The following was included in TCTA's 2017-18 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2017 but is subject to change. The information below is for information purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for advice from an attorney.

Parental rights under the Texas Education Code

Parents are entitled to: access their child’s records, including attendance records, test scores, grades, disciplinary records, health records, student evaluations and reports of behavioral patterns; review teaching materials, including textbooks and aids; and review each test the child takes after it is administered to the child’s class.

A 2002 Texas attorney general opinion addressed the question of whether a parent has unrestricted access to a child’s school counseling records. The opinion stated a very narrow exception to the general rule that all student records are available to parents. Under FERPA, a public school may withhold a minor child’s counseling records from a parent only if the records are kept in the sole possession of the counselor, are used only as the counselor’s personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the counselor.

In addition to the FERPA standards, state law provides that a licensed mental health practitioner may withhold a minor child’s records only if the practitioner determines that the release of such records “would be harmful to the patient’s physical, mental, or emotional health.” According to the Texas attorney general, a licensed mental health practitioner includes a licensed professional counselor but not a school counselor certified by SBEC.

Situations requiring written consent of parent

A parent must consent in writing before a school employee may conduct a psychological examination, test or treatment (except with regard to investigation of child abuse), or make a video- or audiotape of a child (unless the recording is used only for purposes of safety and discipline, including student safety in special education settings, co- or extracurricular activities, purposes related to regular instruction, or media coverage of the school). A parent may remove a child temporarily from a class or activity that conflicts with religious or moral beliefs.

See also Confidentiality of Student Records