Doesn it violate FERPA if I include confidential students (students who have established confidentiality of their records) in a mass e-mail to all of my students?
No. According to recent clarifications, electing the confidentiality option does not include a right to remain anonymous in class and may not be used to impede routine classroom communications and interactions, whether class is held on campus or online. When you send e-mail to a list of students, using their individual email addresses in the “To:” line everyone can see all of the members on the list. FERPA allows you to share the PSU email of students registered in your class, amongst class members. If it is not important to you that the students in class know each others e-mail you may want to exclude confidential students from the list. After excluding them from the group list, you may send an individual e-mail, with the same content, addressed only to the confidential student. If you have more than one confidential student, you can send an individual e-mail to each one of them, separately. An alternative method is to include the confidential emails via blind copy (“bcc:”).