1972 February 28

NYC School Principals Oppose Release of Student Files to Parents


The leaders of NYC school principals and other supervisors on this day expressed concern over a ruling by state school officials that parents had the right to see all the material in school files on their children. Paul Baker, head of the High School Principals Association argued that parents already had access to “much” of the data in students’ files, but that the release of everything would create “serious problems.” He cited the example of psychiatric evaluations of students, which he said were “highly confidential” and “should not be made available.”

Blanche Lewis, head of the United Parents Association, said she “welcomed” the state’s new policy on openness. She cited the example of one student whom a teacher labeled”paranoid” and “schizophrenic,” a judgment that was outside the professional competence of the teacher.

The 1974 Federal Education Amendment granted parents the right to inspect school files about their children. It also guaranteed the right of parents to add material rebutting any adverse allegations about their children. Schools, moreover, could not release student records to anyone without the permission of the parents.

Learn more about students’  rights today: ACLU Students Rights Handbook. Find it here.

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