The term 'parent' is defined by the California Education Code as follows:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of a student's educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
A recent decision from the CA Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) held that Parents are not allowed to inspect incident reports that are not maintained in the student's file as they are not considered education records. Saddleback Valley Sch. Dist., 57 IDELR 298 (SEA CA 2011). The issue turned on the location where the incident reports were kept within the school district. The IDEA permits parent's access to their children's education records. In this matter, the child who was enrolled in special education had twice been injured on her school's playground. On the first occasion, she fell, broke the foot-ankle brace she needed for support and bruised her calf. The second resulted in the injury of her wrist. The mother requested copies of the reports but her requests were denied. She subsequently filed a due process complaint alleging that the school district denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE) by failing to timely provide copies of education records. Because the school district did not keep incident reports in the student's file, the ALJ concluded they were not education records. The ALJ took notice that school district kept the incident reports in its risk management department at its business office; thus the reports weren't related to student's private education interests. It bears mentioning, however, the case did not specifically provide whether Parents tried to get the incident reports via a subpoena duces tecum. This may be a viable tool obtain the incident reports if a due process claim is filed.