How long should I keep Records?

I suggest you keep records (like IEPs) for as long as they show a skill deficit or impairment that still exists, where services exist to address it. Thus, as of today, that is age 25 at least.

Example: you have IU documents (IEP, evaluation report) that show a social skill deficit of expressive language at age two, which your son still needs instruction for; keep them.

Here are a few big reasons to keep SCHOOL RECORDS records;
Present known: you want to share them with other professionals outside school that are on your child’s team of experts, (such as doctors, audiologists, BHRS/wrap around, etc) to help get them up to speed on what your child needs/needed and how far they have come.

Future known: Public education’s IEP services end for our children in 21st birthday school year, and then BHRS and others end at age 21. But there may be a few other services available through college where these documents would be good information (such as state DPW programs or college’s disability services.) And, with the new federal insurance law, your child can be covered by your insurance to age 25 I understand. Future providers can be more effective with that history in those records.

the documents support your request or appeal for behavioral health services [BHRS via CCBH].
you have requested an IEE from your district and they agreed. The IEE examiner/specialist(s) should receive SCHOOL and non-school documents such as any evaluation report, and interventions [IEP and treatment plans] . These help ensure their independent evaluation is thorough, thoughtful and comprehensive. You should provide those IEE examiners all these documents so you are confident they have everything, EVEN IF your school indicates they will send them what they need. If your child’s skill levels gap is are far behind his/her peers, you will want to provide them documents going back to when the skill gap was small, or first suspected by someone.
in the event you have a dispute with a school district that requires an attorney gets involved. Documents record past issues and efforts, and you will need this evidence to help prove your case. You can safely assume your district will save very few of the school records that you also have. They may save the bare minimum; IEP meeting invitations and sign in, IEP, evaluation report, NOREP and progress/grade reports, and then perhaps only for six years (the minimum under GEPA/FERPA).
If you decide to obtain an advocate, or private consultant (say for behaviors), you want them to be thoroughly familiar with the unique facts; your child’s present and past needs and what was done, and what worked. The most efficient way to do this is provide them copies of those records.


Take Action.
In December 2009, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act was introduced in Congress, H.R. 4247 and S.2860.

Call Congress, 202-224-3121 (TTY 202-225-1904). Ask for your Senators and Representative's office's education aide. Be sure to say your call/email is about the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act, and give the number, H.R. 4247 in the House and S. 2860 in the Senate.If you get voicemail, leave a detailed message. [email or local number: for the House, and

It's been happening for a while.

Read about the Willowbrook case in the book Willowbrook Wars by David Rothman. Robert Kennedy, after touring Willowbrook in 1975 noted the conditions for over five thousand adults diagnosed with mental retardation were "less comfortable and less cheerful than the a zoo".

Willowbrook Consent Decree (pdf)

Feb 2009 Time Out Rooms a Public Health Hazard, by Dee Alpert, Esq.

More reports on restraint and abuse of children in NY (Special Education Muckraker) including: a 2003 Study that reported 1997 IDEA amendments on Discipline were not enforced.












Laws and regulations about education records include The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), and state policies.

Education records are "files, documents, and materials containing information directly related to a student that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for the agency/institution, including part-time and contractual staff." Note then, that the definition does not specifically designate parent correspondence or private evaluations an 'education record'.

In Pennsylvania, districts must keep special education records for at least six years, according to Pa Dept of Education. [General education records are different.] This ensures the special education documents are available for the cyclical monitoring activities the Pa Dept of Education carries out in every school district, every six years for compliance with IDEA. 'Compliance' is measured in part simply by dates and signatures on IEPs, NOREPS and meeting invitations. Thus, since 'compliance' is dependent on a few documents, these few documents are often the only ones kept.

School districts may also add to FERPA and GEPA with board adopted policies addressing keeping other records, such as parent correspondence noting concerns.

As far as general education records (attendance, grades, graduation date, etc, ) IDEA says that a permanent record of a student’s name, address, phone number, grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level completed, and year completed may be maintained without time limitations. This is usually then just general education information, not anything related to the student's special education.




    © 2011 Amber Mintz 610-927-9904- business hours; 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday