Privacy and Access

IDEA 2004 includes a section (Subpart E) called Procedural Safeguards. These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and, at the same time, give families and school systems mechanisms to resolve their disputes. Confidentiality and access to student records is one of those protections.

Are there any laws that protect my right/my child’s right to privacy?

IDEA and other federal laws protect the confidentiality of your child’s education records. These safeguards cover these three areas:

IDEA guarantees parents the right to inspect and review any educational record of your child that the school system (or other participating agency) collects, maintains, or uses with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of your child, and the provision of FAPE (a free appropriate public education) to your child.

Parent Rights

Parents can inspect and review educational records with respect to their child’s evaluation, identification, and placement; and the provision of FAPE. 

Parents can request explanations and interpretations of the records. 

Parents can request copies of the records if not receiving copies would effectively prevent the parents from exercising their right to inspect and review those records. 

Parents can request that their representative be given access to inspect and review the records. 

 Schools’ Rights and Responsibilities

Schools must comply with a parent’s request to inspect and review records without unnecessary delay before any meeting—regarding an IEP, a hearing or resolution session, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. 

Schools must respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records. 

Schools can charge a fee for copies of records made for parents, if the fee does not effectively prevent the parents from exercising their right to inspect and review those records. 

Schools may not charge a fee for searching for, or retrieving, a child’s records for parents. 

How do I get a copy of my child’s school records?

A school must provide a parent with an opportunity to inspect and review his or her child’s education records within 45 days following its receipt of a request.

What should I expect to see in my child’s school records?

All schools are required to keep certain records in The Cumulative Record Folder (commonly called CA-60). 

What about sharing my child’s medical records with school?

Parents may choose to share or not share records with their school/district. Medical records are protected by the The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

What happens when my student legally becomes an adult?

When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student.

What is FERPA?

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. FERPA also prohibits improper disclosure of information from education records.

FERPA generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records.

What if I believe my rights under FERPA have been violated?

From the U.S. Department of Education: How to File A FERPA Complaint

What is PPRA?

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) applies to programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. PPRA gives parents and students certain rights when a school conducts student surveys, collects and uses information for marketing purposes, and administers certain physical exams to students.

The rights under PPRA transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law.

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