Fairfax County Public Schools FERPA Violations

FERPA Violation Report Card: Fairfax County Public Schools

FCPS has been breaching the privacy of staff and students for years.

This article details FCPS FERPA violations between 2017 and 2021. It includes breaches FCPS inadvertently provided to me, breaches related to my own family (and about which I filed state complaints), breaches other FCPS families shared with me, as well as the hacking of FCPS that occurred in 2020.

Fairfax County Public Schools Continues to Violate FERPA; FCPS Released Personally-Identifiable Information for 110 More Students

Fairfax County Public Schools continues its longstanding noncompliance of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulations by once again failing to maintain the security of personally identifiable information related to students.

This time, it released unredacted records for the 2022-23 math and reading SOL records for 74 students and the reading records for 36 students.

Fairfax County Public Schools Trains Staff to Thwart FERPA Requests: Don’t Put it in Writing

Fairfax County Public Schools has a history of training staff to take actions that prevent information being obtained via Freedom of Information Act and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requests.

Under FERPA, parents have the right to inspect their children’s education records. However, if there’s nothing in writing, there’s nothing to inspect.

FCPS at Fault for Two More Privacy Breaches; Released Mental Health Information About Almost 60 Thomas Jefferson High School Students

October 8th and 28th of 2021, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) again breached the privacy of its students, to include sharing mental health-related information for about 60 Thomas Jefferson High School students.

Fairfax County Public Schools Found in Violation of FERPA; Virginia Department of Education Refuses to Find FCPS at Fault for Systemic Noncompliance

November 26, 2021, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) was found in noncompliance of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

VDOE concluded that that the legal invoices at the core of the investigation, which contain personally identifiable information (PII) about children, “are maintained by the school division, therefore they are education records under FERPA and this matter is within our jurisdiction.” In addition, VDOE rejected the following argument posed by FCPS, thus acknowledging that initials constitute PII:

“Under the definition of PII, information is PII if it is possible to identify a student with reasonable certainty. In this case, students E1 and E2 have a different last name as the parent, and so the disclosure of parent name does not make the students identifiable.”

Although VDOE determined the matter in its jurisdiction and once again found FCPS noncompliance, VDOE refused to place weight on the thousands of students whose privacy FCPS has breached over the past five years, and did not “characterize” FCPS’s noncompliance as systemic.

FCPS OSEPS history of breaches

FCPS Office of Special Education Procedural Support Has a History of Privacy Breaches

Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Special Education Procedural Support has a history of failing to secure confidential information about children, to the point that one could say privacy breaches are an area in which FCPS OSEPS excels.

Virginia is for lovers and breaches of children's privacy

Virginia Isn’t Just For Lovers; Virginia Is For Breaches Of Children’s Privacy, Too

Virginia Has a History of Breaching the Privacy of Children

For the second time in as many years, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (VDBHDS) has breached the privacy of children.

October 6, 2021, just one day before the VDBHDS breach, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced that it is opening an investigation into Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), focused on systemic privacy violations.

Fairfax County Public Schools Violated Privacy of Chesterbrook ES Student and Family

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is at fault for another FERPA violation, this time for a Chesterbrook Elementary School student and family.

The document is a student’s care card, which (depending on the student) can include sensitive information such as medical issues, prescription medications, medical professionals the child is seeing, and so on.

But Wait, There’s More: FERPA Violations at FCPS Continue

July 14, 2021, I published the article “Fairfax County Public Schools Breaches Privacy of Thousands of Students; FERPA Noncompliance Continues”, which details Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) failure to keep thousands of students’ privacy secure.

I found one more breach.


Fairfax County Public Schools Breaches Privacy of Thousands of Students; FERPA Noncompliance Continues

June 29, 2021, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) breached the privacy of thousands of students attending South County High School, Hayfield Secondary School, Edison High School, West Potomac High School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, and FCPS Online Campus.

The breach includes the students’ names, their FCPS identification numbers, their FCPS email addresses, the schools at which they are enrolled, the names of their parents and/or guardians, and the email addresses of their parents and/or guardians.

The Perfect Storm: FCPS Video Features FERPA Violations, Teacher Training Issues, Fidelity of Implementation Problems, and Possible IEP Noncompliance

November 5, 2020, Fairfax County Public Schools again violated student privacy and again exhibited issues related to teacher training, a reading-related program, fidelity of implementation of a reading-related program, and possible noncompliance of student IEPs.

These issues occurred during an office hour session with FCPS’s Alice Lima-Whitney, during which she and the staff in attendance discussed the program iLit and how the teachers were progressing with their students.

U.S. Dept. of Education’s Student Privacy Policy Office Rules FCPS at Fault for Privacy Breach

June 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) issued a letter finding Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in noncompliance for another privacy breach. The letter was issued in response to a complaint filed in 2019.