Frequently Asked Questions for Parents of Children With Disabilities (page 2)
Your child's school record is an important source of information. Under state and federal confidentiality requirements, you have rights concerning this record. These rights have to do with inspection and release of your child's record. The questions and answers that follow do not cover all requirements but may help you become more familiar with some of them.
What is confidentiality? Confidentiality is protecting all personally identifiable data, information and records collected, used, or kept by the school district about a student. Confidentiality also applies to discussions about your child or your child's records.
What is personally identifiable data or information?Personally identifiable information includes: child or family names and address, child's social security or student number, descriptions that would make it easy to identify your child, and anything else that would make it easy to identify your child.
What is a school record? A school record, which is sometimes called an "educational record'' or a "permanent record,'' is anything that the district collects, uses, or keeps about a child. This includes grades, health information, attendance reports, work papers, school photos, test results, etc. Data or information may be handwritten, drawn, or typed. It may also be a photograph, on audio or video tape, or on computer disk.
Does all the information in my child's school record have to kept in one place? No. Many school districts have information in several places, including on computer. School staff must tell you the types and locations of all information about your child.
How do I find about my rights? At least once a year, the school district will tell all parents about their rights related to confidentiality of student records. Some districts put this notice in the local newspaper. Others send the notice to your home. These rights are also described in information the school gives you to explain your rights as the parent of a child who has a disability. You may call your child's school and ask for an explanation of these rights. You may ask for an explanation at any Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meeting.
What are some of my rights? You have the right to look at the record kept on your child. School staff will give you information on where the record is kept, how can you can see it, and how you can get a copy of the record. The school district may charge a small fee for making copies of the record, but the school district may not charge for getting the record out of the files. The school will answer your request to see the record within a reasonable length of time, including before an Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meeting and before a due process hearing. If there is some reason why you cannot get to the school to see the record, the school will send you a copy if you ask. It is important that you read your child's record and understand the information in it. If you do not understand something in your child's record, ask for school staff to explain the information to you. Or, have someone else, such as a friend, look at the record with you.
What kinds of information may I see? You may see the following kinds of information that a school district might keep about your child: personal and family information; testing information; medical, psychological, and anecdotal reports; achievement and progress reports; records of conference with you child and you; copies of letters and other correspondence about your child; and other information that is helpful to the school in working with your child.
Is there any information the school does not have to show me? Yes, the school does not have to show you: teacher or counselor personal notes that are not shared with others, school security police records, or personnel records of school employees.
Who may look at my child's school records? Only parents and certain others have the right to look at or get a copy of your child's record without your consent. School staff assume that both parents have the legal right to see their child's record unless the school has been officially notified a parent is not allowed access because of some legal action such as a divorce decree. Some of the others who may look at your child's record or get a copy without your consent are: staff from U.S. or state department of education on official business; another school district's staff if your child transfers; and school staff listed on your district's current list of persons allowed to look at student information.
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