FERPA Case Law: Gonzaga University v. Doe

Instructor: Jessica Mercado

I completed my BA in Criminal Justice in 2015. Currently working on my MS in Homeland Security Management.

This lesson will cover the basics of the Gonzaga University v. Doe case. The issue of the case along with the verdict will be covered. Background on Family Education Rights Act of 1974 (FERPA), will also be covered.

The Issue

In October 1992, a student at Gonzaga University wanted to become a teacher for a public elementary school in Washington. In order for students to receive their teaching certification, they must first submit a good moral character affidavit. Unfortunately for this student, he was discussing a personal story with a peer that involved engaging in sexual misconduct, and was overheard by the university's teacher certification specialist. The specialist felt that this situation warranted a call to the state agency that approved teaching certifications. The specialist explained what was overheard, and provided the agency with the student's name. When the student requested the teaching certification, he was told he would not be able to receive his teaching certification due to a failed moral character affidavit.

The student sued Gonzaga University alleging that the University violated the Family Education Rights Act of 1974 (FERPA).

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