TN Department of Education
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.
T.C.A. § 49-1-704.
Parents and guardians have the right to inspect and review their
children's education records maintained by the school. Parents and
guardians have the right to request student data specific to their
children's educational records. LEAs shall provide parents or
guardians with a copy of their children's educational records upon
T.C.A. § 49-1-705.
Students shall not have to provide data to their school or LEA on
their political affiliation; religion; voting history; and firearms
T.C.A. § 49-1-706.
Parents must provide written consent prior to a state agency or
educational institution collecting any individual student biometric
data, student data relative to analysis of facial expressions, EEG
brain wave patterns, skin conductance, galvanic skin response,
heart-rate variability, pulse, blood volume, posture, and
T.C.A. § 49-1-1106.
Parents or other caretakers of children in the care of a child care
program certified by the department of education shall be permitted
to visit and inspect the facilities and observe the methods for the
care of their children at any time during which the children are in
the care of the program and, except those records of other children
and their parents or caretakers, shall further be permitted to
inspect any records of the program that are not privileged, or are
not otherwise confidential, as provided by law or regulation, and
the parents' or caretakers' access for these purposes shall not be
purposely denied by the program.
T.C.A. § 49-2-124.
Parents may refuse to consent to the administration of a
psychotropic medication to a student or to a mental health
screening, evaluation, testing or examination of a child or
T.C.A. § 49-2-129.
No school administrator, teacher, or other employee of an LEA shall
require a student or the student's parent to provide information on
firearm ownership by the student's family. No school administrator
or other employee of an LEA shall require a teacher or other school
employee to provide information on firearm ownership by the teacher
or school employee. Any information on firearm ownership that is
voluntarily provided by a student, parent, teacher, or LEA employee
shall not be the basis for adverse disciplinary action against a
student or adverse employment action against a teacher or LEA
T.C.A. § 49-2-211.
Every LEA shall have a policy that allows a parent or legal
guardian access to review all surveys, analyses or evaluations,
prior to being administered to the parent or legal guardian's
child. The policy shall enable a parent or legal guardian to opt
their student out of participating in a survey, analysis, or
evaluation. The policy shall require a parent, legal guardian or
student, in the case of students eighteen (18) years of age or
older, to provide written consent before the collection of
individual student biometric data. The LEA shall also disclose to
the parent or legal guardian of the student the purpose for the
survey, analysis, or evaluation materials as well as who will have
access to the results.
T.C.A. § 49-3-310.
No board of education of any public school system shall require any
pupil or parent to purchase any textbook or instructional materials
except in cases where the pupil or parent damages, loses or defaces
the textbook or instructional materials either through willful
intent or neglect. Parents or pupils may voluntarily purchase
textbooks and instructional materials.
T.C.A. § 49-5-1003.
Educators shall not disclose information about students obtained in
the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves a
compelling professional purpose or is required by law.
T.C.A. § 49-6-901.
A copy of a student's report card shall be furnished by the LEA to
the parent or parents of the student.
T.C.A. § 49-6-902.
Any parent who does not have custody of a child, or in the case of
parents having joint custody of a child, the parent not residing
with the child, or in the case of a child in the custody of a legal
guardian, both parents, may request in writing that a copy of the
child's report card, notice of school attendance, names of
teachers, class schedules, standardized test scores and any other
records customarily available to parents be furnished directly to
the noncustodial or nonresident parent.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1004.
A period of silence of approximately one (1) minute shall be
maintained at the beginning of each school day. A teacher shall not
indicate or suggest to the students any action to be taken by them
during this time. Students may voluntarily participate in prayer
and no teacher or other school authority may prescribe the form or
content of any prayer. Nonsectarian and nonproselytizing voluntary
benedictions, invocations or prayers that are initiated and given
by a student may be permitted during school-related noncompulsory
student assemblies, school-related student sporting events and
school-related commencement ceremonies.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1031.
No school shall permit a student to become a member or participate
in any activities of a club or organization if the parent or legal
guardian of such student has tendered a written communication
prohibiting such student from such membership or participation. In
order to be valid, the written communication shall be signed and
dated by the parent or legal guardian.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1305.
LEAs shall notify parents or legal guardians of students whom the
LEA anticipates will be present for family life instruction in sex
education that: The LEA is using a family life curriculum that
meets the requirements of state law; and The parent or legal
guardian shall have the right to examine the grade level
instructional materials and confer with the student's instructor,
school counselor or principal, as designated by the LEA, regarding
any or all portions of family life. A parent or guardian who wishes
to excuse a student from any or all portions of family life shall
submit a request, in writing, to the student's instructor, school
counselor, or principal. A student who is excused from any or all
portions of family life shall not be penalized for grading purposes
if the student satisfactorily performs alternative health
T.C.A. § 49-6-1306.
A parent or legal guardian of a student enrolled in family life may
file a complaint with the director of schools if the parent or
legal guardian believes that a teacher, instructor, or
representative of an organization has not complied with the
requirements of that law.
If a student receives instruction by an instructor or organization
that promotes gateway sexual activity or demonstrates sexual
activity then the parent or legal guardian shall have a cause of
action against that instructor or organization for actual damages
plus reasonable attorney's fees and court costs (this does not
apply to instruction from teachers employed by the LEA).
T.C.A. § 49-6-1504.
Upon the expulsion of a student charged with a violent felony or
violent felony delinquency, or a student convicted, adjudicated, or
that admits guilt in court with respect to a violent felony or
felony delinquency, the director of schools shall immediately give
written or actual notice to the parent or guardian and the student
of the right to appeal the decision to expel or remand the student
to an alternative school. All appeals shall be filed, orally or in
writing, within five (5) days after receipt of the notice and may
be filed by the parent or guardian, the student, or any person
holding a teaching license who is employed by the school system if
requested by the student.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1506.
A student or student's parent may request in writing within five
(5) days after receipt of written notice of a disciplinary hearing
by the disciplinary hearing authority that the hearing be conducted
as an open meeting.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1601.
Principals or other designated persons shall provide to parents or
legal guardians all school information and records relevant to any
reports of alleged abuse or sexual abuse, if requested by the
parent or legal guardian; provided, that the information is edited
to protect the confidentiality of the identity of the person who
made the report, any other person whose life or safety may be
endangered by the disclosure and any information made confidential
pursuant to federal law or § 10-7-504(a)(4).
T.C.A. § 49-6-1802.
An LEA shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious
viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same
manner in which the LEA treats a student's voluntary expression of
a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject
and may not discriminate against the student based on a religious
viewpoint, if any, expressed by the student on an otherwise
T.C.A. § 49-6-1804.
Students may express their written beliefs about religion in
homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from
discrimination based on the religious content of the student's
submissions. Homework and classroom assignments shall be judged by
ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against
other legitimate academic concerns identified by the LEA. Students
may not be penalized or rewarded based on the religious content of
the student's work.
T.C.A. § 49-6-1805.
Students may organize religious student groups, religious clubs,
"see you at the pole" gatherings, or other religious gatherings
before, during, and after school to the same extent that students
are permitted to organize other non-curricular student activities
and groups. Religious groups shall be given the same access to
school facilities for assembling as is given to other
non-curricular groups without discrimination based on the religious
content of the students' expression. If student groups that meet
for nonreligious activities are permitted to advertise or announce
meetings of their groups, then the LEA may not discriminate against
groups that meet for prayer or other religious speech. An LEA may
disclaim school sponsorship of noncurricular groups and events in a
manner that neither favors nor disfavors groups that meet to engage
in expressions of faith or religious speech.
T.C.A. § 49-6-2211.
Every student shall be permitted to take any textbook or
instructional materials specifically issued to the student home for
the purpose of studying the textbook or instructional
T.C.A. § 49-6-2904.
Students have the right to voluntarily pray in a public school,
express religious viewpoints in a public school, speak to and
attempt to share religious viewpoints with other students in a
public school, possess or distribute religious literature in a
public school, and to be absent to observe religious holidays and
participate in other religious practices. The participation in
these activities must be in accordance with LEA policies.
T.C.A. § 49-6-3001.
A parent or guardian may withdraw a child from a public school for
a good substantial reason; provided, that within thirty (30) days
the parent or person having legal custody of the child places the
child in a public school designated by the local board of education
or in a non-public school.
A parent or guardian who believes that a child is not ready to
attend school at the designated age of mandatory attendance may
make application to the principal of the public school that the
child would attend for a one (1) semester or one (1) year deferral
in required attendance.
A person designated as a caregiver with the power of attorney for
care of a minor child pursuant to title 34, chapter 6, part 3 shall
have the right to enroll the minor child in the LEA serving the
area where the caregiver resides. The LEA shall allow a caregiver
with a properly executed power of attorney for care of a minor
child, pursuant to title 34, chapter 6, part 3, to enroll the minor
child, but may require documentation of the minor child's residence
with a caregiver or documentation or other verification of the
validity of the stated hardship prior to enrollment. Except where
limited by federal law, the caregiver shall be assigned the rights,
duties and responsibilities that would otherwise be assigned to the
parent, legal guardian or legal custodian pursuant to this title.
If at any time the parent or legal guardian disagrees with the
decision of the caregiver or chooses to make any educational
decisions for the minor child, then the parent must revoke the
power of attorney and provide the LEA written documentation of the
T.C.A. § 49-6-3109. Unlawful discrimination.
No person shall be refused admission into or be excluded from any
public school in this state on account of race, creed, color, sex
or national origin. No student shall be assigned or compelled to
attend any school on account of race, creed, color or national
origin, or for the purpose of achieving equality in attendance or
increased attendance or reduced attendance, at any school, of
persons of one (1) or more particular races, creeds, colors or
national origins. LEAs may assign a pupil in the manner requested
or authorized by the pupil's parents or guardian.
T.C.A. § 49-6-3201.
Parents or legal guardians who are dissatisfied with the school
assignment of the student may, within ten (10) days, make a written
application to the board for a hearing before the board as to the
reasonableness of the assignment and ask for a transfer to another
T.C.A. § 49-6-4213.
Students shall be advised in writing at the time of their
enrollment in a school that they are subject to the testing for the
presence of drugs in the student's body. Notice to each student
shall include grounds for testing, the procedures that will be
followed and possible penalties. Students shall be advised of their
right to refuse to undergo drug testing and the consequences of
refusal. A parent of the student or a person legally responsible
for the student shall be notified before any drug test is
administered to the student. If an LEA adopts a policy permitting
random drug testing of students in voluntary extracurricular
activities, then, prior to a student participating in an
extracurricular activity, the LEA shall notify the parents and
guardians of any such student that the student may be subjected to
random drug testing. A parent or guardian of a student
participating in a volunteer extracurricular activity shall provide
written consent for random drug testing prior to the student
participating in the voluntary extracurricular activity. The
principal or school counselor of the school in which a student who
tests positive in a drug testing program is enrolled shall provide
referral information to the student and to the student's parents or
guardian. The information shall include information on inpatient,
outpatient and community-based drug and alcohol treatment
T.C.A. § 49-6-4404.
Within forty-eight (48) hours of the imposition of corporal
punishment of a pupil within the special school district, the pupil
shall have the right to be examined by a physician to determine if
the punishment was excessive. In any case in which the punishment
is excessive, the pupil shall have the same civil and criminal
remedies as any other pupil in the public schools.
T.C.A. § 49-6-5001.
Children must be immunized against diseases identified by the
Commissioner of Health prior to attendance at any school, nursery
school, kindergarten, pre-school or child care facility. Parents or
guardian of children are responsible for having their children
immunized. Parents or guardians may file with school authorities a
statement that the immunization and other preventive measures
conflict with the parents' or guardians' religious tenets and
practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury. Parents may not
provide a statement of waiver from immunizations during an epidemic
or immediate threat of an epidemic. No child shall be denied
admission to any school or school facility if the child has not
been immunized due to medical reasons if the child has a written
statement from the child's doctor excusing the child from the
immunization. No child or youth determined to be homeless shall be
denied admission to any school or school facility if the child or
youth has not yet been immunized or is unable to produce
immunization records due to being homeless.
T.C.A. § 49-6-5005
Parents and guardians shall be provided with information about
meningococcal disease and the effectiveness of vaccination against
meningococcal disease at the beginning of every school year by the
T.C.A. § 49-6-6007
Students and parents must be able to access information about state
mandated tests and tests mandated by the LEA that shall be
administered in the upcoming school year on the LEA website.
T.C.A. § 49-6-7002
Parents or guardians may meet at least two (2) times per year with
appropriate faculty members to discuss any pertinent problems or
other matters of concern regarding the development and education of
the student of the parent or guardian.
T.C.A. § 49-6-7003.
A parent or legal guardian is entitled to review all teaching
materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in
the classroom of the parent or legal guardian's child; and to
review tests that are developed by and graded by a teacher of the
parent or legal guardian's child. LEAs shall make all teaching
materials, including handouts readily available for review upon
request by the parents or legal guardians.
T.C.A. § 49-10-103.
Children with disabilities shall receive the benefits of a free
public education appropriate to their needs.
T.C.A. § 49-10-306.
Any child receiving special education or special education related
services outside the school district in which the child would
normally attend public school and any parent or guardian of the
child, shall continue to have all civil and other rights that the
child would have if receiving like education or related services
within the subdivision or school district where the child would
normally attend public school.
T.C.A. § 49-10-1304.
If school personnel impose isolation restraints or isolation on a
student in an emergency situation, the student's parent or guardian
shall be notified, orally or by written or printed communication,
the same day the isolation or restraint was used. School personnel
shall be held harmless for failure to notify if reasonable effort
has been made to notify the student's parent or guardian.
T.C.A. § 49-10-1305.
A child may be administered a chemical restraint for therapeutic
purposes under the direction of a physician and with the child's
parent or guardian's consent to administer such chemical
T.C.A. § 49-13-140.
All records of a public charter school shall be open for personal
inspection and duplication by any citizen of this state to the same
extent that records of public schools operated by an LEA are
T.C.A. § 49-16-206.
Families with students enrolled in virtual school shall be provided
instructional materials by the virtual school. The virtual school
shall also ensure student materials and access to necessary
technology used for school work through a physical computer lab
that is available to the student through regularly scheduled