Monday, November 12, 2007

Parents' Right to Copies of Education Records


I recently requested my child's entire Cumulative & Confidential file. I asked for copies of all records, including testing. The school did not send any of the tests it used when my child was evaluated. There seems to be other items missing. Why did I not receive everything?


Parents have a right to inspect and review all of their child’s education records relating to identification, evaluation, educational placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education. Parents do not have a right to copies of their child’s education records unless not having copies of the records keeps the parent from inspecting and reviewing the records.

Many schools agre to give parents copies of their child’s education records. When a school does this, it may charge parents for the copies. Your State may not allow your school to charge for its staff to find and copy records.

Test protocols are the actual instruments used to test a child. These are education records and a parent has the right to inspect and review them. Psychologist frown upon copying test protocols because this could compromise the integrity of the tests. If you have a private psychologist, you can ask the school to send copies of the protocols to your psychologist.

Parents often do not receive complete files from the school when they ask for them. School staff may not know exactly where all of a child's files are kept. Schools often keep many different files on a child and these files are often in different locations. For example, the speech therapist often carries each child's files with him or her.

There can be as many as twelve different “files” on a specific child. Sometimes the person who is assigned to copy a child’s file is not aware that there are so many files or that there are many different locations.

If you believe items other than test protocols are missing from your child, here is what you can do:

· Make a “grocery list” of the files you think are missing.

· Send a note to the person who took your original request for records saying that you did not receive all of the records you requested.

· Attach a copy of your original request and your “grocery list” as an example of the records you think are missing.

· Sign and date your note. Keep a copy for your own records.

· Wait about a week. If you do not receive a response after a week, send another note. Attach a copy of everything you have sent before.

· Provide two or three dates and times you can come in to look at your child’s records.

· Consider taking a small scanner and notebook computer. You can save money by scanning the records into your computer.


Am I entitled to a copy of my child’s evaluation report?


Yes. IDEA 2004, Section 300.306(a)2) requires schools to give parents a free copy of the evaluation report. Schools must also give parents a free copy of any papers that determine their child’s eligibility for special education and related services.

Schools must provide parents with these free reports in time for the parents to be able to prepare for their child’s IEP meeting. IDEA 2004 does not specify a timeline as to when schools must provide parents with these free reports. States may determine their own timelines.


How soon after I ask to review my child’s education records must the school allow me to do so?


IDEA 2004, Section 300.613(a) requires schools to allow parents to inspect and review their child’s education records without unnecessary delay and no more than 45 days after the parent has made the request.

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