Students with Court Orders Affecting Possesion and Other Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Parental Rights by Court Order
Parents and Legal Guardians (collectively “parents”) are presumed to have the full and equal parental rights and responsibilities under the law unless there is a court order affecting those rights and duties. Upon enrollment, parents are asked to notify the District of any court orders affecting the child and to provide a certified copy of the order for the child’s cumulative file. Court orders between parents are binding legal documents with which the parties to the order are required to comply, so it is important that parents maintain a copy of any applicable court order and be familiar with their respective rights and duties. While the District is not a party to a court order affecting a child, it is required to follow rights, duties and possession periods for each parent as outlined in the court order when the District has knowledge of the order. If a parent has a concern with his or her court order or believes the other parent is not following the obligations or possession schedule in the order, the parent should contact the parent’s attorney because the District cannot enforce or change court orders.
The parent whose residence establishes the student’s right to attend school in the District or attendance zone will be the student’s designated address and the place where information and records are generally sent. The parent establishing residence will be listed at Guardian 1 in the District’s record management system (eSchool) and the other parent will be listed at Guardian 2, regardless of marital status. Guardian 1, the parent with whom the student lives during the school week, will generally be the person expected to make day-to-day decisions for the student in the absence of a court order provision to the contrary.
Under most court orders, parents (Guardian 1 and Guardian 2) have certain rights and duties related to their student at all times, regardless of possession periods. The rights most relevant to the school setting are the right to educational records, right to talk with school staff, the right to attend school activities (which may include lunch), and the right to be contacted in an emergency. Because of this, school staff will generally communicate with both parents regarding the student as needed and upon request, provide copies of records and information to a parent in addition to copies sent home with a student or mailed to the designated address for the student.
The right to make educational decisions regarding a student is sometimes shared by parents or in some instances reserved to the parent with whom the student primarily lives during the school week. Either way, it is the District’s presumption that parents are working together for the best interest of their student and in the absence of information to the contrary, campus staff presume that parents are in agreement regarding decisions made for the student. In the event a campus becomes aware of a disagreement between parents regarding an educational decision, the relevant court order will be reviewed and followed regarding decisions for the student.
Parental Possession Periods by Court Order and Release of Students
Students will generally be released to, or as designated by, the parent with possession of the student at the time of dismissal. If a student is to be released early or differently than the designated daily dismissal method, a written note from the parent in possession is required; this includes an early pick up by a parent if it is not his/her possession period at the time of requested departure.
If the school initiates an early pick up of a student (i.e., the student is ill) and the parent with possession of the student cannot be reached, the student will be released to the persons designated on the school’s authorized contact list for the parent with possession at the time of needed departure. In the event of an emergency, the student may be released to either parent.
For further information, please see Release of Students section in the Student Handbook.
Parental Disputes in the Absence of a Court Order
When parents are in dispute regarding educational issues related to their student and there is no court order designating rights, duties and/or possession, the District will generally expect parents to resolve their disagreements outside the school setting. If parents are unable to resolve their disagreement and provide conflicting directives to the campus regarding the student, the campus will generally maintain the “status quo” of the student (maintain the student’s status) for a period of time to allow the parents time to reach agreement or seek court intervention. For instance, if parents are in dispute regarding removal of the student from school by one parent, the campus may elect to maintain the student at school and at dismissal send the student home the way the student arrived at campus. Maintaining the status quo in a situation when there is a dispute that requires judicial intervention is a strategy utilized by the court system and the District will maintain the status quo of a student in the instance of a parent dispute for a period of time in order to allow parents to seek court intervention.
The Legal Services Office cannot provide legal guidance to parents, patrons or students in the District. Parents represented by legal counsel may direct their attorneys to the Legal Services Office if there are questions or concerns regarding the District’s procedures.