Special Education - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) : J. Rights to Your Child’s School File

What is in my child's school file?

A student’s school file usually has grade reports, proficiency test results, and discipline notes. Students in special education have other important documents in their files. The school must keep a record of every time they attempt to contact you about the IEP meetings.

Can I look at my child's school file?

Parents have the right to see any school record that involves their child. A school record includes almost anything the school has with your child’s name on it.

If you want to see your child’s school records, ask in writing. The school has 45 days to let you see your child’s file. If you have an IEP meeting or due process hearing sooner, the school must let you see the file before the meeting or hearing.

The school cannot charge you to look at your child’s file.

They cannot charge you for their time getting the file ready. However, the school can charge you if you want copies of the file.

If you cannot afford to pay for copies and cannot easily get to the school to look at your child’s file, the school should not charge you for copies. Ask the school to mail you a copy of the file. If the school will not mail you a copy or if they charge you more for copies than you think they should, contact your local legal aid office.

Can I change the information in my child's school file?

If you think something in your child’s records is wrong, you can ask the school to change it. If the school will not change the record, you can ask for a records hearing. The school will tell you when and where the hearing will be. You can bring evidence. You can bring an attorney. A neutral person must decide whether the record should be changed. The person will give you a decision in writing.

Even if the school does not have to change the record, you can put a note in the file with the record. State clearly what you think the record should say and why. Whenever someone asks to see your child’s record, they must also get your note.

Who else can look at my child’s file?

Your child’s teachers can look at your child’s file. Other school officials who are involved in teaching your child can look at your child’s file. People who are not involved in teaching your child cannot look at your child’s file without your permission. The school needs your permission to show your child’s file to anyone else.

The school must get your permission to show your child’s file to anyone else. You have the right to give other people permission to see your child’s school records. This includes other family members, a parent advocate, or an attorney. Make sure you give other people permission in writing. If you only want someone to see certain files, say exactly what files that person can see.

You can also contact any one of the following organizations:


See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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