School records created by a high school, elementary school, private school, or school district, can loom as an unknown for many parents. Parents often don't even think about what may be in these files. One way to debunk the mystery of what is being documented on your child is to make a written request for the education records.
Per California Education Code Section 49069.7 (previously 49069, but renumbered as of 1/1/2020), a parent has an absolute right to access their child's records. This right transfers to a student when they turn 18.
Section 49069.7 states as follows:
Parents of currently enrolled or former pupils have an absolute right to access to any and all pupil records related to their children that are maintained by school districts or private schools. The editing or withholding of any of those records, except as provided for in this chapter, is prohibited.
Access to records at public schools should be provided within 5 business days. Private school timelines are not clearly outlined in section 49069.7, but the records still must be provided timely.
You never know what may be in your child's school records. Most families will not find anything untoward. Sadly, however, I have seen some parents shocked at just what was contained in their child's files, and thereafter needing to pursue a records correction.
Originally published 6/8/11, updated 11/28/17 and 1/7/20