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FERPA at Heart of Firing

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN PRIVACY—U.S.

February 1, 2010

In a case that raises interesting questions about the ethical duties of privacy professionals, a recently fired Department of Education employee says he is seeking an administrative review of his January 15 dismissal, reports Inside Higher Ed. Paul Gammill, former director of the department's Family Policy Compliance Center, says he was dismissed because his superiors didn't like what he had to say about the agency's plans to share students' educational records. Specifically, Gammill told officials that the department's intentions related to states' longitudinal student data systems would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the report states. "While I'm an advocate of data systems, it's my job to administer FERPA, and they didn't like what I had to say," Gammill says.
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