Understand your right to access and protect educational records

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | Education Law |

Having a child with special needs likely means you will be fighting for your child’s education more than other parents would with their children. This may mean engaging with school faculty, student boards and government agencies to help ensure your child gets a quality education.

Part of this process is disclosing private information to school faculty about your child’s needs and making a plan as to how their education is handled. Parents have the right to access their child’s private education records and keep them private if necessary under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Knowing what this exactly entails can be important for parents and children. Here’s what you should know:

Accessing your child’s education records

It can be hard to know if a school has created a plan to meet your child’s education needs. You may need to access your child’s education records. When a parent requests to access their child’s education records, the school must respond to the request in a reasonable amount of time. This may mean providing access to the records before a parent attends a meeting or hearing regarding their child’s individualized education plan. If this isn’t met, the school has 45 days to respond to the request.

Protecting a child’s education records 

Only the parent of a child can access their education records. Parents of other children should not have access to other children’s records.

A parent may also need to access their child’s education records to make changes under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Outdated information about a child’s special needs may need to be revised, with some exceptions.

Getting the education your child needs may not be easy. You may need to seek legal guidance to discuss your concerns in more detail.