Mrs. Garrison writes End-of-the –year comments in each students’ Cumulative (CUM) Records Folder. A CUM folder is a file of general school information that typically contains grades, attendance, discipline, standardized assessment reports and other information from a student's educational career (Logsdon, 2017). She shares information that she feels is important about the student to give insight to next year’s teacher. Juan is a student in her second grade classroom who arrived from Mexico three months ago. He is struggling to acquire the English language and has difficulty following simple directions. His parents are working with him but due to their limited English, they are unable to help with some of his homework. He seems withdrawn and does not participate in class discussions. Here is what she writes:
Juan is not able to independently complete classroom assignments. He requires a great deal of assistance and in my opinion, should be tested for a learning disability. He may be undocumented and illegal in this county. I have asked the parents but they refuse to share any information about their home life. They seem to live in poverty because he only has one pair of shoes and one coat. I don’t think that he will succeed academically and will eventually become a behavior issue. I believe that he stole money from a student and he used that money to pay for a snack during lunch but he never admitted to it. The parents work long hours so they are not available for conferences so you will not receive any support from home. Best of luck with him, I’m happy I only had him for 3 months.
The following year, Juan’s mother notices that the new teacher does not reach out to them. She was extremely withdrawn during Open House and she noticed that she treated them differently than the other parents. Juan’s mother wants to gather information about Juan’s progress to share with his new tutor so the tutor suggest that she ask to see his school file to see if there is any information that she can use from there. She is given access to his folder, where she discovers last year’s comments. Due to her limited English, she takes photographs of the documents so that a family member can translate them. Her niece, who is a lawyer, shares what she finds and they immediately contact the school to request a conference. What do you believe can/will happen next? Will the teacher be held liable? What will the principal be expected to do with this information that was passed on from one teacher to another? What will happen to the records?
Logsdon, A. (2017, December 11). What Does a Child's Cumulative File Mean? Retrieved from