School Records Access

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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Sensitive information about you or your child's school records are supposed to be accurate and secure. But how accurate and secure are they?

That's an important question because school records determine everything from scholarship money to job opportunities. Some school records are open to the public, but others are not.

Kids' school records, everything from attendance, to grades, to discipline problems, could mean a lot. The records could open or lock the doors to colleges and jobs, and correct information is important.

Many parents don't check the records, and education watchdogs say they should.

Its not just parents that have access, more than a dozen organizations can check student records without your permission. All they need is a "legitimate educational interest." Colleges, financial aid sources, and educational sources can access these records.

Wichita School District Administrators say they keep a close-eye on school records, but the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act or "FERPA" requires some of the basic information to be open to the public. In Wichita, the student's name, date of birth, address and phone number is often available.

Administrators also say that their job is to balance the right of students and parents and the right of the public FERPA.

So for parents hoping their kids will get a storybook education, learning about school records could be a troubling chapter.

The Federal Department of Education says the two biggest complaints they get about records come from parents who can't get access to their student's information, and parents complaining unauthorized third parties do have access.

When you find a mistake in your child's records, you can sometimes appeal. If that doesn't work, some schools will allow parents to add a note to the file explaining your opinion about the error.

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