By Winona W. Zimberlin


The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the basic background required to represent students who are involved in disputes with schools. The rights of students in public schools, private schools and post-secondary institutions are discussed. The additional protections for students with disabilities are discussed. Procedures for Connecticut hearings are addressed. The chapter contains a review of the leading case law and an overview of the most significant legislation on both the state and federal level.

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Who’s Reading Your Child’s School Records? Are they really private?

Your longtime client calls you one evening in great distress to tell you that she just got an expulsion notice for her 13 year old son – and the hearing is in two days. Your college age daughter calls to tell you she has been accused of cheating – and her hearing is tomorrow. Another client is dissatisfied with her child’s special education program and wants to know what to do. What do you do if you are not an education law attorney? One of the first things you should do, in any of these situations, is to request access to and a complete copy of the student’s educational records from the school. You can do this even if you are a general practitioner with no knowledge of the substantive law. The records will provide you with a wealth of information. What rights do you have to see those records? Check out the FERPA statute and its regulations.

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