There are a few items to take into consideration regarding Arizona schools and privacy of student records. The privacy of a student’s records at school is a matter of debate among parents, school administrators and some teachers. For example, some teachers believe that critical evaluations meant to be used only internally among colleagues at the school could cause problems if accessed by parents. Having a clearly-established policy about school records ensures that everyone in the institution is on the same page when it comes to managing student records. Consistency of plans can help to avoid confusion among staff members or concerns from parents and allow for coherent management of all records.
In the state of Arizona, school records are not open to public evaluation and inspection. Communications with counselors at the school are also considered privileged. That being said, parents and students over the age of 18 are entitled eligible to receive school records when requested.
Code Section 15-141
Arizona law on school records is explained under Arizona Revised Statute § 15-141. This incorporates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that explains when school records can and cannot be released. Every year, key administrators and staff involved with student records should review the procedures for handling student records. Student records are vital to the school’s mandate to keep track of critical data points about the students there, and they need to be managed properly in order to avoid legal problems.
What Parents Should Know About Access to Schools Records
Schools are responsible for notifying students and parents about their rights under FERPA. Students over the age of 18 and parents have the following rights:
- The right to approve via written permission before school records are disclosed to anyone else
- The right to request that misleading or incorrect information be fixed
- The right to inspect and review records maintained by educational institutions
Violating School Record Privacy Laws: Penalties
If an educational institution in Arizona does not follow FERPA properly, the following penalties could apply:
- Special relief as determined by a judge
- Injunction such as a court order to stop performing or to perform a certain activity
- Withholding of federal funds from the secretary of education
Schools should be aware of their rights and responsibilities as it relates to student records so as to minimize legal conflicts and exposure to risk. School administrators who have concerns related to student records.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Arizona Schools and Privacy of Student Records, or any other education law matters, please feel free to contact our Education Law section 480.461.5300, log on to www.udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.