20 Student Records


Chapter Revision date: 03/21/2018

20.2 Request to Review/Obtain Records - School in Session

20.3 Request to Review/Obtain Records - School NOT in Session

20.4 Maintenance of Student Records

20.5 Challenging the Content of Student Records

Parents/guardians have a right to inspect and review any of their child's educational record(s) without unnecessary delay within 5 business days after their request, and before any meeting of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or hearing related to identification, evaluation or placement of the child.

The right to review includes the right to explanations and interpretations, copies of records if necessary to facilitate review alongside the parent. Representatives must be in the presence of the parent while accessing or reviewing educational records.

20.1 Definition of Student Records

"Educational Record" means any information recorded in any way, including but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm, and microfiche that is maintained by a school district, maintained by a person acting for a school district, or required to be maintained by an employee in the performance of his or her duties and is directly related to a student (includes name and address of student and family members and personal identifiers, i.e. ID numbers; includes student's place of birth, maiden name or other info that a reasonable person outside the school community could use to identify the student; includes "biometric records," i.e. fingerprints, handwriting retina scans, etc.).


Mandatory Permanent Student Records

(Maintained indefinitely and located in student's CUM file)

  • Legal name of student
  • Date and place of birth and method of verifying birthdate
  • Gender of student
  • Name and address of parent/guardian
  • Address of minor student if different from above
  • Entrance and departure date of each school year and for any summer session
  • Report Cards
  • Immunization records and/or verification of exemption
  • HS Transcripts and/or date of high school graduation or equivalent

Mandatory Interim Student Records

(As long as student is enrolled, these records are maintained on site. When student is no longer enrolled, records are maintained on site for 3 years)

  • Health information
  • State testing results
  • Cumulative File Access Logs (a log identifying persons or agencies who request or receive information from the student record)
  • Suspension Notices and Expulsion Records (Ed Code 48918 and 49079)
  • Parental restrictions/stipulations in special education programs, including required tests, case studies, authorizations, and evidence of eligibility for special education services and/or results for does not qualify.
  • Parental restrictions/stipulations regarding access to directory information
  • Parent/guardian or adult student rejoinders to challenged records and to disciplinary action
  • Parent/guardian authorization or denial of student participation in specific programs
  • Results of standardized tests administered within the last 3 years
  • Work Permits/Permits to Employ
  • Absence slips and verifications (5 CCR 400)
  • Independent Study evaluations/findings (Ed code 51747 (b))
  • 504 Plan Information (suggested, but not required by law)
  • Language Training Records and Verification of Exemption (English Learners)
  • Progress reports (required by Ed Code 49066 and 49067)
  • Special Education records

Special Education Specific Records-

Copies of all IEPs including:

o Signature pages

o Team Action pages

o Progress Reports on Goals

o Behavior Intervention Plans, where applicable

o All assessment reports from initial and triennial evaluations (psycho-educational, speech and language, OT, APE, FBA, Supplemental Support, and any other related service or evaluation)

o Test protocols

o Signed Assessment Plans

o Official Correspondence including Prior Written Notices, written formal requests from parents, etc.

o Completed Threat Assessments (considered discipline records)

Permitted/Disposable Student Records

(As long as student is enrolled, these records are maintained at the school site. Clearly important to current educational process of the student. May be disposed of after 6 months following pupil's completion of/or withdrawal from the district)

  • All disciplinary notices
  • Discipline data
  • Objective teacher/counselor ratings
  • Standardized test results older than three years
  • Verified reports of relevant behavioral patterns
  • Supplemental attendance records

Special Education Specific Permitted Records-

  • Student work samples/portfolios
  • Test protocols [DL5] if older than 3 years after administration
  • Service logs/notes
  • Suicide Risk Assessments/Contracts
  • Data records/Notebooks
  • Teacher observational notes


Emails that exist only on district computers are not required to be maintained by the district, and as such, are not considered to be student records. Those emails are not to be copied or provided in any manner.

However, emails that have been printed and saved, shared, or placed in a folder, special education container, cum folder or any other location where they are/could be deemed to be "maintained" are considered student records and must be copied and provided to the requester.

Emails should ONLY be provided if you have shared, printed, and maintained them and they are accessible to or shared with someone other than yourself. If they are maintained for personal use and reference and are not reviewed or discussed with anyone else, they are not student records. Always keep emails brief and professional. Do not continue an email by selecting "reply all". Start each email as a new email.

Use of personal emails, texts, tweets and any other personal means of electronic transmission of information about a student is not appropriate and is discouraged.

For additional information see Administrative Procedure (Link) #6520 Student Records, Retention and Destruction.

Student Records Location

(Cumulative Files, including Special Education Container)

Student records do not include informational notes related to a pupil, compiled by a school officer or employee, which remain in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute.

However, the following types of information become student records when shared with others: personal notes - including printed emails - placed in the student's cum folder, special education container or a provider's working file are considered to be a part of the student record once these notes or emails are placed in this type of file and are maintained by the district. It is recommended that this type of correspondence is not shared nor maintained.

The student's special education container must be stored with the student's cumulative file, which is generally maintained in the front office of the school. Special education containers may not be kept in a separate location from the student's cumulative file. For more detailed information, see Administrative Procedure 6525, "Release of Directory-Type Student Information."


20.2 Request to Review/Obtain Records - School in Session

A parent should start at the last school of attendance to request records. The request made at the school site may be in person orally or in writing, including via fax, recognized email or email attachment.

If circumstances prevent this, the parent may go directly to the Education Center, Special Education Division and complete a "walk-in" request form. This request will be faxed to the school to process.

Other school districts or non-public schools/agencies must fax the records request to the school site the student last attended or, if the school site cannot locate the requested records, fax to Education Center, Annex 6A at 619-725-7246.

No release of information is required from school districts, schools or school agencies.

Medical Agencies requesting health records with a release of information signed by the parent, must fax the records request to the school site the student last attended or, if the school site cannot locate the requested records, fax to Special Education Division Annex 6A, 619-725-7246.

20.2.1 Receipt of Records Request

Upon receipt of the records request from the parent/guardian, Student's case manager or a designated staff member must do the following:

Determine due date for records, which is 5 business days from receipt by district of request. Requests received after school hours will be noted as received on the next business day.

Notify all appropriate staff including related service providers and school psychologists that a request has been received. Include the due date for providing copies of records.

If copies are requested, and depending on the types of records requested, copies of records such as contents of the student's special education container, cum file, nurse's card and file, data sheets, and any other record that meets the definition of a student record must be made by the 5th business day following the request for records. Emails do not meet the definition of student records and may not be provided unless circumstance attributed to a student record applies.

Prepare "Fulfillment of Student Records Request". Parent should be asked to initial and date their receipt of the records upon picking up the records. When records are distributed, place a signed copy of the form/letter in the student's special education container.

Within 5 business days, inform the parent when records will be ready for review or when copies are ready to pick up. Parent may review or pick up records in the school office.

There is no requirement to mail records, however, in rare instances where the parent is absolutely unable to review or pick up records at the school site, the records may be sent certified mail with signature receipt requested, if deemed appropriate. Generally, it is expected that the parent will pick up the records from the school.

If parent requests, records may be faxed to a confidential fax number. Do not fax to a public place such as a postal center or office supply store.

If a parent is represented by an attorney or advocate (a signed notice of representation was provided to school site/district), records will NOT be provided to the attorney or advocate. The release of information does not require the school district to provide the records to attorneys and/or advocates. School staff should prepare the records and communicate with parents that records are ready and they can pick up the copies of records at no cost. Additional copies can be made upon request at 10 cents per page. For the budget code and information regarding billing for copies, contact Lisa Dreyer at ldreyer@sandi.net in the Special Education Division Office.

20.3 Request to Review/Obtain Records - School NOT in Session

If the regular school year is not in session, electronic records of IEPs and other records maintained on the district's electronic student information systems may be provided to the parent. Electronic records are not available for years prior to 2005.

A parent may request copies of records in person at the Education Center Annex 6A or via fax at 619-725-7246.

All parents/guardians/adult students requesting review or receipt of copies of records must present photo identification to receive any student information. Parent identification and verification in the district's student information system and on the IEP is required.

Requests for special education records when school is not in session will be documented in the Central Special Education Office Record Requests Database.

"Locked" IEPs are provided to the requester who must be the parent/guardian or court appointed attorney representing the student.

For DRAFT IEPs where it is clear an IEP meeting occurred, i.e., DRAFT information was shared, therefore the DRAFT records are now considered student records, copies may be provided. Evidence that a meeting occurred may be that the box was checked on the Signature Page stating the parent needed more time to consider the IEP, or that the meeting was not completed due to time constraints, or that there is information entered into the Team Action page.

Determination of whether an IEP meeting occurred may be difficult to make when school is not in session. The district will make every effort to accurately determine if DRAFT IEPs are considered to be student records or not.

Electronic IEPs are available beginning in 2005. Electronic IEP records prior to 2005 are no longer available.

Requests for electronic records of students attending a SDUSD school prior to 2005 will be documented, and the availability of records, or lack thereof, will be communicated to the requester.

20.4 Maintenance of Student Records

Mandatory or Interim Student records must be maintained for three (3) years after a student graduates with a high school diploma or ages out of special education services (or would have aged out if not attending). The last school of attendance is required to retain special education records. For more information see Definition of Student Records chart in Section 20.1 above.


20.5 Challenging the Content of Student Records

If a parent asks for record(s) to be removed from the student's file, the parent should be directed to the Administrative Procedure 6527 (section 16 on page 12 of 18) for challenging the contents of records. Parents may only challenge records that they allege are/have:

  • Inaccurate
  • Unsubstantiated personal conclusions or inferences
  • A conclusion or inference outside the observer's area of competence
  • Not based on the personal observation of a named person with the time and place of the observation noted
  • Misleading
  • In violation of the privacy or other rights of the pupil

District procedure requires the parent to first contact the principal to request removal of information that is of the type listed above. If there is disagreement about the parent's request, the parent may follow Administrative Procedure 6527 and file a written request seeking amendment or removal of any information that meets one of the above criteria. Within 30 days of receipt of request, the superintendent or designee or hearing panel shall meet with the parent. If the parent is dissatisfied with the resolution from the superintendent, designee or hearing panel, they may appeal to the governing board in writing.If the decision of the governing board is unfavorable to the parent, the parent has the right to submit a written statement of his or her objection to the information. This written statement becomes part of the student's record. Any release of records must include disclosure of the written statement.

Contact Information:

Special Education Division, Annex 6A

Phone (619) 725-7650 Fax (619) 725-7246