The Impact of Child Custody Issues on School Safety (Part 2)

Developing appropriate school policies and following court orders and state laws can minimize your campus’ liability exposure as well as prevent child abuse, workplace violence and domestic violence.

The trial court in Buenos Aries Argentina ruled for wife, but the appellate court reversed the trial court decision in September 2012 and the Argentina Supreme Court agreed, giving father leverage to go to Argentina and bring his children home.

Domestic Abuse Cases Often Require Some Confidentiality

The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and laws in most states grant both parents equal access to a child’s school records. Both parents may request PIN numbers for the computer system and sign up to receive robo calls. Generally the non-custodial parent is entitled to the same records to which the custodial parent is entitled.

Protecting the safety of the child and the custodial parent is vital. An abusive non-custodial parent might request school records in an attempt to find an address or place of employment for an abused parent or child. The majority of the school records should be released to the non-custodian. However, identifying and locating information such as the school name, address of parent or child, place of employment of the abused parent or child, and telephone number of parent and child should generally not be released to abusers. Records should be redacted by marking out with permanent black marker any information that could be used to locate a parent and child who are victims of abuse.

Related Article: The Impact of Child Custody Issues on School Safety (Part 1)

Many states now require both parents to provide written notice to the court and to each other of any change in residential address or telephone number. In cases of domestic violence, the victim can usually provide the information to the court and ask that the information be sealed and kept confidential from the other parent.

Most county prosecutor offices or district attorneys that prosecute criminal cases also have a civil division often called the IV-D office, which establishes paternity for parents, and obtains and enforces child support orders. The IV-D office, local bar association, legal aid or legal services office, school district attorney, state department of education and state school board association are all sources of information on this complex and ever changing subject.

Keep Records of Your Activities Relating
to Custody Cases

Taking your time, getting the current written documentation or court orders, asking questions and making logical common sense decisions should be your goals.

In making decisions related to the custody and parenting time of minor children, school staff must document what steps are taken as they are taken. Write down the facts, the names and contact information of people consulted, the time and date, and keep copies of necessary paperwork. This record will support the actions taken if litigation is threatened or filed.

Schools generally have no duty to know the contents of written documentation and court orders that are not in their possession. But asking for the written documentation and court orders should be standard practice, and recording and understanding the contents of the written documentation and court orders school staff have on file is vital.

Gerald Eugene Summers is a Crisis Intervention Team member, School Safety/Healthy Children Instructor, and an Advanced School Specialist in Indiana. He is President and CEO of Integrity Security Protection LLC, a safety and security consulting and training firm in Evansville Indiana. Contact him at [email protected] or [email protected].

Sue Ann Hartig was Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Evansville Inc. for over 26 years, the first female judicial officer in Vanderburgh County, and City Attorney for the City of Evansville.   Hartig is Vice President and CFO of Integrity Security Protection, LLC, a safety and security consulting and training firm in Evansville, Indiana. Contact her at [email protected] 

Notice: This article contains educational information, not legal advice. Check with an attorney for case-specific policies and procedures and state laws.

Photo by Yogendra174 via Compfight

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