When it comes to their children's schooling, some parents are more involved than others, but all parents have specific legal rights. These rights dictate what a parent can and cannot do in regard to school and what is available to the parents and their children. Schools have rules of their own, but the law covers all schools.
Although a school may discourage a parent from spending excessive time at the school for the purpose of observing, parents do have the legal right to visit the school. These visits typically will need to be arranged, however, and a time limit will likely be placed on the visit. A parent does have a right to know what goes on at the school and to see the environment in the classroom. A school can refuse the visit if the parent has previously not followed the rules in regard to visitation.
A school keeps several different types of records on its students. These records include academic and disciplinary files. A parent has the legal right to see any record that relates to his child. These records must be requested from the school, typically in writing ahead of time. The school is not legally required to give the parent a physical copy of the records, but some schools will do so. The school is only required to allow the parent to review the records.
Refusal of Psychological Testing
Sometimes when a child is having difficulties in class, the school may request that the child be given psychological testing or even treatment. However, it is a parent's right to determine whether or not her child will go through with this request. A school cannot seek legal repercussions for a parent who refuses to have this testing or treatment done for her child. The only exception to this law is if the child poses a physical threat to classmates or the teacher. Testing for special school services is also exempt from this law.
Individualized Education Programs
An individualized education program, or IEP, is available for students with disabilities. It is a parent's right to request an IEP through the public schools in his area, even if the child attends a private school or is home-schooled. A school must legally complete the IEP in a reasonable amount of time so the student can take advantage of the services he needs as soon as possible. When an IEP is developed, it is the parent's right to review the plan, as well as appeal any part of it that he feels is incorrect.
In some situations, a parent may not agree with some part of the curriculum that is being used at a school. If this part of the curriculum infringes on the religious or moral beliefs of the family, a parent can legal file an exemption with the school to allow her child to skip participating in this part of the curriculum. A statement requesting this exemption must be filed in writing with the school. This request cannot be used to avoid a test or an entire quarter or semester.