Frequently Asked Questions

Kids at school
  • What is a public record?
    Per RCW 42.56.010, a public record "includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics."

    Are student records public records?
    Yes, however, student records are federally protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Student record requests should be directed to the school office where the student last attended. A directory containing Everett Public Schools phone numbers can be found by selecting the "contact" link on any page of the district website.

    How do I request public records?
    Instructions for requesting public records can be found on our Requesting Public Records webpage. 

    Why do I need an appointment to examine public records?
    Before public records can be made available for examination, staff need time to gather and prepare the requested records and to notify third parties affected by the request. We also need to ensure that appropriate staff are available to monitor examination of records.

    I thought you had five days to respond to my request; it's been over a week and I don't have my records. Why?
    While we make every effort to provide the requested records as quickly as possible,"respond" does not always mean "receive" within five days. The Public Records Act prescribes specific details of how a public agency must respond to a public records request (RCW 42.56.520). Within five days following receipt of a public records request, we must do one of the following:

    • Make the requested records available for inspection; or
    • Provide the requested records; or  
    • Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate of when records will be available; or  
    • Seek clarification if the request is unclear or does not adequately identify the records sought; or
    • Deny the request in accordance with state law.

    What factors determine how long it will take the district to complete my records request?
    There are many factors that must be considered when determining how long it will take the district to fully respond to a request, including the size and scope of the request, the number of requests already being processed by the district, and staff availability to handle the requests. As our business is about students, some of the information contained in certain records may be protected under federal and state privacy laws. Sometimes these records requests may require additional time to notify third parties affected by the request, or to determine whether any of the information requested is exempt from disclosure (RCW 42.56.520).  

    What is a third party notification?
    RCW 42.56.520 allows the district time to notify any person that may be affected by the release of a public record. If we believe there are affected third parties, the district will notify the requester that it requires additional time to complete their request while we provide notification to any affected third parties. This notification provides ample time for an affected third party to review the request and, if desired, exercise their right to seek injunctive relief from the courts.

    Does the district have to release records to requesters?
    We are required by law to make public records available for viewing upon request (RCW 42.56.070).

    Are there any records that the district cannot share with the public?
    Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). There are also public records that are exempt from public disclosure because they contain information that is exempt from public viewing. Some examples include personal information, banking information, and information that could be used to obtain a driver’s license or other form of identification (date of birth, social security number, home address, personal phone number, etc.).

    Why does the requester want this record?
    A person who requests a public record is not required to disclose the reason they want the record. In an effort to more clearly understand the records being sought, the district can inquire as to the reason for the request but the requester is not required to answer the question.

    What about a person’s right to privacy?
    When it comes to public records, a person’s right to privacy is violated if the “disclosure of information about the person: (1) Would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and (2) is not of legitimate concern to the public.” (RCW 42.56.050).

    How can a person prevent the district from allowing the examination or release of records to a requester?
    A person can prevent the district from releasing public records to a requester by obtaining a superior court order that prohibits the district from allowing the examination or release of the records. This type of court order is called an injunction. A court would have to “find that such examination would clearly not be in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably damage any person.” (RCW 42.56.540).

    Where can I find more information?
    Public Records Act (RCW 42.56)
    Washington State Office of the Attorney General

    Jump back to top