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Confidentiality and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The ethical codes of the International Association of Counseling Services, the laws of the state of North Carolina, and the federal FERPA legislation guide the counseling policies of the SPCC Student Services Counseling Center. This means that the information you share with your counselor is confidential. College officials, teachers, parents, law enforcement officials, potential employers, and others have no access to any of your records without your written permission. The only exceptions to this rule of confidentiality are the following:

  1. If you are clearly likely to do physical harm to another person in the near future, it is your counselor's duty to warn the person involved. This step would be taken as a last resort and only if absolutely necessary.
  2. If you are clearly likely to do physical harm to yourself in the near future, it is your counselor's duty to contact others. This step would be taken as a last resort and only if absolutely necessary.
  3. If you share information about the abuse or neglect of any juvenile(s) or disabled adult(s), your counselor may be required by state law to report that information to the Department of Social Services.
  4. If ordered to do so by a judge as part of judicial proceedings.

Typically, the only records kept by the school as a result of interactions to assist with academic or scheduling concerns would be on those forms used for admissions, transcript requests, registration, drop-add or withdrawals, and these records are maintained in the student's file at the Registrar's Office in Polkton. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, student records may not be released without the written permission of the student. To submit written permission, complete, print and sign a FERPA Release Form.

Occasionally, students with difficult family, personal, emotional or substance abuse issues may seek assistance from counselors in Student Services; because of the nature of these requests, the counselor may fill out an Incident Report or other documentation regarding the student's interactions with the counselor. This documentation is considered confidential and will not be released to people outside the college without the student's written consent.

For more information regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which governs the handling and confidentiality of student records, you may want to consult the U.S. Government's Web page on this subject, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html