MSU HRPP Manual Section 2-2-D-ii

2-2-D-ii, Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) is a federal law that sets forth additional requirements in elementary and/or secondary public schools when certain activities are conducted (e.g., survey, analysis, physical examinations) or if funded by the Department of Education (e.g., surveys, analysis, or evaluation). As a result, these requirements can impact MSU human subject research if the research involves activities subject to PPRA. PPRA requirements are applicable regardless of the level of IRB review (e.g., exempt). When the PPRA is applicable, the researcher should address in the IRB application the PPRA requirements as appropriate. The IRB will review the non-exempt research project to determine that the researcher has addressed the PPRA requirements as appropriate (e.g., parental permission as required). In some instances as described in this policy, parental permission must be obtained and cannot be waived by the IRB for non-exempt research, even if the criteria in HRPP Manual 6-4-B “Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent” are met. Individuals engaged in human subject research are responsible for complying with the PPRA when applicable, including exempt research.

PPRA: Research Funded by the Department of Education
Additional requirements apply to surveys, analysis, or evaluation that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education (i.e., any program administered by the Secretary of Education). These requirements include requirements for parental permission when the survey, analysis, or evaluation involves certain topics and a right of parental inspection of certain materials involved in the research.

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 applicable program shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children. 20 USC 1232h(a)

Prior written consent of the parent (or the student if the student is an adult or emancipated minor) is required when the survey, analysis, or evaluation reveals information concerning the following “protected topics”[1]:

  1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parents

  2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family

  3. Sex behavior or attitudes

  4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior

  5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents [students] 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 student’s parents

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

PPRA: Research Conducted in Elementary and Secondary Public Schools
In addition, each local educational agency (LEA) that receives funds under any applicable program (i.e., funds from U.S. Department of Education) are required to adopt policies that address right of inspection, parental notification of the policies, and a right of a parent to “opt” their student out of participation in certain activities. When research will be conducted in a school subject to PPRA, the researcher should review the applicable LEA policies and procedures to assure compliance and to address such procedures in the application to the IRB (e.g., consent process).

Each LEA policy is likely to vary in how the requirements are addressed, but the PPRA requires at a minimum that the policy must contain the following:

  1. Right of a parent to inspect, upon request of the parent, a survey created by a third party before the survey is administered or distributed by a school to a student and any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to such survey within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.

  2. LEA arrangements to protect student privacy when administering or distributing a survey to student containing one or more of the “protected items.” This includes the right of a parent to inspect, upon request of the parent, any survey containing “protected items.”

  3. Right of a parent to inspect, upon request of parent, any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum for the student and procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to instructional material within a reasonable period of time after the request is receive.

  4. Administration of physical examinations or screenings that the school or LAE may administer to the student.

  5. 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), including arrangements to protect student privacy that are provided by the agency in the event of such collection, disclosure, or use. Right to inspect instrument used in collection before instrument is administered or distributed to student and any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable period of time after the request is received.

The LEA must provide reasonable notice of the policy at least annually, at the beginning of the school year. Additional notification is required when the following activities will be conducted:

  1. Administration of any survey containing “protected topics”

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

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

For each of the activities described above, the LEA must offer an opportunity for the parent to opt the student out of participation. At least annually, at the beginning of the school year, the LEA must also notify the parent of a student of the specific or approximate dates during the school year when the activities are scheduled, or expected to be scheduled.


[1] “Protected topic” is not defined in the law; however, this title will be used in this policy to mean the (1) – (8) categories provided in PPRA to avoid repetition throughout the policy.

This policy and procedure supersedes those previously drafted.

Approved By: Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, 12-9-2015.

Related HRPP Manual Sections

Approved PDF Version

Please note that hyperlinks have been added to the web version of this document for ease of use. View approved PDF version of Section 2-2-D-ii, Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.