son Mike is in the 11th grade and is reading on a 2.5 grade level.
I want an independent professional
to review my son's records.
Your Wrightslaw Game Plan
Stop. Think. Gather information. Control your emotions. Develop a plan.
"I have a FERPA problem. What can I do?"
Here are some ideas about how you can deal with these problems.
1. Your child's records.
The law that governs your right to view your child's records is the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The purposes of FERPA are twofold: to ensure that parents have access to their children's educational records and to protect the privacy rights of parents and children by limiting access to these records without parental consent.
FERPA deals with:
You need to read the FERPA statute and regulations. See Chapter 9 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, pages 307-318. You can also find the statute and regulations on a legal website like Findlaw.
But ... knowing
your rights is less important than knowing how to use tactics and strategy.
Include a short paragraph about your son that explains your request. For example you may say that he is in the 11th grade, is reading at the 2.5 grade level, and that you are afraid he will graduate from school and not be able to read.
Keep your letter short - one page. Offer to help with the photocopying. Offer to pick the records up.
2. Your child's academic problems.
You need help in deciding how to deal with your son's serious academic problems. We suggest that you consult with an educational consultant or advocate for help in developing a plan.
But, before you
can develop a rational, workable plan, your son will need a comprehensive evaluation from
a private sector expert in reading and /or language disorders. The advocate
or educational consultant may be able to recommend an evaluator.
3. Learn how to advocate
school does not provide you with copies of your child's records. Assume
school staff stall or delay because they are angry at you. What will you do?
how to advocate for your child, you need to spend time reading articles
on the Wrightslaw site. Start with the information on the Advocacy topics page - you will learn about emotions (and how they can be your worst enemy), and how to deal with a parent-school crisis. If you are really serious about learning how to advocate for you child, get a copy of Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.
Emergency! Crisis! Help! for parents like you who "shoot themselves in the foot" because they were emotional and overwhelmed.
for Your Child - Getting Started.
Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources
are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling
the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you
need information, skills, and tools.
From Emotions to Advocacy
Read our book, From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd Edition (FETA for short). In the book, you will learn about:
* 6 reasons
for parent-school conflict
The book has sample letters you can use - how to request your child's records and how
to request a records review. The book even has a chapter about FERPA!
Your goal is get school personnel to want to help. You will not succeed if you hound people who work at the school. (If you have ever worked in customer service, you know what we mean.) If you persist, they will write you off as a crazy parent.
If your son
is reading at a 2.5 level, his problems are not new. You need to slow
down, get your emotions under control, and spend your time planning.
and Pam Wright