therapist records and school

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, May 25, 2007.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I posted this on General, then realized I should have posted it here-

    I remembered today that last year at the IEP meeting, I refused to sign to allow ALL difficult child's therapist records to be released to school. This was because there had been SEVERAL problems with SEVERAL teachers blurting out hurtful things to my difficult child in front of the whole class- I'm talking about hitting below the belt and saying inappropriate things that should not have been said to him at all, much less in front of other students. I had provided the school with ALL test results, diagnosis's, medication info, and recommendations from psychiatric who did testing. I have tried to teach my difficult child, however, that he can discuss things that bug him, things going on with him, etc., with a therapist in confidence. Of course, if he gave any reason to be concerned about his safety or someone else's safety, the therapist would report that. The school knows that I'm sure. So, my question is, can they use this against me in any way (saying non-compliance or in court if this goes to due process or defense if they didn't make more effort to really incorporate the recommendations)?
    My difficult child will be going back to a therapist, assuming I get to bring him home, and I still would refuse to let his personal conversations with his therapist be released to the school- unless safety was involved. Is there any particular way I should handle this?

  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Just my lay opinion... parents are not obligated to share any medical records with school district. Of course, if you're trying to get an appropriate IEP developed and implemented, it helps if you do release relevant records from your medical providers but you do not *have* to. I do not believe SDs have any given right to private medical records, period. I wouldn't go so far as to say they wouldn't try to use that against you, but I would doubt they'd get too far. If they want evaluations, they can always get their own and foot the bill. But again, if you have professionals making specific recommendations, sharing is good. It sounds like you released all the necessary and relevant records.

    I absolutely refuse to sign any releases for medical info anymore. If the school district wants info, they can ask me for it. I then get it from whomever and review it before I pass it along. Boo's school has increasingly crept past their role as educators and tried to assert itself in a healthcare case worker capacity. That's not their job. It has proven to be a *huge* distraction in IEP mtgs and a major thorn in my side. They do not need to be privy to Boo's medical issues if they don't relate to school. In thank you's case, there has been information in past psychiatric evaluations that is best kept private. Has no bearing on his education. I simply do not trust our school district to maintain anything approaching privacy and should he return to our community someday, that information does not need to be out there for general consumption.

    I cannot conceive of any situation where notes taken during a therapy session would have any real value for an school district. If it's a mandatory reporting situation, therapist certainly isn't going to be reporting it to the school.

    Again, just my lay opinion.

    Edited to add: To be fair, in our early years in Special Education, in different states, I was more than happy to release all. It was a different (less antagonistic) relationship with the school district and there was trust on both sides. My current policy re: medical records is based on an increasingly difficult relationship with our current school district, to the point now that I don't trust them on *anything*. It is not supposed to be like that.

    I'm not necessarily advocating always being the gatekeeper for medical records. Sometimes full and complete access is a good thing and works well. Sometimes not. I entered into relationship with- current school district in full expectation of a good working relationship. From my perspective (and it's biased I'm sure), they have done everything in their power to not do their job. Therefore, they've lost my trust and willingness to let my kids' private, protected medical information enter their hands at their whim.

    Hope that makes sense. Not all SDs are like the one I live in now.
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I agree with slsh.

    My relationship with the school district hasn't always been what it is presently.

    After a stunt they pulled some years back, I withdrew permission for the school district to receive medical records or have contact with-difficult child's private professionals. The flow of information goes through me.
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    I NEVER directly released anything to the school district. Also, in my opinion there can be no progress in therapy if the contents are going to be released to ANYONE. I had a difficult child in therapy for years with no idea what he was talking about while in therapy. IL has a mental health law that requires the permission of a child over 12 to release mental health records even to parents. This would astound people outside of IL when ex-difficult child would not release. They would then pressure me and when I told them 1) I didn't have the information (in the case of therapy sessions) and 2) for evaluations, they would need to get a release from ex-difficult child for me, or a provider to release. Since I wouldn't give consent for providers to release directly (as I had to do because he was a minor), that left the schools trying to convince ex-difficult child that they had his best interests at heart in order to get his records. They could rarely do that because he, too, experienced teachers blurting out private information in class when he was in elementary school.

    At the risk of hijacking this thread, I want to make another point that some of you may not be aware of: When a child is over 18 and/or goes to college, the parent has no right to the school records. I have sat in two different parent first year (freshman) orientations and watched parents meltdown (usually over their first child) literally screaming that as the bill-payers, the had a RIGHT to grade reports, residence hall problems, etc. The fact is, in all 50 states, they do not. The Buckley Amendment confers all these rights upon students at age 18, unless they are declared incompetent. All IL has done is extend this protection to children over 12 in regard to mental health records (which is rare.)

    I was reminded of this point this week as both my kids reported their semester grades to me by phone because they chose to. I do not, and never will have, the grades in writing.

    Back to the original thread: do not assume your school district will use information benignly and you are under no obligation to release your private records.

  5. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am in IL also and yes, it is how it has been in our experience, as well. Further- we also do not get info from the kids docs all the time, either, not just mental health but also pediatrician and gyne docs.
    I would also not sign blanket releases, either, anyway. I got copies of all our records and found gross and blatant misinformation (and outright lies) in the records, horrible nasty ugly stuff.....and I also caught some of our providers sitting in a coffee shop blabbing about our family ----
    Nope, everything goes thru me.
    I am not sure our tdocs ever wrote down what my kids talked about per se in therapy.......maybe becuz they did not want such personal things down in writing?
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks all!! I feel like I am fighting the whole county right now as I'm just learning the ropes!!