Arizona education records contain the student information of a particular school that is managed by an appropriate authority, usually the institution or a state agency. The Arizona Department of Education has jurisdiction over matters that concern public education in Arizona. Some education records may be kept private and unavailable to avoid divulging the sensitive information of minors in the educational records. Records with information regarding a minor are mostly restricted from the general public’s view to protect the minor’s privacy. Under the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 39, anyone can get education records that qualify as public information.
Types of Educational Records in Arizona
The state considers student information as educational records used and stored in the school system. The information can be the following:
- Yearbooks: Yearbooks are created annually and contain information on the students individually or by their classes. In a yearbook, you can see the pictures, names, personal achievements, and related personal details of a student.
- Alumni Directories: Alumni directories are books that contain information on persons that attended the school. They can help to find the location or contact information of alumni in case a person wishes to contact them. Alumni directories may be compiled during significant school events that involve alumni, such as the school anniversaries or alumni get-togethers.
- Student grades and report cards: The compilation of the results and report cards of students are also contained in their educational records. However, such information may be confidential.
- Transcripts: A transcript is the summary of a student’s academic information during the entirety of their period in a school. Transcripts contain important educational information regarding a student, including grades, certificates, honors received, and degrees.
- Health Records: Schools usually keep health information for emergencies and wellness purposes. It provides medical histories, including all ailments and allergies. However, there is limited access to health information if it is not for specified purposes.
Education records can refer to any variety or form of information as long as it involves a student. It may be emails, documents, audio recordings, videotapes, and other items.
Access to Education Records in Arizona
There is a restriction on the availability of the records to any party considered ineligible. Per the Arizona Revised Statutes section 15-141, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) law governs general access to the record. The FERPA law states who has the authority to view and inspect the academic information of students. Typically, the students or parents are the only individuals conferred unrestricted means to view education records. The law forbids schools from sharing the records with unauthorized persons and agencies. FERPA laws mandate the school to inform the parent and student of their privileges annually.
Under the FERPA laws, parents have the main access to get the records. Students also become qualified when they turn eighteen years old or commence a college education. They enjoy the following privileges:
- They can view and examine records kept at the institution. However, the educational institution can decide to provide copies of the records or not. An exception is if the parent or student cannot review the records in person for valid reasons.
- Upon examining a record and noticing an error, they have the right to tell the school to amend it. If the school fails to modify the error, a formal hearing may ensue. The parent or student can make a public statement concerning the inaccuracy of the information upon further refusal by the school to amend it after the hearing.
- The school cannot provide the records to anyone else without the express consent of the student or parent. However, FERPA allows legitimate parties to inspect or get the records under specified situations. They include:
- When a student switches schools, the previous school can send copies of relevant records to the new school.
- Officials with genuine concern for the student’s academics.
- If a court or judicial subpoena mandates the provision of the record.
- The school can give the records to organizations for accreditation.
- The school can give out students medical histories and information during medical emergencies.
- Arizona laws that concern the juvenile justice system may mandate the release of the records. Such laws allow the disclosure to facilitate schemes or services to rehabilitate minors held by the juvenile justice system. Likewise, the disclosure is also permitted to decrease juvenile crime and prevent delinquent behavior.
- Agencies or organizations that grant financial support may require the records.
On their initiative, schools can publicly provide directory information of students/alumni. Such information may include the student’s full name, age, location of birth, residential address, degree, the date they attended the school, and phone contact. Before the disclosure, the school must inform the parent and student about the disclosure. They can contest the disclosure with the appropriate authority.
Making an Education Records Request
Education records in Arizona are not provided by a particular agency such as the Arizona Department of Education. You can find them at the district level or the local schools. However, you will need to confirm if the law considers you as an eligible party fit to get the records.
Typically, unrestricted disclosure is available to either a parent or a student (18 years and above).
You can contact the school district or administration overseeing the school to confirm your eligibility and other obligations to be fulfilled to make your request. The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools provides a request form to complete and send via email for public information requests. You can also send the form via mail to:
Arizona State Board for Charter Schools
P.O. Box 18328
Phoenix, AZ 85005
Records such as transcripts or test scores are only obtainable at the institution. If you are eligible to obtain this, you can write to the district or school.