The Student Record Regulations adopted by the Board of Education apply to all public elementary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. (They also apply to private day and residential schools that have state approval to provide publicly funded special education services.) The regulations are designed to insure parents’ and students’ rights of confidentiality, inspection, amendment, and destruction of student records, and to assist school authorities in carrying out their responsibilities under state and federal law.
The regulations apply to all information kept by a school or school district on a student in a way that the student may be individually identified. The regulations divide the record into two parts: the transcript and the temporary record. The transcript includes only the minimum information necessary to reflect the student’s educational progress. This information includes name, address, course titles, grades, credits, and grade level completed. The transcript is kept by the school district for at least sixty years after the student leaves the system.
The temporary record contains the majority of the information maintained by the school about the student. This may include such things as standardized test results; class rank; school-sponsored extracurricular activities; evaluations and comments by teachers, counselors, and other persons; disciplinary records; and other information. The temporary record is destroyed within seven years after the student leaves the school system.
The following is a summary of the major provisions of the Student Record Regulations concerning the rights of parents and eligible students. Under the regulations, “eligible students” are at least 14 years old or have entered the ninth grade; they may exercise these rights just as their parents may:
Inspection of Record: A parent or an eligible student has the right to inspect all portions of the student record upon request. The record must be made available within two days after the request, unless the parent or student consents to a delay.
The parent and eligible student have the right to receive a copy of any plan of the record, although the school may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of duplicating the materials.
The parent and eligible student may request to have parts of the record interpreted by a qualified professional from the school, or may invite anyone else of their choice to inspect or interpret the record with them.
Confidentiality of Record: Except where the regulations specifically authorize access by third parties, no individuals or organizations other than the parent, eligible student and school personnel working directly with the student are allowed to have access to information in the Student record without the specific, informed, written consent of the parent or eligible student.
LMACS protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable special education information at collection, storage, disclosure, and destruction stages. The Administrator of Special Education is the designated official of the school district and has the responsibility for ensuring the confidentiality of all personally identifiable information. All persons collecting or using personally identifiable information receive initial and annual training and instruction regarding confidentiality procedures.
A Log of Access is maintained in the student’s special education file in the office of the Director of Special Education. This Log includes the name of the party accessing the records, the data access was given, and the purpose for which the party was authorized to access the records.
Copies of personally identifiable information are made only upon written consent. Parents are provided with copies of student’s records at no cost.
Seven years after the termination of special education services, parents/DA/students over the age of 18 are informed that the personally identifiable information is no longer needed. Parents/DA/students over the age of 18 are given the opportunity to pick up this material prior to it being destroyed.
Amendment of Record: The parent and eligible student have the right to add relevant comments, information, or other written materials to the student record. In addition, the parent and eligible student have a right to request that information in the record be amended or deleted. They are entitled to meet with the Executive Director (or the Director’s designee) to discuss their objection to information that is in the record, and to receive a written decision. A parent or eligible student who is not satisfied with the Director’s decision may appeal to higher authorities in the school district.
Destruction of Records: The regulations require school authorities to destroy a student’s temporary record within seven years after the student transfers, graduates or withdraws from the school system. School authorities are also allowed to destroy misleading, outdated, or irrelevant information in the record from time to time while the student is enrolled in the school system. In each case, the school must first notify the parent and eligible student and give them the opportunity to receive a copy of any of the information before it is destroyed. The above is only a summary of some of the more important provisions of the Student Record Regulations that relate to the rights of parents and eligible students. The Student Record Regulations are included in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations at 603 CMR 23.00.
23.06: Destruction of Student Records
(1) The student’s transcript shall be maintained by the school department and may only be destroyed 60 years following their graduation, transfer, or withdrawal from the school system.
(2) During the time a student is enrolled in a school, the principal or their designee shall periodically review and destroy misleading, outdated, or irrelevant information contained in the temporary record provided that the eligible student and their parent are notified in writing and are given opportunity to receive the information or a copy of it prior to its destruction. A copy of such notice shall be placed in the temporary record.
(3) The temporary record of any student enrolled on or after the effective date of 603 CMR 23.00 shall be destroyed no later than seven years after the student transfers, graduates, or withdraws from the school system. Written notice to the eligible student and their parent of the approximate date of destruction of the record and their right to receive the information in whole or in part, shall be made at the time of such transfer, graduation, or withdrawal. Such notice shall be in addition to the routine information letter required by 603 CMR 23.10.
(4) In accordance with M.G.L. c 71, section 87, the score of any group intelligence test administered to a student enrolled in a public school shall be removed from the record of said student at the end of the school year in which such test was so administered.
Regulatory Authority: 603 CMR 23.00: M.G.L. c. 71, 34D, 34E.
The Director of Special Education shall be in charge of determining which records need to be destroyed at the end of each school year. A list of the students’ names is given to the Executive Director. The Executive Director will place a notice in the local newspaper notifying the former students of the need to destroy records. In addition, a letter must be sent to each student notifying them that they may retrieve their records before their files are destroyed.
Sample Notice for the destruction on students’ files after seven years:
Notice of Destruction of Special Education Records for the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School
Request copies of records by DATE
Attention Parents/Guardians, Former Students, Eligible (Adult) Students:
Special Education records which have been collected by the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School (LMACS) to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of Special Education must be maintained under state and federal laws for a period of seven years after Special Education services have ended for the student. Special Education services end when the student no longer is eligible for services, graduates, completes his or her educational program at age 22, or moves from the district.
This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of LMACS’s intent to destroy the Special Education records of students who were no longer receiving Special Education services as of the end of the 20__ -20__ school year. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. The purpose of destruction is to protect the student from improper and unauthorized disclosure of the confidential information contained within the file.
After seven years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but they may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for Social Security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records in writing or in person at the following address:
67 Middle Street, Lowell, MA 01852
Sample Letter to Former Students for Destruction of Records:
Our records indicate that you were enrolled as a student at the Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School receiving special education services. Because you either graduated, transferred, or withdrew from the charter school during or before the 20__-20__ school year, your records must be destroyed in accordance with state law unless you notify LMACS otherwise. The purpose of destruction is to protect the student from improper and unauthorized disclosure of the confidential information contained within the file.
After seven years, the records are no longer useful to the charter school, but they may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for Social Security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. You may request a copy of the records in writing or in person at the following address:
67 Middle Street
Lowell, MA 01852
All records that are not collected will be destroyed by DATE.