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Congressman proposes student privacy law change after Virginia Tech shootings

[JURIST] US Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) proposed legislation [press release] Wednesday that "will allow schools and universities to share a student's mental health information with their parents or guardians if the student is found to be at risk of suicide, or of committing homicide or physical assault." Announced in the wake of the shootings [WashPost coverage; JURIST news archive] at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute which left 33 people dead last week, the Mental Health Cooperation Act for Families and Schools would clarify when schools can release information about a student's mental health to their parents under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 [20 USC 1232(g) text; Dept. of Ed. materials].

Murphy noted that "far too often schools are too worried about litigation rather than the overall well-being of the students on campus" and said that the bill would "remove this fear and allow schools to communicate with parents on the best needs of their child." AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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