School Committee Mulls Changes to Student Records Policy

Haverhill School Committee President Scott W. Wood.

The Haverhill School Committee is expected Thursday night to continue a discussion over their responsibilities to protect confidential student information.

On the meeting agenda, committee President Scott W. Wood is requesting a discussion of proposed revisions to the committee’s policies regarding student records. No new details were released as part of the committee’s agenda materials. Last month, members agreed to ask City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. to brief the committee about how student records should be treated and under what circumstances information may be released. The school department’s responsibilities are detailed in the 1974 federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and similar state regulations.

During their May 14 meeting, Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti revealed a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education naming two Haverhill High School students and their class rankings. He did not say where the names were listed, but said the school committee became aware of the complaint March 6. He said the release of names was neither authorized by students nor their parents. He said he also received an email just before the meeting suggesting parents had been denied access to their child’s disciplinary report

Also on an otherwise routine school committee agenda, members are being asked to accept private donations to the special education department, including a total $820 from individuals and “concerned parents” to benefit the “Friends of the Whittier MSSP Classroom” at J. G. Whittier Middle School.

A donation of a “BestStand stand assist power lifter,” valued at $4,024, was made by Haverhill residents Allan and Patricia Paduano in the name of Pauline Marie Pare. It is a hydraulic device used to help lift people from seated positions. “It is a wonderful testament to her love of children that you have chosen to honor her memory in this special way,” Special Education Services Director Theresa J. Senio said in a letter to the Paduanos.

The Haverhill school committee meets at 7 p.m., Thursday, in city council chambers at Haverhill City Hall.