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585 Policy: Student Surveys

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585 Policy: Student Surveys

Continue to Guideline 585.1: Student Surveys


The purpose of this policy is to establish the parameters related to student surveys conducted in Richfield Public Schools.


The school district may conduct surveys of students to support schools, school district improvement and student engagement.  Surveys conducted in Richfield Public Schools must follow the defined approval process.  The school district will follow applicable federal regulations in conducting any survey of students that is a part of any program funded through the United States Department of Education.  The school district will not impose an academic or other penalty upon a student who opts out of participating in a survey.  


A. Confidential Data means data about a person that is accessible only to representatives of the school district who have a need to know the information in order to do their jobs.  Confidential data is not available to the data subject.

B. Student survey for the purpose of this policy means student surveys conducted by the school district, implemented across multiple buildings and/or multiple grade levels.

C. Student survey for the purpose of this policy does not mean surveys conducted at one grade level, one class level, or by student groups.


A. Student surveys will be conducted anonymously and in an indiscernible fashion.  No mechanism will be used for identifying the participating student in any way.  No attempt will be made in any way to identify a student survey participant.  No requirement that the student return the survey shall exist, and no record of the student’s returning a survey will be maintained.

B. The superintendent may choose not to approve any survey that seeks probing personal and/or sensitive information that could result in identifying the survey participant, or is discriminatory in nature based on age, race, color, sex, disability, religion, or national origin.

C. Although the survey is conducted anonymously, potential exists for personally identifiable information to be provided in response thereto.  To the extent that personally identifiable information of a student is contained in his or her responses to a survey, the school district will take appropriate steps to ensure the data is protected in accordance with Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and 34 C.F.R. Part 99.

D. Inspection
The school district will make all instructional materials available for inspection by students, parents, or guardians.   

E. The school district will notify parents about student surveys using a variety of methods that may include (i.e. website, email, blackboard notification) to be administered during the school year with sufficient time, a least two weeks in advance of the survey, to allow for parental review as defined in this policy.  The notice will include the grade levels to be surveyed, the purpose of the survey, the opt-out process, and a way for parents to review all questions in the survey. 

F. The school district will provide survey information and the opt-out form on the school district website. 

G. The school district will maintain the survey results as confidential data on the students and will report the survey results in a way that does not allow for identification of individual student results.

H. The school district must not impose an academic or other penalty on a student who opts out of participating in a student survey.


A. Student surveys conducted at the district level must be approved by the superintendent and will allow time for parent feedback and review as defined in this policy.

B. Student surveys conducted at the grade or classroom level must be approved by the principal or administrative designee. Surveys conducted in this fashion are subject to all of the rules in this policy related to confidentiality and information requested of students.


A. All instructional materials, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary material which will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any program funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, and shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the students.

B. No student shall be required, as part of any program funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education, without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or, in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent, to submit to a survey that reveals information concerning:

1. political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;


2. mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;


3. sex behavior or attitudes;


4. illegal, antisocial, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;


5. critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;


6. legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;


7. religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or;


8. income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

C. A school district that receives funds under any program funded by the U.S. Department of Education shall develop local policies consistent with Sections VI.A. and VI.B. above, concerning student privacy, parental access to information, and administration of certain physical examinations to minors.

1. The policies adopted under Section VI.C. above, shall provide for reasonable notice of the adoption or continued use of such policies directly to parents of students enrolled in or served by the school district.

i.  The notice will be provided at least annually, at the beginning of the school year, and within a reasonable period of time after any substantive change in a policy.

ii.  The notice will provide parents with an opportunity to opt out of participation in the following activities:

a. Activities involving the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information, or otherwise providing that information to others for that purpose.

b. The administration of any third-party survey (non-Department of Education funded) containing one or more of the items contained in Section VI.B., above.

c. Any nonemergency, invasive physical examination or screening that is required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school and scheduled by the school in advance, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student or other students.

“Invasive physical examination” means any medical examination that involves the exposure of private body parts, or act during such examination that includes incision, insertion, or injection into the body, but does not include a hearing, vision, or scoliosis screening.

iii.  The notice will advise students of the specific or approximate dates during the school year when the activities in Section VI.C.1.ii., above, are scheduled, or expected to be scheduled.

iv.  The notice provisions shall not be construed to preempt applicable provisions of state law that require parental notification and do not apply to any physical examination or screening that is permitted or required by applicable state law, including physical examinations or screenings that are permitted without parental notification.

V.       NOTICE

A. The school district must give parents and students notice of this policy at the beginning of each school year and after making substantive changes to this policy.

B. The school district must inform parents at the beginning of the school year if the district or school has identified specific or approximate dates for administering surveys and give parents reasonable notice of planned surveys scheduled after the start of the school year.  The school district must give parents direct, timely notice when their students are scheduled to participate in a student survey by United States mail, e-mail, or another direct form of communication.

C.The school district must give parents the opportunity to review the survey and to opt their students out of participating in the survey.

Legal References:

  • Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.065 (District Surveys to Collect Student Information; Parent Notice and Opportunity for Opting Out)
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1232h (Protection of Pupil Rights)
  • 34 C.F.R. § 99 (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations)
  • Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 122 S.Ct. 2268, 153 L.Ed. 2d 309 (2002)
  • C.N. v. Ridgewood Bd. of Educ., 430 F.3d. 159 (3rd Cir. 2005)
  • Fields v. Palmdale School Dist., 427 F.3d. 1197 (9th Cir. 2005)

Cross References:

  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 515 (Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 521 (Student Disability Nondiscrimination)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 522 (Student Sex Nondiscrimination)