Can I remove a record from my child’s Education File?
Schools can be confusing for parents who are often plagued with bureaucracy and paperwork. What parents are often concerned about is stigmatizing labels and records which can and often will follow your child until they graduate.
What can be considered a stigmatizing record? A few examples might include an inaccurate disciplinary record, a misrepresentation of a fact such as what a parent or student said, an investigation of any kind of student matter which can be placed in the student file. This could also be an inaccurate educational document such as dates of school attendance or grades on report cards. Record requests and record challenges are discussed below.
There are four main sections in the California Education Records Law that pertain
to the access of student records by parents. Sections 49069-49072 highlight a
parent’s rights to inspect and challenge documents, as well as the formal process for having a document removed.
This section of the code establishes in clear terms the parent’s right to
gain access to their child’s student records through a school district or
private school. This section also stipulates that the school district or
school must give access to the records requested in no more than five days
following the request.
This section of the code establishes the parent’s right to challenge any
information in the school records within 30 days of viewing. A dispute may
be filed if the information meets any of the following categories:
(2) An unsubstantiated personal conclusion or inference.
(3) A conclusion or inference outside of the observer’s area of
(4) Not based on the personal observation of a named person with
the time and place of the observation noted.
(6) In violation of the privacy or other rights of the pupil. (Note: This provision also relates to a federal privacy law, which will be discussed in a separate post, called FERPA).
If there is a reason for challenging the records, the superintendent’s
office will meet with the parent and the person who recorded the information
and decide whether or not to keep it the challenged information on record.
If the superintendent agrees with the allegations then the records will be
changed. If the superintendent decides against the challenges then a parent
has 30 days to appeal to the governing board. The governing board will
provide the final decision of whether or not to keep information as part of
the records. If a parent finds their decision unfavorable, they may file an
objection which becomes part of the record until the information is changed
This section establishes additional procedures for convening a hearing panel
in the case of a challenge to the records according to Section 49070.
According to this section, if a parent files a challenge then the
superintendent or the governing board may assemble a hearing panel that may
consist of the following people to assist in deliberation:
(1) The principal another public school
(2) A certificated employee appointed by the school or parent
(3) A parent appointed by the superintendent or by the governing
board of the district
The hearing panel will be provided with verbatim copies of all information
and will disclose their findings to either the superintendent or the
governing board, depending on who is officially assessing the claims.
This section establishes a parent’s right to include a statement in the
records about any disciplinary action taken against their child by any
school district employee.
What should be clear is that education records are official documents governed by both state and federal law. If you believe that a records challenge is appropriate, the presentation of your case can often be complicated involving witnesses and evidence. Consider seeking legal advice if you believe that the information placed in your child’s file should be removed based on the factors above. Pay close attention to the time lines listed above as well.