Massachusetts Privacy of School Records Laws
The privacy of a student's school records is a matter of some debate. For example, many teachers believe that certain critical evaluations meant to be used internally, such as "warnings" to other teachers about behavior problems, may cause problems if accessed by parents. In Massachusetts, school records are not subject to public inspection and communications with counselors are considered privileged. But, the state allows parents and adult students to access records upon request. Learn about Massachusetts' privacy of school records laws with the following chart and links.
Massachusetts privacy of school records laws can be found in Massachusetts General Laws sections 34A-34H.
|Who Has Access to School Records?||
A student or former student has the right to receive a transcript from the school he or she attends or used to attend. A copy of the first transcript must be provided free of charge but a limited fee may be charged for additional transcripts.
Parents or guardians of a child in elementary or secondary schools have the right inspect records concerning their child. A student over the age of eighteen also has the right to inspect his or her records. The board of education must have regulations regarding the maintenance and retention of school documents.
Generally, parents with and without custody have access to student records unless one of the following applies:
Massachusetts General Laws section 34H outlines the specific procedures for requesting student records.
|What Records Must be Made Available?||
Elementary and secondary school records that must be made available to parents include the following:
Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws
If a school fails to provide a transcript with thirty days of the initial request, the student or parent (if the student is a minor) may petition the court. The court may issue any remedies it deems necessary under the circumstances, including court costs and attorney’s fees.
Research the Law:
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Related Resources for Privacy of School Records Laws:
- Ten Commonly Asked Questions on Student Rights
- Education and the Law
- FindLaw's section on School Privacy
Whether you are a parent or an adult student, a Massachusetts education attorney can help answer additional questions you may have.