Right to Medical and School Records

updated 10 July 2019

by Wes Cowell

Parents always have a right to their child's medical and education records.  It doesn't matter if your Parenting Plan doesn't say so, and you're wasting time if you're trying to secure those rights.  You already have those rights . . . just because you're a parent -- the law says so.  Need advice?   Callleave your info, or schedule a consult.

 

Medical, Dental, Child-Care, and School Records:  Both parents are allowed access to their children’s records, including school, child care, and health records, whether or not they have an award of parental responsibility and even if they have not been awarded parenting time.  A judge can deny this right through a court order only if the court finds it would not be in the child's best interest.  A parent who is a respondent an Order of Protection where the child is a "protected person" is automatically denied the right unless the court grants it.

The law says:

Sec. 602.11. Access to health care, child care, and school records by parents. 
    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, access to records and information pertaining to a child including, but not limited to, medical, dental, child care, and school records shall not be denied to a parent for the reason that such parent has not been allocated parental responsibility; however, no parent shall have access to the school records of a child if the parent is prohibited by an order of protection from inspecting or obtaining such records pursuant to the Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.
    (b) Health care professionals and health care providers shall grant access to health care records and information pertaining to a child to both parents, unless the health care professional or health care provider receives a court order or judgment that denies access to a specific individual. Except as may be provided by court order, no parent who is a named respondent in an order of protection issued pursuant to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 shall have access to the health care records of a child who is a protected person under the order of protection provided the health care professional or health care provider has received a copy of the order of protection. Access to health care records is denied under this Section for as long as the order of protection remains in effect as specified in the order of protection or as otherwise determined by court order.

750 ILCS 5/602.11

School Records:  "FERPA!!" Say it loud, say it proud.  If you want your kid's report card and the school gives you a hard time because they want some magic words and incantations in a special court order, just ask them ". . . ever heard of FERPA?"

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).  FERPA is a federal law that supercedes the Illinois law, above.  FERPA affords parents (married, divorced, never-married, whatever) certain rights with respect to the student's education records.  If a school violates those rights, it risks losing all of it's federal funding.  Mentioning FERPA to a school principal is a direct threat (a very big one, too) to that school's financial bottom line.

FERPA says parents (married, divorced, never-married, whatever) have the right to

  • review the student's education records within 45 days of demand.  Send a written request (send it certified mail, return receipt requested);

  • request that records be amended to correct inaccurate, misleading, or other discrepancies that violate the student's privacy rights under FERPA (again, put it in writing, be very clear and specific about what you want changed and why, and send it certified mail, return receipt requested);

  • demand that the school obtain written consent from the parent before disclosing personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records;

  • if you have a problem with the above, you may file a complaint with the US Department of Education:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washingotn, DC   20202

  

 

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