Public sector organizations include schools for students of all ages. Thus, they must capture and store student information and communication in all forms.
This includes email, text messages, instant messages, and social media. Perhaps, they fail to secure this information and related records. If so, it leaves institutions vulnerable to fines and/or loss of funding.
Demands of Records Management
Records management is a complex endeavor. In reality, it demands a dedicated, full-time department. It requires subsequent destruction of information when it’s reached the end of its intended use.
Perhaps, it must be destroyed for other reasons. Actually, not all student records are maintained solely in digital form. In truth, many documents are still generated and maintained in hard copy.
As such, they are subject to a privacy breach or identity theft. Both, are major concerns these days. In reality, schools are a favorite target of identity thieves.
What FERPA Means to Educational Institutions
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates access to all educational information and records. It was enacted in 1974. FERPA maintains strict guidelines on data destruction.
This includes document shredding and the equipment and knowledge required to follow through. In FERPA’s early days, records retention was nearly 100 percent physical.
Schools store mountains of student data in file cabinets or basement archives. They maintain these records for a specific time period. Yet, this is not indefinitely.
The data must eventually be destroyed. Document destruction on that scale requires a strategic and diligent approach.
Identity thieves steal students’ names, addresses, and social security numbers to commit fraud. This happens to millions of people every year. Shredding these documents foils a thief’s plan.
It might not seem that beneficial at first glance. However, shredding documents goes a long way in freeing up space throughout a school. It reduces clutter and increases efficient operations. It is easier to be productive in an organized space absent piles of old paperwork.
Your Florida school’s document shredding program helps prevent identity theft. Also, it’s a vehicle to maintain the institution’s reputation for integrity and student well-being.
It’s not good if student records are breached and that information used in mass identity theft. It’s more than a serious blow to the school’s standing. Parents and the press would question it.
Then, they’ll hover about school administration until the matter was resolved. Even then, once trust is lost it takes a long time to retrieve it.
All modern educational institutions should ensure an adequate document shredding program. It needs to be in place to protect secure information and maintain their reputation.