I’ve Never Knew That I Could Request School Files

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I read in a parent magazine that parents can request a copy of your child’s file or education record. I didn’t know that.

Can I request a copy of my child’s education records from the school? Before I request anything, I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

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
  • to protect the privacy rights of parents and children by limiting access to these records without parental consent

Under FERPA, parents have a right to have access to their children’s educational records.

FERPA requires that the school comply with a parent’s request for access to the student’s records within 45 days of the receipt of a request.

You are not automatically entitled to copies of your child’s records, except under specific circumstances. You may be charged a fee for the copies.

Generally, a school is required to provide copies of education records to a parent if the failure to do so would prevent the parent from exercising the right to inspect and review the records.

The Federal Regulations implementing IDEA also address “Parental entitlement to educational records.”

Access Rights- See 34 CFR 300.613(a) which states that parents must be permitted to

“inspect and review any education records relating to their children,”

and that if a parent requests those records,

“The agency must comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP. . .”

This regulation is on page 272 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.

You need to read the FERPA statute and regulations. See Chapter 9 in your Special Education Law book, pages 307-318.

Now you know you can request and review your child’s education records.

14 Step Guide for Record Review

To request your child’s records, write a short, polite businesslike letter asking for a copy of your child’s records.

In the letter, ask if the school has a photocopying fee and what this fee is.

Include a short paragraph about your child that supports your request.

For example, you may say that your child is entering high school but is reading at the 3rd grade level. You are concerned that he will not be able to read when he graduates from school.

Keep your letter short – one page. Offer to help with the photocopying records. Offer to pick up the records.

Here’s a step-by-step guide, 14 Tips for Reviewing Your Child’s Records by advocate Pat Howey.


  1. I saw in the – quite good! – doc by Pat Howey that it lists Psychological Testing Evaluations, including.. Protocols Speech/Language File,… including Evaluations and Progress Notes, etc  – does all this support that, as part of a FERPA, I should receive normed test answer sheets that my child wrote on/provided answers, as well as any test booklets in which my child wrote answers? I know there is case law in California that won this for a parent, but I don’t live there. The school cites copyright law/rights of the test developers. What to do, especially while schools are closed and we can’t review files in person? When we’ve gone in to review them in the past they hardly even let us touch them, and our private service provider has to attend by phone – so it’s hard to get a good look

  2. I can’t seem to get my son’s school to share anything with me aside from IEP’s, Prior Written Notices, and the eval. My son is only in Kindergarten so I know there isn’t much but he did do 3 years of preschool with the district before this year.
    Shouldn’t there be some kind of teachers notes, email correspondence, meeting notes, GenEd records, ect.? How do I get the school to share those records with me?

  3. I had issues w/ the middle school giving me a file of 20 pages, that was his testing results and court order. His new HS this year had a 5 in file and so many letters/notes/papers I had never seen before and the HS is missing part of his testing papers. No one can locate any of the recorded meetings for SE or 504’s. I am in VA and have now been told records were destroyed under The Library of VA protocol, GS-21/007109. There’s no previous test or protocols to review and my child never had his Triennial/re-evaluation. I recently discovered scores discrepancies/ reporting 2 different scores on same test.
    I contacted the guidance dept. and said I wanted my child’s files under FERPA, they gave me no issues and copied it all free of charge.

  4. So what do we do if requests for copies of my childs complete school file is being ignored. I have 2 sons currently removed from unsafe environments allowed at their schools. But I only get offered the CUM file for my younger son which I already have. And my older sons school file apparently can not be found. They tell me to go ask the school yet all I get is the CUM file offered before and now I am being ignored (this is the school where I removed him from due to hostile environments allowed to not protect him when assaulted by a teacher and he was charged and found guilty of those charges with not one allocation of due process or any rights found in policy or code.) Yes, now what do I do because if the false allegations and travesty of justice has not been reversed, Im going legal.

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