as the "student record" is protected by FERPA, without the necessity of requesting an attorney general decision as to that exception. We remind you that this ruling applies only to "education records" under FERPA. "Education records" are records that

(i) contain information directly related to a student; and

(ii) are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution.

20 U.S.C. 1232g(a)(4)(A). See also Open Records Decision Nos. 462 (1987), 447 (1986).

Information must be withheld from required public disclosure under FERPA only to the extent "reasonable and necessary to avoid personally identifying a particular student." Open Records Decision Nos. 332 (1982), 206 (1978). If you have further questions as to the applicability of FERPA to information that is the subject of an open records request, you may consult with the United States Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office. See Open Records Decision No. 634 (1995).

Sincerely,

Michael Jay Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/ch

Ref:: ID# 122734

cc: Ms. Tabitha Chancellor
Denton Record-Chronicle
P.O. Box 369
Denton, Texas 76202


 

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