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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

View Poll Results: Are schools obligated by privacy laws to pass on any information about your child?
Yes. 4 80.00%
No 0 0%
Not all information 1 20.00%
of course! It only benifits the kids! 0 0%
Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-19-2009, 10:16 PM
Wendel Wendel is offline
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Question School not providing me with information

Hello,

I have joint custody of my two children. They attend a private school in a small town and live at their fathers’ house a little more than mine. Mainly, they live with their father for more school days when information is being sent home from the school. This information could include test results, permission slips, school information ECT.

It was the school principal’s position, after checking with the school boards legal team, in November 2008 that I was not going to receive permission slips for the kids. Rather, i would get a notification that something has gone to my ex-husbands house and i would have to "work it out" with him if there was a difference of opinion on any matter. We contacted the school board and that same legal team's opinion was quickly changed to, "I would receive all permission slips." I beleive that the principal was not honest about the information he claims he received

A little background-

1. The relationship with my husband is NOT amiable. He went through many efforts during the divorce to make my life miserable.

2. My ex-husbands family has a long history at the private school. His father went there, his mother was a teacher there and of course he went there.


3. My husband fought hard during the divorce to not be responsible for passing on any information from doctors, dentists, schools ECT. In fact, the settlement reads that he will sign "letters of direction" for me to obtain the information directly from the source.

Now in March of 09 I had been receiving journals from my ex about how well the girls were doing in school. I had noticed though that my youngest was having significant problems with basic reading. The day before report cards came home my ex sends me an email stating the youngest is doing poorly in school and may need to be held back. A far cry from how well she was doing just 12 days before that, according to him. I felt my ex was playing games, for whatever his reasons, with my Childs education and I was not going to let it happen

To this point my ex had passed no test, quiz, book reports or any other school results on to me. I only received what was coming home on the 6-8 school days a month i had access and the mis information he was giving me. We informed the school that we would need all of the results I’ve mentioned above. The principal told us that it was not necessary and a "burden" on the school (he really said that!). This answer was not satisfying to me. And, once again he claimed I should just ask my ex-husband for these results. Again I explained about the poor relationship with my ex.

Now if this was not displeasing enough, after the meeting I received an email form my ex who was lecturing me on putting the school in the middle of our problem. So, as you can see, after our private meeting the principal thought proper protocol was to call my ex to fill him in on what had happened during our private meeting. This was the second time the principal had pulled this stunt.

We have currently had to push this issue through to the board of directors of the private school. Some days I laugh and think is this really happening?!

So...

1. As a parent, am I not legally entitled to receive information from my kid’s school if requested?

2. Is the school not violating many privacy issues by choosing not to let have information about my kids?

I am a very trusting person (to a fault sometimes) by nature and i feel like sometimes during my whole divorce I lost focus on the obvious. Like for example, I'm there parent and should have information sent to me that was clearly intended on going home in the first place!

The story is longer and more disgusting but I think the two questions I have above is what I am after. Anyone with some insight to this issue would be helpful.

Thanks!
  #2  
Old 04-20-2009, 10:21 AM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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As a teacher myself, and stepmom who receives information directly from my stepson's school/teachers, I can tell you that it is possible for you to receive information directly from the source, and that by law, the school is to provide you with such information. (Unless there is an order made against that.) If the school - for one reason or another - gives you any trouble, make sure you provide them with a copy of your court order showing your custody arrangent and stating that you shall have access to that information.

I suggest you do what my husband and I do at the beginning of each school year. We send a fax to the attention of my stepson's teacher, in which we briefly outline our circumstance (lack of trust/communication with my stepson's mother) and ask that the teacher provide us with information directly. We also provide the teacher with self-addressed stamped envelopes to make it easier for her to send the notices/flyers/report-cards to us. This has worked marvelously for us, and every teacher that my stepson has had has complimented us on our efforts to keep informed and be a part of the child's education.

Perhaps this is a good practice for you to start with your children's school. It definitely couldn't hurt to try. Good luck to you!
  #3  
Old 04-20-2009, 01:47 PM
Wendel Wendel is offline
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Thanks for your advice.

When you say legally entitled to send information. What law specifically are you referring too? I feel embarrassed that I'm asking. I know there my children, I know I'm entitled but is it privacy laws?

The school actually signs a governement form that says it will comply with all privacy law. Beleive it or not, there are some things that private schools can opt out of. Just not laws...

Thanks
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:24 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Wendel, it's listed in the Family Law books... that each parent - unless deemed otherwise by the court - shall have unrestricted access to their child's information pertaining to health and education. I know I remember reading it in one of those Family Law booklets, for sure.

When you say you have Joint Custody... the school should not give you any hassles about wanting information. You are legally entitled to it. Do they have a copy of your court order? Perhaps if you make them aware of the situation, they'll be more likely to comply.
  #5  
Old 04-20-2009, 02:37 PM
Wendel Wendel is offline
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I have made them aware several times....in writing....the actual settlement paperwork....everything you could provide has been provided.

Due to my ex's relationship with the private school it's become a real "old boys club" for dealing with my issues. As I mentioned, the principal's solution to my personal problem was to call my ex and ask him for help. REALLY unprofessional behavior going on here.

If my financee and I were not sick of lawyers we would already have one on board. Unfortanatly, right now, all signs point to that route.

Thanks again for your help
  #6  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:14 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Is there any way you can "threaten" - as in send a letter to the school principal or someone higher up restating your request and indicating how it's been ignored to date? Also maybe depicting examples of how the matter was treated? And simply "threaten" that if the school cannot govern themselves accordingly and provide you with the information you are requesting, then you will have no choice but to get the ministry of education and family court involved? Perhaps they just need a good old fashioned scare?
  #7  
Old 04-20-2009, 03:41 PM
Wendel Wendel is offline
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My fiancee and I have wrote two letters the principal directly and copied it to the school board stating our request. They have offered to send some information but still through the ex husband. The trust is just not there for any arrangement but all information sent to us. It's funny that we can come up with every argument for the school and they just think they can stonewall us. It's like they haven't even thought about the legal ramifications of their actions.

I'm good friends actually with my MP and I think we will speaking with him.

Wendel
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