Records & Health Policies
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents have certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
Definition of Student Records
“Student Records" shall mean any written or recorded information concerning a student by which a student may be individually identified and which Explore Community School maintains. They may include, but are not limited to, the following; basic identifying information, academic transcript, attendance records, health records, performance scores on standardized assessments, disciplinary records, records from previous schools. Recorded information maintained by a staff member for his or her exclusive use, or his or her substitute, shall not be considered a part of the student records.
Inspection of Student Records
Parents shall have the right to inspect, challenge and copy student records of that parent's child until one of the following events occurs:
- The student attains 21 years of age; or
- The student attains 18 years of age-and declares himself or herself financially independent of his or her parents.
Student records shall be made available to parents and eligible students within fifteen (15) school days of the time a written request for review is submitted to the Office Manager.
Right to Control Access of Student Records
School officials shall release student records to the official records custodian of another school in which the student has enrolled or intends to enroll upon the written request of such official or student, provided that the parent receives prior written notice of the nature and substance of the information to be transferred. Parents may, upon written request, inspect copy and challenge such information. Once parents have been notified of their right to inspect, copy and challenge information to be transferred to another school and the parents do not respond within ten (10) school days, the records shall be forwarded to the requesting school.
Access to Records Without Parent Consent
School staff members who have a current and legitimate educational interest in the student records shall have access as needed for professional purposes to both the student’s permanent and temporary records.
School officials shall release student records without parent permission pursuant to a valid court order or subpoena presented by local, state or federal officials. However, the school officials shall notify the parents in writing regarding the judicial order and the information so provided.
Student records may be made available to researchers for statistical purposes, provided that: a) Permission has been received from the State Superintendent of Education; and b) No student or parent shall be personally identified from the information released.
Information may be released without parental consent in connection with an emergency to appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.
If a student is 18 years of age and the student is financially independent of parents, the student may request the parents be denied access to his or her records. A student who desires to declare himself or herself financially independent of his or her parents shall submit a request in writing to the school's records custodian.
A parent shall have the right to challenge the accuracy, relevance or propriety of any entry in the student records of his or her child, exclusive of grades. A request to challenge the contents of a student record shall be made in writing to the school by the parents and shall state in specific terms what entries in their child's record are being challenged. The Principal shall conduct an informal conference with the parents within fifteen (15) school days of the receipt of the written challenge.
Maintenance of School Records
Student permanent records and the information contained therein shall be maintained for a period of sixty (60) years after the student has transferred, graduated or permanently withdrawn from school. Student temporary records shall be maintained until August 1st of the year the student transfers, graduates or permanently withdraws from school. The records of special education students shall be maintained for a period of three (3) years. Information maintained by staff members for their exclusive use shall be destroyed by the staff member maintaining the information no later than the student's transfer, graduation or permanent withdrawal from the school. The Principal shall be responsible for having all student records verified and to eliminate or correct all out-of-date, misleading, inaccurate, unnecessary or irrelevant information on all students’ files.
Mandated Reporter Policy
According to TCA 37-1-403(i)(1), all school personnel are mandated reporters of suspected abuse and/or neglect. Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child maltreatment immediately when they have reason to believe that harm has come to a child that “reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.” Under this law, failure to report such abuse is a Class A Misdemeanor.
Once any staff member becomes aware that a student may be the victim of abuse or neglect, they must:
- Call the DCS central intake hotline at (877) 54-ABUSE (552-2873)
- Notify the principal
- Complete an Explore Community School incident report.
When calling the hotline, the staff member must have the following information (or as much as is known): the name, birth date, and address of the alleged victim; the name, address, age or birth date, and relationship of the alleged perpetrator; what type of injury or harm was allegedly done to the victim; and a description of the incident (time/date, place in which it occurred, and indication of intention to harm). The staff member should also have the names and ages of other children in the household, information as to whether or not English is fluently spoken by the parents and the work phone number of the alleged perpetrator.
While these steps are taking place, the Principal will assist both the faculty member and student in understanding the ramifications of the call. The Principal will debrief the student and, when appropriate, will contact the parent(s)/guardian.
No one in the workplace, even a supervisor, is permitted to suppress, change, or edit a report of abuse. A mandated reporter who willfully fails to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect is subject to license suspension or revocation, and commits a misdemeanor. Falsely reporting information to the hotline is also a misdemeanor.
Health and safety are a top priority at Explore. Before a student can enroll in the school, the school must have on file the following forms:
- Medical Requirements Checklist. This form contains records showing that the student has: 1) up-to-date immunizations; and 2) permission to receive screening for vision, hearing, and scoliosis.
- Health Information Form. This form provides important information about a student’s emergency contacts, health care providers, and insurance. Most importantly, it gives the school permission to initiate emergency medical treatment in the event that a parent or guardian cannot be reached.
- Authorization to Dispense Medication Form. If a student requires medication while in school, the school must have on file an Authorization to Dispense Medication form, completed by the student's physician. No student is allowed to bring medication to the school without the school's full knowledge. Students who have provided the school with medication dispensation authorization forms should bring the medication (other than Tylenol and ibuprofen, which the school will stock in the main office) to the school on the first day, or contact to the school to make other arrangements. All medication must be presented in its original container from the pharmacy and must be brought in by a parent or accompanied by a note from the parent.
- School Sickness. If a student has had vomiting, diarrhea, pick-eye, or a fever, then they are not allowed back in school until 24 hours after that illness has been resolved and necessary medicines have been started. This is to allow the student to heal and prevent the spread of communicable illness across the school community.
The medication dispensation authorization form requirement applies to all medication, including Tylenol and ibuprofen. If a student needs to take Tylenol or ibuprofen during the school day, he/she must have on file the authorization signed by his or her physician and a parent or guardian, giving the school permission to administer the medication during the school year. The medication dispensation authorization form requirement also applies to asthma inhalers, which students should keep in their backpacks. If a student needs to use his/her asthma inhaler during the school day, he/she should go to the main office to self-administer the inhaler.
All students needing medicine to be administered at school require the following:
- A medical administration form signed by your doctor
- Medicine must be in the original bottle
- Medicine need to be transported and dropped off at the school by the parent, students cannot transport medicine via backpack