California Privacy of School Records Laws

Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated June 20, 2016

California School Record Privacy Law at a Glance

California privacy of school records laws adhere to the federal standards set forth by the Family Educational Records Protection Act (FERPA), which guarantees free parental access to student school records. California has not passed laws that go beyond FERPA protections, as some other states have. According to information provided by the California Dept. of Education, the state may have access to the following types of sensitive student data:

  • Name, address, ID number, race/ethnicity, gender, date and place of birth, contact information of legal guardian(s)
  • Attendance records
  • Academic information such as grade level completed, courses taken, graduation date
  • Scores on standardized tests
  • Any disciplinary actions taken
  • Eligibility data pertaining to free school lunch program, special education services, etc.

Federal Protection of School Records

Federal law (FERPA) protecting the privacy of school records only applies to public schools receiving funding from the federal government. For students in schools governed by FERPA younger than 18, the law provides the following protections:

  1. Students and their parents have the right to review any records (of the respective student) maintained by the school; schools are permitted to charge a fee for making copies of records
  2. Students and their parents may ask the school to correct records determined to be incorrect or misleading; may ask for a formal hearing if the school refuses to make changes (where the validity and reasonableness of the request is determined)
  3. Schools must obtain written permission from the student and/or parent before disclosing any of this protected information (with some exceptions)