The Arizona law that governs access to school records is Arizona Revised Statutes section 15-141. That code section incorporates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which is a federal law that dictates when school records may be released.
Access to School Records
FERPA provides parents and students over the age of eighteen with the following rights:
- The right to review and inspect records maintained by an educational institution (copies of the records may be available for a fee if it is unreasonable for individuals to review the records in person);
- The right to request incorrect or misleading information be fixed. If the institution refuses to change the information, parents or qualified students may have other remedies, including requesting a hearing; and
- The right to give written permission before school records are disclosed to another party.
There are certain exceptions to the written approval requirement, including releasing information for the following reasons:
- The student is transferring to another school;
- Financial institutions require the information in connection with financial aid;
- A court has issued an order or subpoena requesting the information;
- The disclosure is necessary to assist with a medical or safety emergency; or
- Arizona law requires the information to be provided to state and local authorities (for example a student has been admitted to a juvenile detention facility).
Additionally, schools may release "directory" information about a student (name, contact information, birthday, etc.) without express approval. Parents and students must still be given the opportunity to ask that such information not be provided to the requestor.