Indiana Privacy of School Records Laws

As students, we all lived in constant fear of what might wind up on our “permanent record." Surely there's some file somewhere containing every meticulously cataloged report card and detention slip. (Given the proliferation of computer databases, this may even be true.) Luckily there are Hoosier State laws that govern who may have access to your school records. This article is a quick introduction to privacy of school records laws in Indiana.

General School Records Laws

Although it may seem simple at first, the issue of who has access to a public school student's records is actually a bit more complex. Teachers and administrators contend that they should be able to deal with their students in confidence, and without unnecessary parental interference. On the other hand, parents have a compelling argument that they need to keep an eye on their child's progress, and therefore must have access to these records. Students’ school records are protected on a federal level by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Privacy of School Records Laws in Indiana

In Indiana, only parents and students themselves have access to a student’s school records. The table below highlights Indiana's privacy of school records laws.

Code Section

20-10.1-22.4-1 & 2

Who Has Access to School Records?

Custodial and noncustodial parent, unless court order limiting noncustodial parent

Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws

-

For the most part, a student’s right to privacy extends to admissions information, conduct reports, and education records, and a student's privacy rights might be violated if his or her personal information is disclosed to unauthorized third parties without his or her consent. It is generally understood that the right to be free from an unreasonable intrusion into personal matters exists, albeit to a lesser extent, for students in a school setting.

However, when these issues involve the safety of other students and members of the community, the school administration’s right to know and control the school environment will often outweigh a student's privacy interest. Because students generally have fewer privacy protections in the school setting than outside of it, limited searches of lockers or handbags may be permitted, but disclosure of confidential information is not.

Indiana Privacy of School Records Laws: Related Resources

State education and privacy laws can change. If you would like legal assistance regarding a school records issue, you can contact an Indiana education attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw’s School Privacy section for more articles and resources on this topic.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.