Who is Allowed to Read my Child's Public School Records?

Elise Czajkowski

For the most part, only school officials and a child's parents or guardians are allowed to access a child's public school records. As a parent, you typically have the right to review your child's public school records. In most circumstances, you must provide written consent for that information to be disclosed to anyone else.

School records may only be reviewed with an educator present.
School records may only be reviewed with an educator present.

There are, however, exceptions that allow a school to release a student's records without permission from a parent. For instance, if the child were to transfer to a new school, his or her public school records could be released to the new school. A student's public school records could also be shown to school administrators who have an academic interest or other education officials to use in auditing or evaluating the school.

Only school officials and a child's parents are usually allowed to read their public school records.
Only school officials and a child's parents are usually allowed to read their public school records.

Academic records also can be turned over to organizations concerned with financial aid for the student. Groups conducting studies for the school or groups determining a school's accreditation might also have temporary access to a student's records. School grades also might be turned over when they are subpoenaed or otherwise ordered by a judge, or in case of an emergency. Depending on the local laws, student grades can also be turned over to government officials within the juvenile justice system.

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Aside from education records, a school might disclose personal information about a student with a parent's consent. That information includes the student's name, address, telephone number, date of birth, academic honors and school attendance. A school generally must tell parents about this directory information and give the parent time to request that the school not release this information.

Basic directory information, such as a student's name, address and phone number, might be released to military recruiters. A student's parent can opt out of the disclosure. Military recruiters often are required to be given the same access to high school records as would be given to colleges or potential employers.

In the United States, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of a student's education records. The law applies to all schools that receive money from the U.S. Department of Education. A student's guardian controls the privacy rights of the student's records until the student is 18 or attends higher education, when the student gains privacy rights.

When a child transfers to a new school, her or his public school records are usually turned over to the new school.
When a child transfers to a new school, her or his public school records are usually turned over to the new school.

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