Federal and state laws not only protect the privacy of your child’s educational records, but they also provide parents with certain rights to access and amend these records. In Massachusetts, the “Student Record” is defined broadly, and includes your child’s transcript, standardized test results, class rank, extracurricular activities, evaluations by teachers, counselors, and other school staff, most special education records and all other information that is of “clear importance to the educational process” and/or “is organized on the basis of the student’s name or in a way that such student may be individually identified[.]” Emails to and from school personnel that relate directly to your child’s education may also be part of your child’s student record.
Right to Access the Student Record. Parents have the right to access their child’s student record. In Massachusetts, parents must be provided with full access to all parts of their child’s student record no later than 10 days after making the request. While parents are not required to make this request is writing, it is usually a good idea to do so. In addition, parents have the right to have their child’s student record inspected or interpreted by a third party of their choice (for example, an advocate, evaluator, physician, or lawyer).
Right to Receive a Copy of the Student Record. Upon request, school districts must provide parents with a copy of their child’s student record. School districts may charge a “reasonable fee, not to exceed the cost of reproduction” for the copies. Fees of ten to twenty cents per page have been upheld as “reasonable” by the BSEA and the Department of Education. However, school districts cannot charge a fee if by doing so it would effectively prevent a family of limited financial means from receiving a copy of their child’s student record.
Right to Add to the Student Record. Parents always have the right to add “information, comments, data, or any other relevant written material to the student record.” For example, parents have the right to add private evaluation reports, notes from Team meetings, or other relevant information to their child’s student record.
Right to Request that Information in the Student Record is Amended or Deleted. Parents also have the right to request that the student record be amended, or request that information in the student record be deleted. Requests to amend the student record can be made verbally or in writing to the principal. The principal must issue a written response to such requests within one week. The principal’s written response should identify the reasons why the parents’ request to amend the student record was accepted or rejected. If a parent dos not agree with a principal’s decision denying the request to amend a child’s student record, the parent can appeal in writing to the Superintendent.
Want to know more? Here are some useful links:
To see the federal student records regulations, click here.
To see the state student records regulations, click here.