There was a question asked on another forum. An instructor received a student's project assignment and was very disturbed by the contents (it was a diary of a serial killer which included splattered blood on the pages and drawings of a disturbing nature - yes, it did meet the assignment's criteria).
My guess is that they have a Stephen King on their hands, not a serial killer - but with school shootings becoming more common, how would I know?
Anyway, just in case it could save someone else, I advised they take it to a mental health professional for review (just content; no name).
In case the professional thought it was disturbing (not creative writing) I added this near the bottom:
Don't tell me that when someone poses a credible threat to the public the name can't be disclosed, maybe you can't disclose it but someone or some process can. It would be bad to hear that they need the name today, and you don't know if you can, and you don't know who they can talk to about it.
So, I know that there are laws that protect student grades/identities/etc. and I'm not opposed to those.
If a psych has a duty to report actionable things to the police if a patient confides them (not patient confidential protected) I figured it would probably be legal for an instructor to take something that disturbed them to a mental health professional for a consult to ask if that professional thought it was disturbing... or if it just looked like creative writing.
(No student data released at this point except showing the assignment; name concealed)
Two comments are basically saying that they don't think it would be legal.
So here's my question:
Would an instructor be legally allowed to show an assignment to a (non-specific) mental health professional because they thought it was so disturbing that maybe the public was threatened/endangered?
To keep it simple let's assume the student isn't a minor and isn't in High School.
I'll happily delete my answer if they cannot.
1. I did ref law.stackexchange but no on else posted anything.
2. The closest thing I found searching this site was a reference to the Joint Guidance on the Application of FERPA and HIPAA - which seems only to concern info collected by the school (not assignments) and who this can be disclosed to.