Educational Records: MAINTAINING RECORDS

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Glenn:  Are there any federal laws or regulations that indicate how special education evaluation records must be maintained? Is a school system required to keep hard/paper copies of evaluation data and reports? Can these documents be stored solely electronically? Also, how long must evaluation records be kept after a student exits the school system? Thank you for any information.

  1. These statements seem contradictory & confusing

    “FERPA / IDEA Neither law dictates in what form records must be maintained, nor does either law specify a time frame for which records must be maintained.”

    This means they can keep records electronically or on paper or both, and they can discard the records the day after they record it. Basically giving free reign of no accountability.

    “FERPA is kind of a funny law. It does not actually require a district to create or maintain student records at all, and permits school to dispose of records as they see fit – except under one circumstance. If a record does exist, and an eligible individual (i.e. a parent or student) requests it, it cannot be destroyed until the request is completed”

    yet

    “does not actually require a district to create ”

    This means they do not have to document anything at all.

    “IDEA of course required certain records to be created (e.g. evaluation reports, IEPs, written notices, etc.). Again, it does not set a time limit for maintaining documents. It does require that the school notify a parent before it destroys records associated with special education.”

    This is contradictory to above statement of either law specify a time frame for which records must be maintained. According the the latter, the documents have to be maintained until parent is notified. But if they aren’t required to create, where does that leave a parent when they want to see proof of progress monitoring???

  2. I know I was in special education at K elementary. I want to know what the teacher wrote about any possible abuse or emotional problems I might be having at home.

  3. Glenn –

    FERPA is the federal student records law, and IDEA is the federal special education law. These laws treat student records mostly the same. Neither law dictates in what form records must be maintained, nor does either law specify a time frame for which records must be maintained.

    FERPA is kind of a funny law. It does not actually require a district to create or maintain student records at all, and permits school to dispose of records as they see fit – except under one circumstance. If a record does exist, and an eligible individual (i.e. a parent or student) requests it, it cannot be destroyed until the request is completed.

    IDEA of course required certain records to be created (e.g. evaluation reports, IEPs, written notices, etc.). Again, it does not set a time limit for maintaining documents. It does require that the school notify a parent before it destroys records associated with special education.

    Individual states often have their own student records laws that do dictate specific time frame for maintaining records.

    • How do you request things like correspondence between school members and between the school and parents and other items that were not included when a copy of special education records was provided? I sent a letter like the one in the Wrightslaw book that specifically asks for copies of everything. Thanks!

    • You are forgetting 2 C.F.R. 233, 234 regarding subrecipients of federal grant monies. Those have retention tables.

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