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.