Special Education Records Request

Your Right to Make a Special Education Records Request

Your school district must allow you, as a parent or guardian, to inspect and review any education records relating to your child. For example, that includes any relevant records collected, maintained, or used by the school district.

When Should I Make a Records Request?

Consider requesting your child’s records at least once every year to stay up to date. In addition, consider requesting any new records before each IEP meeting. Most importantly, a request should be made anytime you are missing essential documents concerning your child’s program, evaluations, progress, or IEP.   

Would You Like to Draft a Records Request?

What is a Special Education Record? 

Under the IDEA, a special education record includes a broad category of material.  For instance, all files, documents, and other materials, maintained by the district, which contain information directly related to your child, are considered records. 

Moreover, all instructional materials, teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, supplementary materials, assessments or evaluations are included as records. When you make a special education records request, you are entitled to all types of related material.

What if I don’t Understand My Childs Records? 

Once you review your child’s file, your school must respond to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records. In short, you cannot be an equal participant in your child’s program without a full understanding of your child’s records.

When does My School Need to Respond to My Request? 

Your school must comply with your special education records request without unnecessary delay and before any ARD meeting, any resolution session, or any due process hearing. However, in all cases, after making the request, the district must comply within 45 days.

Under the IDEA, a “day” means a calendar day unless otherwise indicated. 

May the District Charge a Fee for the Records Request? 

School districts are allowed to charge a fee for copies of records made for parents. However, they may not charge for searching or retrieving your child’s records. In other words, if you inspect and review records (and are not asking for copies), the school may not charge you.

Here is the breakdown on Charging Fees

    • Retrieving Records            No fee may be charged
    • Searching for Records.      No fee may be charged
    • Copying Records               Fee may be charged in some cases (see below)

What if a Fee Prevents Me from Reviewing Records?

No fee may be charged for copies where that cost would effectively prevent you from exercising your right to inspect and review your child’s records.

For instance, if a fee would mean that you would be unable to the review records, let the school know that in your special education records request. Subsequently, the school may not impose a fee. 

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