New Jersey Privacy of School Records Laws

School records are mostly confidential, and may be kept from the parents or students, but there are differing perspectives on giving parents access to all of their children's information. For instance, some teachers believe it may be detrimental if certain critical evaluations of students (such as a warning to fellow teachers about behavior issues) were accessed by parents. In New Jersey, privacy of school records laws allow parents and students to access such documents, as established by the state board of education.

The main provisions of New Jersey's privacy of school records laws are detailed in the following chart, while a closer look at the subject follows. See FindLaw's School Privacy section for more information.

Code Section 18A:36-19
Who Has Access to School Records? Parent/guardian or pupil with reasonable protection of privacy rights. State board of education establishes rules.
Penalty for Violation of School Record Privacy Laws -

School Record Privacy Basics

One may think that schools would be very willing to disclose student records to the students and the parents. However, there are some records that schools may want to keep private. School teachers often keep records of student progress and perceived ability. It may have a detrimental effect on a student's overall educational progress if the student or parents find out that the teacher believes the student has low educational ability. This assessment may or may not be accurate.

On the other hand, parents have a deep interest in tracking a child's progress, and knowing how well that child is doing in school. If the teacher believes that a student has a low ability, the parents may be able to help the student by finding a tutor.

FERPA

The Family Educational Records Protection Act (FERPA) gives parents free access to school records. If schools do not comply with records requests, the Secretary of Education may withhold federal funding. Some exceptions to this rule include research on educational practices and techniques that are conducted confidentially, and state and federal audits of public assistance programs.

School Records in New Jersey

New Jersey school records laws give students the right to have access to necessary information about themselves. However, the laws also make an exception for records or information that may be inconsistent with the protection of the people involved. Parents and students also have the right to prevent schools from disclosing records and information about the student to other people.

If you would like to know more about the law surrounding school records privacy, and access to school records, there are many attorneys throughout New Jersey with education law experience who may be able to help. In addition to letting you know about the details of educational records laws, they may be able to help you get access to school records if your child's school will not give them out willingly.

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