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Confidentiality and Communication with Family Members

Macalester is committed to access and compliance with all relevant federal and state laws, including section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Self-advocacy skills are crucial to a successful post-secondary experience and your student will need time to develop, practice and fine-tune these abilities. We take a commitment to direct student communication seriously in order to assist them in the  management of self-advocacy as well as honoring their confidentiality rights.  

As a parent or family member, it is also important to understand that the laws that protect students with disabilities are different at the high school vs. post-secondary levels. High schools are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Post-secondary institutions are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which require more specific protections for student learners. 

Macalester students grades, academic records, and work with Disability Services are protected under Family Education Rights and Privacy Act  (FERPA). In addition, some information may be HIPAA or only provided to a student or family member with a student release (e.g., Counseling Services). 

For a parent or guardian to communicate with Disability Services regarding a student’s progress or accommodations, staff must have approval from the student. A parent or family member may provide information to us, but please be aware that we may be limited in our ability to disclose specific information without student permission.  In addition, students must negotiate their accommodations and initiate any complaints or concerns.

Additional information on FERPA can be found on the Registrar’s FERPA Resources Page