Fathers Rights Accessing Your Childs School Records

Father’s rights: Accessing your child’s school records

One commonly misunderstood aspect of father’s rights is how it relates to school records and your child’s education. If you have been legally established as the father of your child, you have certain rights under the law whether or not you were ever married to the mother. This includes the right to have a copy of any educational records for your child.

While state laws may differ slightly depending on where you live, there are also federal laws protecting your right to your child’s school records. The most well known of these is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, more commonly known as FERPA. This can be thought of as the educational equivalent of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Public schools or any other school that receives federal funding from the Department of Education are bound by FERPA, which gives fathers the right to have and review their children’s school records even if they aren’t the custodial parent.

Once you put in a request for the records, the school has 45 days to comply. However, if there is anything in a court order that shows that you are not entitled to access to educational records — if your parental rights have been terminated, for instance — FERPA does not apply since the court order overrides that.

If your child attends a private or parochial school you may face a more complicated battle in trying to get a copy of your child’s school records. In these situations, it may be helpful to talk with an attorney who can let you know how your parental rights apply and what legal options you may have to gain access to your children’s education records.

Source: FindLaw, “Father’s Rights to School and Medical Records,” accessed Nov. 13, 2015


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