The Lyme School •  Lyme, New Hampshire
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Policy Manual

Policy: JRB
Student Records and Access

This policy is adopted pursuant to the federal "Family Educational and Privacy Act of 1974," and other applicable statutes governing student records so as to ensure a uniform policy of access to student records.

This policy is not intended to determine what information shall be included in student records, nor to govern the periodic destruction of irrelevant unnecessary or dated information. However, student records are intended to include factual information and care should be taken to ensure that material placed therein shall meet those requirements.

1. Access to records shall be furnished to the following persons:

a) Authorized Local School District personnel, counselors, teachers of that student, and administrators.

b) The student's parent or legal guardian.

c) The student, if over 18 or attending an institution of higher learning and not enrolled in the Local School District.

d) The Comptroller General of the United States, the administrative head of a state or federal educational agency and authorities of New Hampshire State Educational Agencies and the authorized representatives of the above.

2. Other Third Parties

Access to such records shall be furnished to others only upon the written consent of the parents of the student, the student herself/himself if over 18, or in response to a judicial subpoena upon notice to the student or his/her parents or guardians.

3. Review of Records

To ensure proper interpretation and understanding of information contained in student records or personally identifiable records, a counselor, building administrator, or representative of the special education department must be present to provide assistance at the time of the inspection of such records, including psychological tests. If psychological studies or background information is sought, the counselor or administrator shall arrange for the presence of the school psychologist at the time of inspection to interpret, explain or assist in the understanding of such information.

4. Confidential Records

a) Records pertaining to child abuse, law enforcement activities, medical records, and investigation of criminal acts, shall be maintained in separate files by the building Principal or a designated representative. Such records shall be deemed confidential information under the provisions of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated Education Laws Chapter 91-A: 5, Access to Public Records which pertain to personal privacy and law enforcement investigatory files and shall not be released to any person or agency except upon the instruction of the Superintendent. In no event shall such records be used as the basis for the preparation of reports or recommendations on an individual basis.
Such records, when kept, shall only be used to ensure compliance with the statute governing child abuse, to protect the property and persons of the students and personnel of the School District, to make necessary investigations of actual or suspected criminal activities and to render assistance as necessary to law enforcement officers and agencies.

b) Unverified data of serious or recurrent behavior patterns will not be included in records to which access will be given nor shall such data be used in reports or recommendations made to any individual or agency outside the school system.

c) The term "educational records" does not include records of institutional supervisory and administrative personnel ancillary thereto which are in sole possession of the maker thereof and which are not accessible or revealed to any other person.

d) At the beginning of each school year, parents will be given written notification through student handbooks or other means of publication of the categories of information which have been designated as "directory information" with respect to each student attending the Local School District. By the third Monday following the opening of school in September, a parent or student over 18 years of age shall notify the appropriate Principal of their desire that any or all of the information designated should not be released without the parent or student's prior consent.

e) "Directory Information" relating to a student includes the following:

1. The student's name, address, date of birth;

2. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;

3. Weight and height of members of athletic teams;

4. Dates of attendance;

5. Awards and honors received.

5. Procedures Governing Access

a) The Parent, student (if over 18), or guardian shall sign a request form.

b) Permissible third parties shall sign a request form.

c) In cases involving a third party, the student (if over 18), parent or guardian shall sign a consent form. Forms used will identify the records to which access is sought and will be placed in the student's file as a record of the request.

1. Access will be refused or granted depending upon the propriety of the request and validity of the forms furnished by the Special Education Director and/or building Principal.

2. If the request for access is refused, and the party who requested access objects to said refusal, said request will be referred to the Superintendent for final decision.

3. Custodians of student records:

• Elementary - possession by elementary Principal

• Middle School - possession by elementary Principal

• High School - possession by Guidance Department in appropriate high school

• Handicapped - possession by Director of Special Education

6. Challenges to Records

The parent(s), guardian(s) and/or student 18 years of age or older shall have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the school record, to ensure the records are not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein.

a) The parent(s), guardian(s) of a student under 18, or a student over 18, shall have an opportunity to identify in writing, addressed to the building Principal, the record or records which they believe to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, together with a statement of the reasons for the challenge to the record.

b) A response by the building Principal or Special Education Director shall be made within fourteen days indicating he/she finds the challenged record to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate and that it will be corrected or deleted; or that he/she finds no basis for correcting or deleting the records in question, but that the parent or student will be given an opportunity for a hearing upon receipt of written request by the parent(s) or guardian(s) or student over 18.

c) A hearing, if requested, shall be held within a reasonable period of time, but in no case more than 45 days after receipt of such a request by the Superintendent of Schools. The parent(s), guardian(s) or student 18 years or older, should be given the right to present evidence in support of his/her belief that the record is erroneous and to rebut any evidence submitted in support of the record. A written decision should be rendered stating the disposition of the challenge to the record and the reasons for the determination. Although the hearing may be informal in nature, the processes used shall ensure fairness and impartiality.

d) In cases involving a constitutionally protected right, the School District attorney should be consulted with respect to the hearing procedure and the degree of formality required.

e) Parents (or students over the age of 18 years) are entitled to one free copy of a student’s records. An fee of twenty-five cents per page shall be charged for additional copies.

Procedures for Student Records and Access

In order to serve the needs of individual students, extensive records of their school performance, progress in testing and scheduling requests are maintained. However, the school respects students' and parents' right to have access to these records, and establishes’ these guidelines, consistent with federal, state, and local laws and recommendations.

1. Parents and eligible students wishing to inspect student records must file a written request to do so with the Principal. Such inspection shall take place during regular school hours or at reasonable times during vacation periods, but not during weekends or holidays.

2. Single copies of appropriate records will be made available to parents. Records will be kept in the student's file of all copies made, when made, and to whom provided.

3. Records are maintained for each student in the following categories: directory information, academic records, standardized and individual testing, individual education plans, Instructional Support Team minutes, 504 team plans, attendance and enrollment data, and health records.

4. Information of any kind other than directory information will not be disclosed without prior written consent of the parent or eligible student, except as permitted by law.

5. The school shall make a written record of the disclosure of all student information, except directory information, and such record will be kept in the student's file. This record of disclosure is also available for inspection by the parent or eligible student. A record of inspections will also be kept.

6. The parent or eligible student may request that the records be amended if they believe they are inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the privacy rights of the student. Such request shall be in writing, dated, and addressed to the Principal or Special Education Director.

In the event that the School District decides to refuse the request to amend, the Principal or Special Education Director shall inform the parent or eligible student, and shall advise said person of his/her rights to a hearing, in compliance with the law (See PL 93-380).

ADOPTED: 14 November 1974

REVISED: 22 August 2002
REVISED: 24 March 2005