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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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Accessing and Researching School Records

The school records or education records contain several important details about an individual. This makes them one of the frequently inspected ones. The general details that are incorporated into these records include complete name of the person, date of birth, list of addresses, name of parents, educational qualifications and relevant dates. Thus school records fulfill various kinds of requirements.


Common Reasons for Accessing School Records


The education records may be required to be inspected by the parent of the student of that school or the student himself. These records are often required to issue duplicate certificates and credentials in case the student has lost the original ones. A lot of governmental as well as nongovernmental organizations choose to view education records to verify the accuracy and the authenticity of the documents produced by a candidate while recruitment.

The education records may be simply inspected for locating an old school friend or an associate. Sometimes officials of the census bureaus may need information in these records to generate certain statistics and census reports. There are innumerable kinds of census reports generated in a particular country or state. The school authorities may simply access these records for their specific assessments.


Access Your Own School Records


The FERPA or The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act gives authorities to the parents of the students of a particular educational institution to acquire academic records. This law also ensures the privacy of these records. A student can only access his own records when he reaches the legal age of 18. The students enjoying these rights are referred to as the “eligible students”.

The parents and the eligible students can access the records directly from the school office. Copies would not be provided to them unless the subjects are placed at a great distance from the institution. A nominal fee may be charged for this purpose. The student or the parent may also challenge the institution on the accuracy of information. If the school refuses to make any amendments the parent may apply for a legal hearing or place statement regarding the changes that need to be made.

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Access Other’s School Records


Educational records are one of the confidential records of USA. These are maintained in the specific educational institutions. A person cannot access the educational records of another person without the consent of the subject. However, the school can release certain information without the permission of the student. These include:

• Students full name
• Address
• Phone number
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Dates of attendance
• Honors and awards received

But if the student has chosen to keep even such directory information confidential, the above details can be retrieved easily. Hence the consent of the student is the only way out. In special emergency cases pertaining to crime investigation and inspection the school might release the directory records without any prior notification.


Accessing School Records by Non-Custodial Parents


The FERPA codifies a “parent” to be the guardian, natural parent or the pseudo-parent who is looking after the student in the absence of the real ones. These individuals can access the school records. Therefore if the parent is a non-resident or a non-custodial one, he can apply to the school for the education records. The school will render access to the parents even if they are divorced or separated. But legally bound documents will only be provided to the parents with direct custody to the student.

For more information mail your queries at:
United States Department of Education
Washington, D.C. 20202
Rights of Non-Custodial Parents
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Of 1974.

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