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Legality of Parent request for attendance records

  • 1.  Legality of Parent request for attendance records

    Posted 12 days ago

    Parents of one lovely child at my school are getting a divorce.  Both parents are very lovely, but they can't see eye to eye. This is going to be a contentious divorce. What I have experienced is both parents are very loving to the child .  One of them, asked me for copies of our attendance records alleging that the spouse is not being truthful, and accusing this person as being a "bad" parent.
    I really don't want to be in the middle of this.
    We don't have guidelines about this particular situation in our classRoom handbook, and now I am considering adding a  section.  

    Could someone give me some advice how to go about this? I haven't responded and not sure how to do it in a fair way. 

    Vera Chang-Garcia
    Beyond Pre-K in Spanish
    Culver City CA

  • 2.  RE: Legality of Parent request for attendance records

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hello Vera,
       This is such an uncomfortable situation. Here are a couple guidelines I have used in the past:
    • information voluntarily given (especially in this situation with both parents being loving and supportive) be given to both parents- the same documentation
    • In a very contentious situation I wait until court orders of documentation are requested.

    I hope this is helpful!

    Mandee LaCroix
    CFA Academy Daycare
    Concord NC

  • 3.  RE: Legality of Parent request for attendance records

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hello Vera,

    In cases like this, I always waited to be contacted by the lawyers representing the parent with the request or a subpoena from the court to release this information because of liability and confidentiality issues. For for profit Centers where I was the Director, I created an Advisory Board and found a lawyer to serve on the Board who provided legal guidance to me in cases like this. For nonprofit organizations where I was the leader of the ECE program, there was a lawyer on the Board who provided guidance to me in matters like this. I suggest you seek a lawyer to provide you with advice for the policy to include in your Family Handbook related to this matter. The last thing I wanted to have happen was for me to be drawn into the complexity of a fight between parents for the custody of their child.

    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC

  • 4.  RE: Legality of Parent request for attendance records

    Posted 10 days ago
    We have dealt with this in the past, and have handled it several ways.  In all instances, however, whatever is given to one parent must also be provided to the other.  The first time that we navigated the issue, we ultimately requested that a formal request from the court be provided because it would require copious reproduction and redacting of the records to remove any information relating to other children (when we we were still relying on daily class sign-in sheets).  Now that we have moved to an electronic platform, it is easier to generate the information for one child, but as a common policy, we still require a formal request.  Our current policy, developed in consultation with our school attorney is below:

    George Cottage shall maintain confidentiality of all children's records. They are the property of the school and are kept
    secure and confidential. Access to files is limited to those who have a legal or professional need to consult such records.
    Student records created by St. Martin's Episcopal School pertaining to school issues will be shared with parents at
    designated times or upon special request. Any school-related records not independently accessible to parents via hard
    copy or electronic means, including attendance records, will be generated and produced only by court order.
    St. Martin's staff and administrators will assume, pursuant to LA R.S. 9:351 and regardless of the custodial arrangement,
    that all married, unmarried, separated, or divorced parents both have access to school records and information relating
    to the child. If there is a court order modifying parental access, it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to provide
    the school with an official copy of the court order and to keep the school updated regarding any changes of status. The
    school bears no obligation to release paperwork not directly related to school issues or records provided to the school by
    either parent, including governmental, medical, or financial information.

    I hope that this is helpful.  Unfortunately, we have dealt with this a few times, so I am happy to share the knowledge gained.

    Holly Dalferes
    George Cottage at St Martin's Episcopal School
    Metairie LA

  • 5.  RE: Legality of Parent request for attendance records

    Posted 9 days ago

    Hello Vera,
    I think that if both parents hold custody of the child, you should give the record of the child to both caregivers. You may want to explain that it is their responsibility to communicate both, and you don't need to get into your personal feeling. 

    Good luck! 

    Yoshie Matsubara
    Boulder CO