238.  CUSTODY ISSUES - Pg.

238.  CUSTODY ISSUES

1.        Delegation of         Responsibility

Separated or divorced parents should be advised of their obligation to officially inform the school of their status in terms of the custody of the child and to provide any court directives which would fix the rights of either parent regarding access to the child and responsibility for the child's education.

2.        Guidelines

When a formal custody award has not been made, a child may attend the school district of residence of the parent with whom s/he lives and this parent will be responsible for the child's attendance at school and thus make the decisions affecting the child's education. The other parent has the rights of access to school records, report cards, and to have parent-teacher conferences, etc. A principal is under no obligation to provide physical access to the student for the noncustodial parent. Such visitation may constitute a distraction to the child and an interruption of the educational program. Principals should not allow the noncustodial parent to remove the child from the school building or any area of school responsibility.

In the interim of the separation and the awarding of a formal order, the principal should request the parent have an attorney prepare a document to verify the proceedings in progress and instructions for the school to follow.

If a formal award of custody has been made, the noncustodial parent may still have access to school records, except as prohibited by a legally binding instrument or court order. Principals should resist visitations and withdrawal efforts by non-custodial parents.

Noncustodial parents who insist and who may threaten to use force despite the custodial parent's instructions, attorney's statement or court order should be told the custodial parent and police will be informed of such action.

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