The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) takes the confidentiality of information about you and your children seriously. There are several laws and regulations that create protections for you and your children with respect to “personally identifiable information” (PII), and also give you certain rights. These laws also place responsibilities on the NYC DOE and other parties that are given access to your children’s PII. Below are descriptions of these various laws, regulations, rights and responsibilities, along with links to important information you should know about, including notifications of various rights that you hold concerning you and your children’s PII. (If you are a student who is age 18 or older, the information shared below about “your child” in fact pertain to you directly. The rights described below belong to you directly.)
Chancellor’s Regulation A-820
The NYC DOE has adopted Chancellor’s Regulation A-820, which lays out your rights and the NYC DOE’s responsibilities concerning your education records.
2020-2021 Annual FERPA Notification
You also have rights under federal law regarding your child’s education records, thanks to a law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).
Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security, and Information about Written Agreements
State law gives you several rights with respect to your child’s PII.
NYCDOE Third Party Contractors must agree to the Parents’ Bill of rights for Data Privacy and Security in their written agreements with the NYCDOE. As part of this, they provide the NYCDOE with supplemental information concerning their data privacy and security practices. This information is available to you on the Supplemental Information for Parents About DOE Agreements With Outside Entities page. Please note that compilation of this information is ongoing. It will be made available to you on a rolling basis.
How to Request Amendment of Education Records
You have the right to request that your child’s education records be amended, whether held at your child’s school, elsewhere within the NYC DOE, or if held by an outside entity on behalf of the NYC DOE. This right applies when you believe the record to be inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise in violation of your child’s right to privacy. To learn how to request amendment of education records held directly by the NYC DOE, please see section V of Chancellor’s Regulation A-820.
If you wish to request amendment of education records held by outside entities to whom the NYC DOE disclosed them pursuant to a written agreement, please send your request in writing (which may include by email) to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Chief Privacy Officer, New York City Department of Education, 52 Chambers St., New York NY 10007. Please be sure that your request includes the following details:
- Your child’s name, date of birth student identification number (if known) and school or program;
- Your name and your relationship to the child;
- A description of the information you believe to be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of your child’s right to privacy;
- If known, the outside entities to whom you believe the NYC DOE has disclosed the information; and
- The remedy or solution you are seeking.
Receipt of your request will be acknowledged within five business days. You will be provided with a determination within 15 business days of receipt. If your request is denied in whole or in part, you will be provided with notice of your right to appeal and to request a hearing. The appeal and proceeding will follow the procedures described in section V of Chancellor’s Regulation A-820.
How to Make a Complaint about Data Privacy Violations
Under the state education law, parents, guardians and adult students have the right to submit complaints about suspected or alleged breaches or unauthorized releases of their child’s PII. Complaints should be submitted in writing (which can include an email) to email@example.com to the attention of the Chief Privacy Officer, Room 308, New York City Department of Education, 52 Chambers Street, New York NY 10007.
Receipt of your inquiry will be acknowledged in writing (which can include an email) within five business days. An investigation into your complaint will be undertaken, and necessary precautions will be taken to protect the confidentiality of the information you provide. Your personal information will only be disclosed to the extent necessary to conduct the investigation. This may include referral of your complaint to the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District (NYC SCI), for it to conduct its own investigation. It will also include notice to the New York State Education Department, as required by law.
In general, you will be provided with findings of the NYC DOE’s investigation into your complaint within a reasonable period of time. However, if more than 60 calendar days from the date receipt is needed to complete the investigation, you will be provided with a written explanation for why more time is needed, including the approximate date by which the NYC DOE expects to respond to it. Reasons why additional time may be needed include, but are not limited to, when the response might compromise the security of DOE data or its applications or data systems, or if the response would impede any law enforcement investigation, including ones conducted by NYC SCI.
N.Y. Education Law 2-d Information about Third Party Contractors
N.Y. law also places certain requirements on “third party contractors” with whom the NYC DOE shares your information. These “third party contractors” include any outside entity to whom the NYC DOE has disclosed PII for lawful purposes. This may be because the entity is performing services or functions for the DOE, or is conducting approved educational research.
New York State Education Department Privacy and Data Security Resources
The New York State Education Department has additional information for you regarding the rights of your children regarding PII under New York state’s Education Law.