October 7, 2015


Mr. :

I believe that the basis for the claim of a violation of law is inaccurate.  

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) pertains to student records maintained by an educational agency or institution.  It is possible that a public disclosure made by that kind of agency or institution without the consent of the student would constitute a violation of FERPA.   However, the Arlington Fire District is not an educational agency or institution, it would not be subject to FERPA and, in my view, it has the ability to choose to disclose.

I point out, too, that the Freedom of Information Law is permissive.  Even when an agency has the authority to deny access, i.e., based on the possibility that disclosure would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the state’s highest court has held that it is not required to do so.  See Capital Newspapers v. Burns, 67 NY2d 562, 567.

If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to contact me.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

Bob Freeman