one's permanent record

I was a bastard back in elementary school and junior high. I really want to see what was collected about my activities way back when for my own amusement. I’ve heard that permanent records really aren’t permanent being destroyed after one reaches their twenty first birthday but I don’t have a cite. Does anyone know how to get access to one’s permanent record? If it helps, I went to school in New Jersey since I’m sure laws vary throughout the 50 states.

Your alleged “permanent record” is not permanent. It will be destroyed whenever the school system runs out of storage room, possibly sooner. That being said, there are permanent records that are held indefinitely:

Conviction and imprisonment records usually end up in archives as historical documents. Some go back more than a century.

Military service records are held indefinitely, transferred to archives after a time. Some of these records have, sadly, been destroyed by a fire.

Social Security records have no expiration, which is why the Social Security database is now a favorite place for genealogists.

Birth, Marriage, and Death records do not have an expiration date, although accidents, neglect, and fire may destroy them.

If you want an idea of what one could consider to be “permanent” as in “never meant to be destroyed”, contact a good professional genealogist. Elementary school discipline records probably don’t fall under this, especially since I’ve never seen them cited in any genealogy sourcebook.

This post is going to go on your permanent record.

One site talks about parents getting access to their kids’ school records:

There is probably more info. online on getting your own records. I’d just write to the school or call them for info.

About a month after I graduated from high school, I received a large manilla envelope from the school district I attended from grade 2 through 12. Yep, my school file. It had copies of all my report cards and notes from the few times I got in trouble plus a bunch of other stuff. It got lost in a move many years ago though.

I was quite chummy with one of the guidance counselors at my high school and got a look at my “permanent record” one afternoon. It contained a great deal of stuff I had forgotten about, but not the thing I dreaded most. It was quite enlightening.