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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

E-mails are not considered “educational records” under IDEA and FERPA unless they are maintained as part of the student’s permanent file.

S.A. v. Tulare County Office of Education, 53 IDELR 111 (E.D. Cal. 2009): A federal district court rejected a claim by the parents of an autistic student that any and all e-mails, wherever kept by the school district, were “educational records.”

Noting the “fleeting nature” of e-mails (since “an e-mail may be sent, received, read, and deleted within moments”), the Court said that the idea that a parent or student could demand every e-mail that identifies a student, including those kept in individual inboxes or a retrievable electronic database, was “fanciful.”  Instead, the Court decided that, in order to become an “educational record” in accordance with FERPA and IDEA, the school district needs to print the e-mail and “maintain” a copy of the e-mail in the student’s permanent file (or, possibly, a secure electronic database; however the Court explicitly withheld judgment on that possibility).

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 at 9:44 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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