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Section 9

ak dept education

special ed handbook

Protection of Records

The District must prevent the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to children with disabilities. A District must designate one employee to protect the confidentiality of special education student records collected, maintained, or used. That person shall assume responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information and must:
  1. Respond to any request for inspection and review of an education record.
  2. Respond to any request made for an explanation or interpretation of an education record.
  3. Respond to any request made to amend an education record.
  4. Obtain written and dated consent before disclosing personally identifiable information to unauthorized individuals.
  5. Respond to any request to destroy an education record.
  6. Keep a record of parties obtaining access to educational records (except parents and authorized employees of the District), including the name of the party, agency affiliation, the date of access, and the purpose for which access was provided (see Appendix E for a sample Record of Access form).
  7. Maintain a current listing for public inspection of the names and positions of the employees who may have access to personally identifiable information.
  8. Provide parents, on request, a list of the types and locations of education records collected, maintained, or used by the District.
  9. Ensure that the confidentiality of personally identifiable information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages is protected.
  10. Ensure that if any educational record includes information on more than one child, the parents of those children shall have the right to inspect and review only the information relating to their child or to be informed of only that specific information (See Appendix E, Notice of Procedural Safeguards).
Ensure that each person collecting or using personally identifiable information shall receive training or instruction regarding the policies and procedures governing confidentiality of personally identifiable information. The District must maintain a record of the training provided, including the person or persons providing the training, the dates of the training, who attended, and the subjects covered.

Parental Access to Educational Records

A District must permit a parent to inspect and review educational records directly relating to the parent's child that is collected, maintained or used by the District, and must:
  1. Provide a parent, upon request, a list of types and locations of records collected, maintained or used by the District.
  2. Respond to any reasonable request of a parent for explanation and interpretation of a record.
  3. Provide a parent with a copy of a record upon request.
  4. Permit a representative of the parent to inspect and review records.
  5. Comply with a request to inspect, review, or obtain a copy of a record within a reasonable period not to exceed 10 business days, and, in any case, before the child is to participate in any meeting or hearing relating to the student or his or her identification, evaluation, placement, or program.
  6. A District may assume that a parent has authority to inspect and review a record relating to his child unless the District has been provided reasonable grounds to believe that the parent does not have authority to do so under state law governing such matters as guardianship, separation, or divorce. Under the regulations for FERPA, the rights of parents regarding educational records are transferred to the student at age 18.
Note: Blank test protocols are not personally identifiable and are not considered an educational record. If a District maintains a copy of the child's protocol that contains personally identifiable information, it would constitute an educational record and the parent would have a right to see the protocol and receive an explanation/interpretation.

Destruction of Information

A District shall maintain records until no longer needed to provide educational services, but not fewer than five years. Written records about individual children are confidential and should be shredded or burned under supervision of the staff member responsible for the records.

If personally identifiable information collected, maintained or used is no longer needed by the District, that information should be destroyed. The District shall make reasonable efforts to notify the parent and offer the parent a copy of the record to be destroyed. A reasonable effort would be a letter sent to the last known address of the parent that indicates the District's intent to destroy special education records.

The notice sent to the parents must describe the personally identifiable information that the District intends to destroy and shall inform the parents that the information will be destroyed no earlier than 45 days from the date of the notice. The notice shall also outline the procedure that the parents may follow if they wish to formally object to the destruction of the information. When informing parents of their rights, the District should remind them that the records might be needed by the child or parent for Social Security benefits or other purposes in the future.

If a record containing personally identifiable information is not needed by the District to provide education services to a child with a disability, the District shall inform the parent and offer the parent a copy of the record. The District shall destroy the record upon request of the parent. However, Districts must maintain the following information related to the child indefinitely:
  1. Name, address, and telephone number
  2. Grades
  3. Grade level completed
  4. Attendance record
  5. Classes attended
  6. Year the child completed school program
Parental Request for Amendment of Records

A parent who believes that information collected, maintained, or used by a District in a record relating to his or her child is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the child may request that the District amend the records.

The District must, within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 45 days of receipt of the request, decide whether to amend the record. If the District refuses to amend the record, it shall inform the parent of the refusal and advise the parent of the right to a hearing conducted according to procedures contained in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

These procedures state:
  1. The educational agency or institution shall hold the hearing within a reasonable time after it has received the request for the hearing from the parent or eligible child.
  2. The educational agency or institution shall give the parent or eligible child notice of the date, time, and place, reasonably in advance of the hearing.
  3. Any individual, including an official of the educational agency or institution, who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing, may conduct the hearing.
  4. The educational agency or institution shall give the parent or eligible student a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues. The parent or eligible child may, at their own expense, be assisted or represented by one or more individuals of his or her own choice, including an attorney.
  5. The educational agency or institution shall make its decision in writing within a reasonable period of time after the hearing.
  6. The decision must be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing, and must include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
If a parent requests a hearing and the District determines that the information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy or other rights of the student, the District must inform the parent that he or she may place a statement commenting on the information or setting forth any reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the District. A copy of the decision of the District must accompany the parent's statement. Any statement placed with a record must accompany the record as long as the District maintains the record or contested portion. If the District discloses the record or contested portion to any person, the statement must also be disclosed.


A fee may be charged for copies of records that are made for parents if the fee does not prevent the parents from exercising their right to inspect and review those records. A fee may not be charged to search for or retrieve information.

Parental Consent for Release of Records

A District must obtain written consent of a parent before disclosing personally identifiable information relating to his or her child that is collected, maintained, or used by the District to any person other than:
  1. A school employee, including contract service providers, who has a legitimate educational interest,
  2. Employees of a school in which the child is to enroll upon condition that the parent be notified of the disclosure, offered a copy of the record, and notified of his or her right to request amendment of the record.
  3. A representative of the federal comptroller general, United States Department of Education, or Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
Parental consent must be obtained before personally identifiable information is used for any purpose other than meeting requirements under this part. An educational agency or institution subject to Part 99 of FERPA may not release information from education records to participating agencies without parental consent unless authorized to do so under Part 99. If a parent refuses to consent to the release of a record, the District may initiate a hearing (see Appendix E for a sample Authorization for Release of Confidential Information form).

Definitions of Terms Related to Confidentiality of Information

Disclosure means the release, transfer, or other communication of educational records, or the personally identifiable information contained in those records, to any party, by any means, including oral, written, or electronic.

Personally Identifiable means that information includes:
  1. The name of the child, the child's parents, or other family member
  2. The address of the child
  3. A personal identifier, such as the child's social security number or student number
  4. A list of personal characteristics or other information that would make it possible to identify the child with reasonable certainty
Destruction means the physical destruction or removal of personal identifiers from information so that the information is no longer personally identifiable.

Education Records means personally identifying information including, but not limited to:
  1. Academic work completed.
  2. Level of achievement.
  3. Attendance data.
  4. Scores and protocols of standardized intelligence, aptitude, and psychological tests.
  5. Interest inventory results.
  6. Health data.
  7. Family background information.
  8. Teacher or counselor rating.
  9. Observations and verified reports of serious or recurrent behavior patterns.
Participating Agency means an agency or institution that collects, maintains, or uses personally identifiable information, or from which information is obtained, under the IDEA 2004.

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