Parent's Rights

Parent Rights

Excerpted from The Student Handbook, Section 3.3, page 28-34

Right To Be Included in the Educational Process

Under state law, parents/guardians of enrolled students have the right to be included in the educational process and to have access to the system on behalf of their children.

These rights are outlined in the CA Education Code 51101, and include the right to: Observe the classroom; Meet with the teacher; Volunteer; Notice of unexcused absences; Notice of performance on standardized tests; Request a specific school; Safe school environment; Review curriculum materials; Notice of student academic expectations and progress; Access and question content in student records; Notice of school rules; Notice and consent for psychological testing; Participation on councils and committees; Timely notice if student is at risk of retention.

The Family-School Partnership Act is a law that allows parents, grandparents, and guardians to take time off from work from some employers to participate in their children’s school or childcare activities. More information about Parents’ Rights can be found at and

Tutoring or Private Lessons. Employees cannot be hired to tutor or provide private lessons to a student who is enrolled at the school where the employee is assigned. An employee who wishes to tutor or provide services to a student at another site must first request authorization from their supervisor. (SFUSD Board Policy 4036)

Volunteers and Visitors

All visitors to a school, including parents, must sign in at the main office and receive proper authorization to be in the school. Visitors may be asked by the school site staff to display their passes as requested.

The school site principal has the authority to prohibit conduct or activity that may interfere with student safety, interfere with instruction, or otherwise disrupt normal school activities. The following types of restrictions shall apply to minimize disruptions and safety concerns at school sites. However, this list is not exhaustive and the principal may develop additional reasonable restrictions:

  1. Visitors should make advance arrangements to meet with school staff to minimize the interruption of instructional time and work responsibilities. UESF Teachers Contract Section 14.2.5 requires 24 hours advance notice prior to a classroom observation unless agreed to otherwise by both parties.
  2. School and classroom observations must be limited to 30 minutes to avoid disruption (including observations by parents or parent-invited assessors), unless alternative arrangements have been made, or except where the observation is being made by an assessor in accordance with CA Education Code 56329 (b). Note that all non-parent observers must be accompanied by school staff for observations and this must be pre-arranged.
  3. Students visiting another school must have prior authorization from the home school principal as well as the site principal before entering the school site during school hours.
  4. Dogs or other pets are not permitted on campus. This restriction does not apply to service animals.

The school site administrator/principal may deny or withdraw access to the school if the visitor willfully disrupts the orderly operation of the school; commits an act likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of school activities; or reasonably appears to have entered the school for the purpose of committing any such act. (CA Penal Code 626.4, 626.7)

No electronic listening or recording device may be used in a classroom without the prior consent of the teacher and principal of the school, given to promote an educational purpose. This prohibition applies to all persons, including students. (CA Education Code 51512)

All staff or volunteers who will have more than limited contact with SFUSD students are required to clear both a criminal background check and a tuberculosis test. SFUSD defines “more than limited contact” as: the volunteer has the opportunity to be alone with a student or group of students at any time (without supervision by school staff) and/or the person may have the opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with a student or group of students.

SFUSD Board Policy 1240 provides that parents do not need to get fingerprinted if they are volunteering at their own child’s school.

Notification of Rights Under FERPA and PPRA for Elementary and Secondary Schools (Student Records/Privacy Rights)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords 1) Parents of students 17 and younger; and 2) Parents of students 18 and older if the student is dependent for tax purposes on certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal (or appropriate school official) a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the school principal (or appropriate official), clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them 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.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes 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) or law enforcement unit personnel as required by law; a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the school has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill their 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. NOTE: FERPA requires a school district to make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or student of the records request.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the school to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are: Family Policy Compliance Office U. S. Dept. of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5901

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) affords parents certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:

Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED):

  1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
  2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
  3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
  4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
  5. Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
  6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
  7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
  8. Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.

Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of:

  1. Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
  2. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
  3. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.

Inspect, upon request and before administration or use:

  1. Protected information surveys of students;
  2. Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
  3. Instructional material used as part of the education curriculum.

These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under State law. San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has developed and adopted policies, in consultation with parents, regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected information surveys and the collection, disclosure or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. SFUSD will directly notify parents of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes. SFUSD will also directly notify, such as through U.S. Mail or email, parents of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below and will provide an opportunity for the parent to opt their child out of participation of the specific activity or survey. SFUSD will make this notification to parents at the beginning of the school year if the District has identified the specific or approximate dates of the activities or surveys at that time. For surveys and activities scheduled after the school year starts, parents will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys. Following is a list of specific activities and surveys covered under this requirement:

  • Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales or other distribution.
  • Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
  • Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.

Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with: Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-5901

More information on access to student records is available in chapter 3.4.1

Access to the Title IX Compliance Coordinator (Gender Discrimination/Sexual Harassment)

Public Notice: District Compliance Coordinator for Title IX Regulations

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act provides that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The Title IX Compliance Coordinator provides information about nondiscrimination policy and complaint procedures; ensures that appropriate training is provided on a frequent and regular basis; and monitors District actions in response to allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault.

For Title IX information, a copy of the Procedures for Complaints and Resolutions or assistance in filing a complaint, call the Title IX Compliance Coordinator, Keasara Williams, at (415) 355-7334 or

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 2015

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) took full effect in 2018 to replace the No Child Left Behind Act in modifying the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). If updates are provided by the California Department of Education, the following parent notice requirements may change and new notice requirements may be added.

Under ESSA, families have the following rights:


Upon request, parents have a right to information regarding the professional qualifications of their student’s classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, and aides. This includes whether the teacher meets the state qualifications and licensing criteria for the grades and subjects they teach, whether the teacher is teaching under an emergency permit or other provisional status because of special circumstances, the teacher’s college major, whether they have any advanceddegrees and the subject(s) of those degrees, and whether any instructional aides or paraprofessionals provide services to your child and, if so, their qualifications. Districts shall also notify parents if their child has been assigned to or has been taught for 4 or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified.


Upon request, parents have a right to information on the level of achievement of their student on every State academic assessment administered to the student.


The Act requires prior notice be given to parents of limited English proficient students regarding the limited English proficiency programs, including the reasons for the identification of the student as limited English proficient, the need of placement in a language instruction educational program, the student’s level of English proficiency, how such level was assessed, the status of the student’s academic achievement, the methods of instruction used in the programs available, how the recommended program will meet the student’s needs, program performance, parent options to remove student from a program and/or decline initial enrollment, and expected rate of transition into classrooms not tailored to limited English proficient students. Parents shall be notified when their child’s school is identified as a “program improvement” school and the opportunities for school choice and supplemental instruction.


Upon written request, parents may direct that their student’s name, address and telephone listing not be released without prior written parental consent.

Prohibition Against Charging Student Fees

California law prohibits public schools from charging student fees for public education, unless the fee is specifically authorized under the law. (SFUSD Board Policy 3260)

  • All supplies, materials, and equipment needed to participate in “educational activities” shall be provided to students free of charge. • A fee waiver policy shall not make a student fee permissible.
  • “Educational activity” means an activity that constitutes an integral fundamental part of elementary and secondary education, including, but not limited to, curricular and extracurricular activities.
  • Schools are permitted to solicit voluntary donations of funds or property; voluntary participation in fundraising activities; and may provide prizes or other recognition to students for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities.

Form: Cal Grant Applicant Opt Out Form

Form: Kindergarten To College Opt-Out Form

This page was last updated on June 6, 2022