RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Child Advocacy
- Child Find
- Home School
- TN Statutory Rights of Parents and Students
- Section 504 and ADA
- Student Records and FERPA
- Unsafe School Choice
- School-Parent Contract
Child Advocacy Groups Contact Information
In addition to the state and local resources available to parents and children, there are many agencies and organizations that offer support, information, training, and help in advocating for persons with disabilities in Tennessee. A few of these organizations are listed below:
- The ARC of Williamson County
129 W. Fowlkes Street, Suite 151
Franklin, TN 37064
Fax: (615) 790-5891
- Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP)
712 Professional Plaza
Greeneville, TN 37745
- Tennessee Protection and Advocacy (TP&A)
416 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
- Tennessee Voices for Children
1315 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
These are but a few of the organizations available to help with information, training, and advocacy. For a more extensive list visit the Tennessee Disability Services-Disability Pathfinder Database. The Department of Education and Franklin Special School District do not intend this as an endorsement or recommendation for any individual organization or service represented in this list.
Child Find Initiative
The Franklin Special School District Child Find program identifies preschool through eighth-grade children with special education needs including intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism, specific learning disabilities, serious emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, intellectually gifted, traumatic brain injury, blindness, and the following impairments: speech/language, hearing, orthopedic, visual, and physical. Screenings and/or evaluations may be provided free of charge by the school district. If deemed necessary, the child may then be referred for special education services. If you suspect your child needs additional support to achieve his or her educational potential, please contact the FSSD Special Populations Department at 615-794-6624.
In Tennessee, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. For more information please visit the Tennessee Department of Education.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
Franklin Special School District, in its employment of personnel and in its educational activities with students, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or disability. Employees of the Franklin Special School District are appointed as coordinators of the various activities ensuring compliance with federal laws and regulations including the U.S. Department of Education regulations implementing: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Vocational Education Programs Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, and National Origin, Sex and Handicap. U.S. Department of Justice regulations implementing: Title II of the American Disabilities Act of 1990. For more information, please contact the FSSD Central Office at 615-794-6624.
Chapter 644 of the Public Acts of 2016 requires the department to annually compile a list of state laws related to the rights of students and their parents or legal guardians. This document includes a summary of the state laws that provide explicit rights to parents, legal guardians, or students and does not include all the legal protections and privileges afforded to students and their parents or legal guardians.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit discrimination against persons with a disability in any program receiving federal assistance, among others. Both federal acts define a person with a disability as anyone who:
- has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working);
- has a record of such impairment;
- is regarded as having such an impairment, or has had a record of such an impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligations under Section 504 and the ADA, the Franklin Special School District recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person on the basis of a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the district’s programs or practices. The school district has specific responsibilities under both acts, which include the responsibility to evaluate and determine if the child is eligible under Section 504/ADA, and to then afford access to appropriate educational accommodations. If the parent or guardian disagrees with the determination made by the professional staff of the school district, he/she has the right to a hearing with an impartial hearing officer. Inquiries or complaints regarding nondiscrimination policies should be directed to FSSD’s Section 504 compliance coordinator. For more information, please call (615) 794-6624. Inquiries and complaints may also be directed to the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue S.W., Washington D.C. 20202, or by calling (800) 421-3481 or (877) 521-2172
Rights of Children with Disabilities and Parent Responsibilities
Parents may access information about child advocacy groups and information on how to contact the state department of education for information on student rights and services from the Tennessee Department of Education Legal Services Division, 710 James Robertson Parkway, Andrew Johnson Tower, 5th floor, Nashville, TN 37243-0380, 615-741-2851, Fax: 615-253-5567 or 615-532-9412.
The Franklin Special School District (FSSD) collects and maintains student records to provide a basis for evaluation and delivery of services to students. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets out requirements designed to protect the privacy of parents and students. Specifically, the statute governs disclosure of records maintained by educational institutions. In brief, the statute provides that such institutions must provide parents of students access to official records directly related to the student, and an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate; that institutions must obtain the consent of parents before releasing personally identifiable data about students from records to other than a specified list of exceptions; and that parents and students must be notified of these rights.
Types of Information
The school system maintains various types of records as described below:
- Attendance Records
- Scholastic Records
- Medical Records
- Discipline Records including individual assessment
- Directory Information
- System-wide group test results
- Special Education data
Locations and Authorized Custodians
The primary source of access is the school in which a student is enrolled. The principal is the authorized custodian for these records. The Supervisor of Special Populations regulates records of students involved in Special Education Programs, including the dates of individual assessments. If a student leaves the FSSD, the student record will be sent to the new school upon written request from that school.
Transfer of School Disciplinary Records (a) NONAPPLICATION OF PROVISIONS- This section shall not apply to any disciplinary records with respect to a suspension or expulsion that are transferred from a private, parochial or other nonpublic school, person, institution, or other entity, that provides education below the college level. (b) DISCIPLINARY RECORDS- In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. 1232g), not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this part, each State receiving Federal funds under this Act shall provide an assurance to the Secretary that the State has a procedure in place to facilitate the transfer of disciplinary records, with respect to a suspension or expulsion, by local educational agencies to any private or public elementary school or secondary school for any student who is enrolled or seeks, intends, or is instructed to enroll, on a full- or part-time basis, in the school.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days after the day the FSSD receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the Director of Schools a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The Director will make arrangements for access and notification of the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the FSSD to amend a record should write the Director of Schools and clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed. If the district decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the district will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent (see below).
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the FSSD to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
DISCLOSURE WITHOUT CONSENT
One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
Upon request, the school discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.
FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the parent or eligible student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations. Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the parent or eligible student, §99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the school to record the disclosure. Parents and eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures. A school may disclose PII from the education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent of the parents or the eligible student –
- To other school officials, including teachers, within the educational agency or institution whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) – (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))
- To officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34. (§99.31(a)(2))
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as the State educational agency in the parent or eligible student’s State (SEA). Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf. (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid. (§99.31(a)(4))
- To State and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a State statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released, subject to §99.38. (§99.31(a)(5))
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction. (§99.31(a)(6))
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions. (§99.31(a)(7))
- To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes. (§99.31(a)(8))
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena. (§99.31(a)(9))
- To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36. (§99.31(a)(10)
- Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37. (§99.31(a)(11))
(pdf of FSSD Directory Information)
In compliance with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, 20 U.S.C.§1232(g)), Franklin Special School District:
may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless parents have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the FSSD to release information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include:
- A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
- The annual yearbook;
- Honor roll or other recognition lists;
- Graduation programs; and
- Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.
Directory information can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that publish yearbooks or sports conferences.
FSSD has designated the following PII contained in a student’s educational record as “directory information”:
- student name
- physical and electronic mail address
- date and place of birth
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- weight and height of members of athletic teams
- honors and awards
- dates of attendance and grade level
Public release can also include, but is not limited to, the district’s website and social media accounts. The FSSD produces news releases, web pages, publications, videos, and other media that highlights and describes student achievements in public education. These communications may include student images to be used on the school or district website, district social media accounts, as well as for promotional purposes in local, regional and national media (newspaper, radio or television stations). Upon enrollment, parents are asked to return a Publication Consent Form for Student Images or Work. If a parent or guardian does not want a student’s directory information released or published in any manner (i.e. school publications, such as the directory, the yearbook, honor roll or recognition lists, promotions programs and sports activity sheets), a Non-Release of Directory Information Form is available in the school office and should be completed and returned to the school. Forms remain active throughout a student’s time in the FSSD. It may only be voided by parent or guardian signature.
Unsafe School Choice Option
Each State receiving funds under this Act shall establish and implement a statewide policy requiring that a student attending a persistently dangerous public elementary school or secondary school, as determined by the State in consultation with a representative sample of local educational agencies, or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, as determined by State law, while in or on the grounds of a public elementary school or secondary school that the student attends, be allowed to attend a safe public elementary school or secondary school within the local educational agency, including a public charter school.
SCHOOL AND PARENT CONTRACT
To fulfill Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-6-7004 which was signed into law in2012, school districts are encouraged to develop and implement voluntary parental involvement contracts with the parents and guardians of students. FSSD chose to implement a School-Parent Contract with the belief that the involvement of parents in schools is an essential component of nurturing students and helping them reach their full potential. The administration, faculty and staff, the parents, and the students of FSSD schools share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement. This contract outlines how schools and parents will each play an important role in building and developing a partnership that will help children achieve Tennessee’s high standards.
State law requires that the following components be included as parent responsibilities in the contract:
- Review homework assignments and offer assistance when needed;
- Sign report cards;
- Ensure that the student gets to school each day, on time and ready to learn;
- Demonstrate interest in the student’s well-being by attending school functions and supporting the student’s school activities; and
- Make every effort to attend parent-teacher conferences
School leaders and parent representatives may add additional points to develop School-Parent Contracts which meet the unique school needs. Please see the contract posted at each school’s website to review any changes made at the local school level.
A strong partnership relies on open communication between the home and school. Schools are committed to contact parents regularly through email, phone calls, notes, and parent conferences. Parents are encouraged to be in contact with teachers if they have concerns about their child. If any parent conveys an existing obstacle to fulfilling the contract, the school will work with the family to help provide resources to overcome the challenge.
By May 1 of each year, participating districts submit a copy of the contract to the Tennessee Department of Education. Additionally, districts must submit the number of parents and percentage of parents signing contracts. The department of education shall include the data on parental involvement contracts on its annual report card.