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  1. #1
    webdiva3000 is offline Junior Member
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    Is the principal of my son's school in violation of my rights as the custodial parent

    What is the name of your state? New York

    Hi there,

    Let me give you a little background to understand this situation.

    I have been divorced for 4 and a half years. In 2006, I got into an argument with my ex husband, an argument that stemmed from my taking our son to London for his yearly vacation with my family. It was ordered by the court that I am entitled to 5 weeks of interrupted vacation time with my son. (The father was awarded with the same amount of time, of which he has not taken an extra minute outside of his regular visitation of 4 days a month - his choice). I usually take my son, stay for 2 wks, and he spends the following 3 wks with my mother, who then brings him back. My ex husband believed that I needed to inform him, with notice and ask for permission for these travels, when in fact the court order stated that he is to give me notice of when he wishes to exercise his vacation times with our son.

    The argument got heated and resulted in my throwing my son's matchbox size plastic toy car at my ex husband. He called the police and lied stating that I attacked him, while he was holding our son, who was 7 at the time. Long story made shorter, it ended in my being arrested, spending 25 hours in police custody, my being reported to ACS because I apparently, according to my ex husband "endangered" our child's life, by scratching and hitting him (I did not touch the him), a Law Guardian was appointed to the case to represent the best interests of our child, then my being convicted with a temporary record (that was expunged after a year), and the father having his custodial rights being taken away.

    There has been problems with our child in school where I have conference with the principal and teachers multiple times. I even suggested that my son meet with the school psychologist for assistance in helping to finding ways to get the best results out of my son in school. This all began last year October 2007. The father has not been involved in anything at the school, claiming that it is too inconvenient for him to go to the school (he works in Connecticut and my son's school being in the Manhattan.

    My child's behaviour has not improved. The school suggested I have him son tested for ADHD as it seems he's having difficulty in completing his tasks at school. At their request, I went to a doctor, who provided the school with the Conner's Questionnaire to complete. From that questionnaire, the doctor determined my son having ADHD. I do not want to go the clinical root as there are too many side effects and the thought of my son being sedated, scares me. So I have chosen to have him on herbal remedies - which seems to have eliminated disruptive behavior in the class - but we are still experiencing his lack of focus. My personal determination is that he's not being challenged as well as emotional issues in terms of his limited access to his father - 4 days a month, when he wants more time.

    Now, my ex husband has not been involved with the school and his limited communications with them have been hostile. My son has been at this particular school for almost two academic years. He had made arrangements with the school to speak with my son's teacher last year, and rather than attend the conference himself, he sent his wife. My son's teacher refused to speak to his wife, based on ACS being in contact with the school and knowing that the situation was sketchy (my son had just started the school at this time of the madness during 2006). She told the wife that she would need written confirmation from the parents to conference with her on the father's behalf. At this time, I was granted full-custody of our child and the father only with visitation rights. The principal was angry at the teacher for not conference with the father's wife, based on her personal bias of being a step parent (her step child lives with her).

    I then met with the principal to provide her with documentation stating my custodial rights, and the father's lack of. But stressed in that conversation, that I am fine with the father meeting with the school in conference, and I do not approve of the his new wife meeting with the school. It would be good for our son to know that his father involved in his school life. The father was angry that the teacher did not conference with his wife and wrote an scathing email to the principal expressing his thoughts on the situation. The principal did not disclose what was said, but did state that the email was very hostile and could be used in court if needed.

    Since then, the father has only called the school to find out when he would receive report cards - if they had been mailed out late, etc. Nothing further.

    A couple of month's ago, the principal asked me to meet with her one morning when I dropped my son off at school and she informed me of the father calling about wanting the report card. The school rule is, if bills are not up to date, they do not mail out report cards. I was a little behind. So I told her that when I've paid, she can by all means send the report card, and I gave her a time frame of when arrears bills will be paid. (I was laid off from my job last year and finances haven't been too great.) In that conversation, I also informed her that there should be no further conferences with the father. He's not doing anything in support of our child's behavior or health (he refused to administer the herbal remedy for the ADHD). If she was providing this information and he actually did something to help his child, then I would not have taken this position. She agreed to respect my directive.

    However, last week Friday, the father called the school wanting to speak to my son's teacher. The principal did not inform me of the call and insisted that the teacher conference with the father.

    Am I right in my assessment that she has violated my rights as full custodial parent? Isn't she supposed to inform me of all communications with the non-custodial parent? I gave her a copy of the court order, so I am perplexed by how this could have happened.

    Please advise on how to handle.What is the name of your state?
  2. #2
    Perky is offline Senior Member
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    Is there a restraining order, or some other documentation stating that he is not allowed to have access to his child's records?

    If not, the father is within his rights to obtain information about his son from the school. The school is not required to inform you of his contact or requests for information. The school did not violate any of your rights.
  3. #3
    kat1963 is offline Senior Member
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    Since you did not indicate that there was a current court order barring him access to his sons school records then not only does he have rights on a state level , he is also entitled to them on a Federal level as well. You need to read up on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This states in part:

    Section 99.4: Sec. 99.4 What are the rights of parents? "An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, state Statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody, that specifically revokes these rights." (Emphasis added)

    The school risks loss of federal funding if they comply with your request. Even though this might be a private institution there are very, very few schools that donít take money from the government (and only a select few families who can afford that kind of tuition!).

    KAT
  4. #4
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    A couple of month's ago, the principal asked me to meet with her one morning when I dropped my son off at school and she informed me of the father calling about wanting the report card. The school rule is, if bills are not up to date, they do not mail out report cards. I was a little behind. So I told her that when I've paid, she can by all means send the report card, and I gave her a time frame of when arrears bills will be paid. (I was laid off from my job last year and finances haven't been too great.) In that conversation, I also informed her that there should be no further conferences with the father. He's not doing anything in support of our child's behavior or health (he refused to administer the herbal remedy for the ADHD). If she was providing this information and he actually did something to help his child, then I would not have taken this position. She agreed to respect my directive.
    YOU have just broken the law and interfered with HIS rights as a parent. Keep interfering and you will find yourself in major trouble. YOU have no right to dictate that the school should not communicate with dad. NONE. How dare you. A court can find you and the school both in contempt if they listen to you. If dad is not ordered to pay child support, he doesn't have to pay anything. If dad is ordered to pay child support, his responsibility financially begins and ENDS with the child support.



    However, last week Friday, the father called the school wanting to speak to my son's teacher. The principal did not inform me of the call and insisted that the teacher conference with the father.
    Principal does NOT have to inform you of anything. The principal does NOT have to inform you if dad shows up at the school and picks up his son. The principal does NOT have to inform you of anything dealing with dad.

    Am I right in my assessment that she has violated my rights as full custodial parent?
    No. You are completely totally wrong -- as in legally wrong.

    Isn't she supposed to inform me of all communications with the non-custodial parent?
    I gave her a copy of the court order, so I am perplexed by how this could have happened.

    Nope. She doesn't have to inform you of anything. The copy of the court order -- the school CANNOT enforce the court order anyway. That is up to the court that ordered the order.



    Please advise on how to handle.What is the name of your state?
    Grow up. Learn the law. And realize dad has a right to full access to the child's school, medical, and daycare records. And if you or the doctors, schools, daycares attempt to stop it, the law is being broken.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  5. #5
    wileybunch is offline Senior Member
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    Principal is doing right by not letting stepmom sit in for Dad during conferences, stepmom has no right. But, you are way off base, as it's been pointed out, to attempt to limit in any way dad's access to the boy's educational records, teachers, conferences, etc.
  6. #6
    webdiva3000 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for your hostile messages.

    I understand that this is solely about the child and wish this system was not so flawed. My son has to return from his vacation each year to celebrated his father's birthday sept.2 and his father on many occasions has not celebrated his son's birthday. My son has not seen his father since the weekend of march 21 and i receive phone calls 2 hrs before pick up to say "he has something to do." My son is going through so much psychologically and his father has refused to be involved in any of process. I put our child in extra curricular activities in hope that the father would get himself involved in his child life and nothing....and I'm being told to GROW UP! From what you are all saying here, he has full reign in everything - so what was the point in taking his custodial rights away?

    The principal was angry at the teacher for NOT speaking to the stepmother. And in the past, the school has always informed me of the father's communications with them.

    I was not denying the father of access to records. I understand that the non-custodial parent has access to records educational and medical. But it seems, yet again, the lines are blurry in where the line in drawn, especially when a parent only make trouble within the school - as my ex husband has done.
  7. #7
    Perky is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    Thank you all for your hostile messages.

    I understand that this is solely about the child and wish this system was not so flawed. My son has to return from his vacation each year to celebrated his father's birthday sept.2 and his father on many occasions has not celebrated his son's birthday. My son has not seen his father since the weekend of march 21 and i receive phone calls 2 hrs before pick up to say "he has something to do." My son is going through so much psychologically and his father has refused to be involved in any of process. I put our child in extra curricular activities in hope that the father would get himself involved in his child life and nothing....and I'm being told to GROW UP! From what you are all saying here, he has full reign in everything - so what was the point in taking his custodial rights away?

    The principal was angry at the teacher for NOT speaking to the stepmother. And in the past, the school has always informed me of the father's communications with them.

    I was not denying the father of access to records. I understand that the non-custodial parent has access to records educational and medical. But it seems, yet again, the lines are blurry in where the line in drawn, especially when a parent only make trouble within the school - as my ex husband has done.
    I'm offended! I provided straightforward answers to your questions. There was no hostility in my reply, implied or otherwise.

    Unfortunately, since you didn't get the answer you wanted, or did not get a shoulder to cry on, everyone was hostile. Allow me to echo Ohiogal: Grow Up.
  8. #8
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you all for your hostile messages.
    Nobody was hostile -- not even me.

    I understand that this is solely about the child and wish this system was not so flawed.
    It is flawed because it does not allow you to dictate?
    My son has to return from his vacation each year to celebrated his father's birthday sept.2 and his father on many occasions has not celebrated his son's birthday.
    OH okay.

    My son has not seen his father since the weekend of march 21 and i receive phone calls 2 hrs before pick up to say "he has something to do." My son is going through so much psychologically and his father has refused to be involved in any of process.
    So have you put your child in counseling?

    I put our child in extra curricular activities in hope that the father would get himself involved in his child life and nothing....and I'm being told to GROW UP! From what you are all saying here, he has full reign in everything - so what was the point in taking his custodial rights away?
    You have full custody but you are NOT the child's ONLY parent. He has a mother and a father and both have a right to be involved.


    The principal was angry at the teacher for NOT speaking to the stepmother. And in the past, the school has always informed me of the father's communications with them.
    That is nice. In the past they have done so. They NEVER had to do so however. EVER. And if dad gave stepmom a limited power of attorney to step in that would explain it.

    I was not denying the father of access to records. I understand that the non-custodial parent has access to records educational and medical. But it seems, yet again, the lines are blurry in where the line in drawn, especially when a parent only make trouble within the school - as my ex husband has done.
    I haven't seen where he has made any trouble. He is entitled to participate as you are in school events, medical appointments and daycare activities. On the one hand you are griping that he is NOT informed and on the other you are pissed because he is trying to be involved -- just apparently not how you permit. What is it you want? Oh I know. You want child support and him to do everything how you demand. Right?
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  9. #9
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post

    My child's behaviour has not improved. The school suggested I have him son tested for ADHD as it seems he's having difficulty in completing his tasks at school. At their request, I went to a doctor, who provided the school with the Conner's Questionnaire to complete. From that questionnaire, the doctor determined my son having ADHD. I do not want to go the clinical root as there are too many side effects and the thought of my son being sedated, scares me. So I have chosen to have him on herbal remedies - which seems to have eliminated disruptive behavior in the class - but we are still experiencing his lack of focus.

    My personal opinion, as mom of an ADHD kid, is that you are INHIBITING your child's learning by failing to totally address the brain chemical imbalance and not testing ADHD meds. You have not even determined if his attending abilities would be enhanced by utilizing ADHD meds. Kids who can't focus and attend miss out on a LOT of learning. This could result in your child ultimately being held back down the road.

    Dad has every right to be concerned.

    Thing is, ADHD kids have a brain imbalance which the meds help NORMALIZE.

    Hopefully, you also have an IEP and are addressing his learning/attending issues through a variety of assistances, including a resource teacher, as organizational skills are a problem.
  10. #10
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    I missed that in the first post Nextwife. Dang. SHe is criticizing dad for not giving an herbal regimen and yet SHE is refusing to go the clinical route because it is not in her opinion what she wants. Good grief. What a hypocrite. Has the herbal regimen even been tested and clinically proven to do any good at all?
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  11. #11
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohiogal View Post
    I missed that in the first post Nextwife. Dang. SHe is criticizing dad for not giving an herbal regimen and yet SHE is refusing to go the clinical route because it is not in her opinion what she wants. Good grief. What a hypocrite. Has the herbal regimen even been tested and clinically proven to do any good at all?
    Herbals can be dangerous. There is no way to quantify the dosages.
  12. #12
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nextwife View Post
    Herbals can be dangerous. There is no way to quantify the dosages.
    Oh I know that. But sometimes herbals have been clinically tested for such results.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  13. #13
    OhReally? is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    Thank you all for your hostile messages.
    Hostile?? What the hell kinda responses do you expect when you are taking it upon yourself to BREAK THE LAW??

    I was not denying the father of access to records.
    Yes you would. More proof you're ignorant.

    I understand that the non-custodial parent has access to records educational and medical.
    No you don't, Britney. If you did, you wouldn't have told the school what you did.

    But it seems, yet again, the lines are blurry in where the line in drawn, especially when a parent only make trouble within the school - as my ex husband has done.
    The "lines" are not blurry. If the school has issues with him, then the SCHOOL takes action -- not you. Get a clue. Right after you grow up.
  14. #14
    wileybunch is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    Thank you all for your hostile messages.
    Geez, ungrateful. You need to understand that your POV isn't the only one and if you think this is hostile, watch out if your ex gets an attorney to handle his side of things.

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    I understand that this is solely about the child and wish this system was not so flawed.
    What "system"? You haven't demonstrated that anything is "flawed".

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    I put our child in extra curricular activities in hope that the father would get himself involved in his child life and nothing....and I'm being told to GROW UP!
    That is why your son is in extracurriculars? Not because your son enjoys the activity? Or you want the activity for him for exercise, growth, etc.? All my kids are involved in extra curriculars and quite frankly it cuts into family time quite a bit, but I want my kids to participate in these things and they do, too, but to think it will help a parent be MORE involved w/the child? I don't think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    From what you are all saying here, he has full reign in everything - so what was the point in taking his custodial rights away?
    Because he was doing a poor job of facilitating the relationship with the child's other parent. That's why. Now that is your job to do since you are the CP.

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    The principal was angry at the teacher for NOT speaking to the stepmother. And in the past, the school has always informed me of the father's communications with them.
    The CP is not the "better parent" here and it's not up to you to decide if your ex has access to the principal, teacher, etc. and the teacher is not required to inform you every time they talk to Dad. Why are you trying to exercise so much control? Do you think if you brought it before the property authority (judge) that the judge would give you that much power? And how do you know what feelings the principal was having and why? Like has been said, the stepmom cannot stand in for dad unless you agree with that, but your beef goes beyond that to want to limit dad's rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    I was not denying the father of access to records. I understand that the non-custodial parent has access to records educational and medical. But it seems, yet again, the lines are blurry in where the line in drawn, especially when a parent only make trouble within the school - as my ex husband has done.
    Yes, you were trying to deny Dad and no, you didn't seem to understand NCP's rights:

    Quote Originally Posted by webdiva3000 View Post
    He had made arrangements with the school to speak with my son's teacher last year, and rather than attend the conference himself, he sent his wife. ... At this time, I was granted full-custody of our child and the father only with visitation rights. ... I then met with the principal to provide her with documentation stating my custodial rights, and the father's lack of. But stressed in that conversation, that I am fine with the father meeting with the school in conference, and I do not approve of the his new wife meeting with the school. ... However, last week Friday, the father called the school wanting to speak to my son's teacher. The principal did not inform me of the call and insisted that the teacher conference with the father.

    Am I right in my assessment that she has violated my rights as full custodial parent?
    Clearly you feel you have supervisory rights over your ex with these statements and believe the school is mandated to provide reports back to you if they have contact with him. They just aren't required to do that.

    The trick with parents that aren't as involved as you'd like them to be is to try not to be their mother while mothering your own child and to allow them the leeway to parent just as you do (ie. you choose not to use controlled prescription meds and to go the herbal route -- big parenting choice there).

    You are going to have to try to change the system you and your ex have in place of how you co-parent the child because there's built in hostility. Granted your ex has been a piece of work in the past with his assault, but you are unnecessarily poking the tiger and overstepping your bounds.

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