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School records and your rights as a parent

When you send a child to school, it's your right to know that your child's records will be kept private. On the whole, school records are kept private to prevent anyone except for the school, parents and the children involved from learning about the child's schooling, disciplinary actions or other issues. When your child turns 18, the rights to those records go to your child. At that point, your child owns the records, and no one else has the authority to release them.

As a parent, you have the right to access your child's school records. To start with, you can access any records that are present and can review them for errors. For instance, if your child has a disciplinary mark on the report that wasn't for them, you could have it removed.

You can waive the rights to the records for certain circumstances so that others can access them. For instance, if your child is changing schools, the new school may want access to the records for placement purposes. You'll likely need to give written consent before the records are released since they are private.

Finally, you can challenge any problems in your child's records. You can challenge days missed, disciplinary actions or other marks that you feel are inappropriate or that could affect your child in the long term.

If you find out that the school has released or shared records that you did not release, then you may be able to make a claim. Releasing rights without getting permission is against the law, and you have every right to protect your child's privacy.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Privacy of School Records Laws," accessed Dec. 03, 2015

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