Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by house of cards, Jun 5, 2009.
Am I entitled to a copy of my difficult child's records or just an opportunity to view it?
From the Wrightslaw site, under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act:
"Parents have a right to inspect and review all educational records relating to their child. This right to inspect and review includes the right to have copies of records and to receive explanations and interpretations from school officials. Agencies must comply with requests to inspect and review records within forty-five days."
You may have to have a copy of whatever it is that states you are entitled to a copy of them, and to explanations, etc...
The Wrightslaw site should have the actual rule.
6 weeks or so AFTER you agree on an IEP you should go to school and ask for a copy of the IEP and his file. After EVERY IEP change you should do this.
When my son ended up in the psychiatric hospital I was asked to get a copy of his IEP and bring it to the hospital. The Special Education teacher never DREAMED I would actually open the envelope and read through the stack of papers. She had no clue how boring the waiting room was or how long I had to wait because the therapist was handling a major crisis.
Sp Ed teacher had CHANGED THE IEP and forged both my initials and my signature!!!
You can imagine her surprise when she was called to the Board of Ed building immediately on the first day school was in session after I got these records. She tried, for quite a while, to make it seem like I had broken rules by reading these records.
THen she tried to make it out that I didn't understand these records. By that time even her principal was looking embarrassed. She totally changed the IEP to allow our son access to things he didn't need access to. Like the internet. She had ignored the way he hacked through the netnanny software to go to forbidden sites.
So be very sure to back up and check the IEP after a few weeks. Also check his other records, esp if he suddenly seems to be in trouble a lot. You just never know what is in the records until you check up on them.
Hopefully you will never find a reason to need the double check on the IEP, or even a reason to justify the school giving you a copy of his records.
We're fortunate here - within a week after the meeting they mail home a copy of what was agreed on with a note that says if anything doesn't look right to call the sped teacher immediately.
Then again, our schools have other issues... At least that's not it.
FERPA is a Federal law. It dictates handling of student records. See http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html .
You can get copies of your child's records, however, there is typically a charge for copies unless the parent can not afford to pay. (Parents requiring copies instead of inspecting docs at school are not limited to a reason such as living a great distance from school.)
You would need to put the request in writing and send it via Certified Mail. More can be found via http://www.google.com/search?q=FERPA sample letter request for student records&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS237US238 .
What many parents do not realize is that "school records" encompass many documents that are kept in various areas of a school district and outside the District offices.
School records are defined in FERPA, however, " If you check the school district's e-mail policy, it almost certainly states specifically that e-mail received through the district is the property of the district and reserves the right of the school district to monitor employee e-mails, thus eliminating the "not accessible to any other person" requirement. That is in addition to the fact that this is a two party communication as mentioned before."
Actually, just as a matter of good record keeping, parents should do this as a matter of practice every year or two....
Thanks, I did give the school a letter asking for ALL of his records. I handed it right to the principal and he said it would be no problem. I received a call asking if I wanted just the IEP's, from the secretary given the task, and let her know that I want all of the records from everywhere in the school. He is moving into middle school and I want to know what they are telling them about my difficult child. Thanks again.
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