While problems with custody agreements are usually caused by the other parent acting alone, school records is an are where they can get themselves some help from unwitting school employees. The custodial parent will tell the secretary who they are friends with or have become friends with that the non-custodial is not allowed to have the child’s school records. Now you are facing a team of people that believe you are the one in the wrong when you are in the right.
The truth on this issue is that both federal law and Ohio state law grant to non-residential (non-custodial) parents the same right to receive copies of their children's school records that residential (custodial) parents have. Now there can be an exception to this and that is if the court issues an order that the non-custodial be prohibited from the child’s school records. Absent that within the orders, and it does have to be specific, each parent has equal access to the records.
The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), grants to all parents— custodial and noncustodial—the right to inspect their child's school records unless this right has been specifically legally revoked.
Section 99.4 of FERPA states:
An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.
Section 3109.051 of the Ohio Revised Code goes even further. It requires that:
a parent of a child who is not the residential parent of the child is entitled to access, under the same terms and conditions under which access is provided to the residential parent, to any record that is related to the child and to which the residential parent of the child legally is provided access, unless the court determines that it would not be in the best interest of the child for the parent who is not the residential parent to have access to the records under those same terms and conditions.
The Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators provides a useful summary of Ohio law concerning access to children's school records, activities, and events on their Letter of the Law page.
If you want to see the Ohio actual law, please click here.
If you want to read the Federal law (FERPA), please click here.