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Author Topic: Being blocked by the school!  (Read 1789 times)

thesmithfamily_5

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Being blocked by the school!
« on: Aug 30, 2006, 06:27:39 AM »
This is the start of the 2nd semester my children have been at the current school district. I am 3.5 hours away. They were put into an overflow school. That school had a good principal who would speak with me. I was on emailing terms with both of their teachers. In fact, I have never had any problems before in any of the eight times my children have been moved!!!!

Now this year. Instead of remaining at the overflow school they're now going to the school closer to where they live. Before school even started I mailed off my letter to the principal. No response. Almost two weeks go by I send an email:

My name is Dad, and I am S1 and S2's father. Attached is a copy of a letter I mailed out to you before school started. I have not heard from you or either S1's or S2's teachers regarding their education.

As the letter states, I want to have an active part in my children's education. Since I live so far away, I can only do this with your help. There should have been a copy of my current divorce decree in the records that came from Springridge Elementary when S1 & S2 were transferred. If that is not the case, please let me know as soon as possible and I will send you another copy, as I know this is your district's policy.

I really do want what's best for S1 and S2 and I believe that it is for both of their parents to have an active role in their education. It has not been a problem for me in the past to cooperate with their schools. Please help me continue in that course.

Tank you for your time and assistance in this matter, Dad.

His reply?
Dad, thanks for the letter and the email.  As you know we have just started school.  You may access our school website for specific dates and times for events to happen throughout the year.
Thanks,
Principal

So I try again:

Thank you. I've found that information on the website last year. That's how I knew to write to you. What about S1 and S2's teachers? How are they doing in school? I have heard S2 is having a difficult time and I'd like to be able to speak with his teacher. And S1 has had problems in the past and I'd like to speak with his teacher as well.

And again, his reply:
I have made personal contact with S1 and S2.  For now I would say that all kids are getting back into the swing/business of school.  Let's give it some time.  They both have great teachers.
Have a great day,
Greg

At this point, I'm furious. For some reason I'm being blocked by the principal from even contacting the teachers! I don't know what to do and would like any advice you have to offer!!!


ocean

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RE: Being blocked by the school!
« Reply #1 on: Aug 30, 2006, 06:35:25 AM »
I would call the school and ask for your children's teachers to give you a call. Do you speak to the kids on the phone where you can ask them the names of their teacher? At my school, we have to call parents back within 24 hours. Legally though, they only have to send you the report card and what is in their perm folder. Most teachers if you give them stamped envelopes, they will send you any info (school pictures....). Some teachers in my building do not use e-mail so they may have a teacher that does not do that.
Good luck!

micj05

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RE: Being blocked by the school!
« Reply #2 on: Aug 30, 2006, 06:59:31 AM »
Are things so bad between you and mom that you can't ask her the teachers' names and direct contact info. Perhaps if the things are truly being blocked a nice trip up to the school to introduce yourself may get the ball rolling. That way you would have the chance to talk to the teachers face to face.

Kent

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Fairly easy resolve
« Reply #3 on: Aug 30, 2006, 08:02:56 AM »
First, send this letter:
http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/recrequest1.php

If you don't get the desired response, send a letter refering to your previous letter, acknowledge their refusal, and telling them that they will be answering to a charge of violating Federal law if they don't immediately make the records available to you.

The Federal Law that they're in violation of is the ferpa&s=Search&r=0"class="linkword" title="Click for related pages">Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/ferpa.php

Quote this passage in the letter:

    Section 99.4: Sec. 99.4 What are the rights of parents? "An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, state Statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody, that specifically revokes these rights."  (Emphasis added)

The meaning and intent of this Statute is pretty clear. Note the words "either" and "specifically". Unless your Divorce Decree specifically excludes you from access to your child's school records, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACCESS THEM. The provisions in FERPA apply to ALL schools that receive Federal funding of any kind.

Note that 'school records' include:

    * report cards
    * enrollment forms
    * achievement tests
    * progress reports
    * field trip forms
    * incident reports
    * disciplinary reports
    * medical records
    * emergency notification cards
    * any other officially generated reports, including email

It is important to note that counselor and psychologist records are considered part of an educational record. Thus, they are not exempt from FERPA’s requirement. For the "teacher’s notes" exemption to apply to a counselor’s records, the notes taken by the counselor must be kept apart from all other student records and the information may not be shared with other persons.

Make sure you send both letters certified with return receipt. On the second letter, make sure you copy the superintendent.

Good luck.

Kent!

ocean

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RE: Fairly easy resolve
« Reply #4 on: Aug 30, 2006, 08:59:10 AM »
I agree but the Principal is not breaking the law here. There are no official forms the first week of school. If he wants copies of the emergency cards that would be all for right now. He had some great teachers that communicated by e-mail in the past but not all will do that. In our school, I think there is about 5 of us that have a web page and e-mail. The rest of the teachers must return phone calls but every week is a little much unless there are problems.
Good luck! Hopefully once you get through to the teachers it will be better!


notnew

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There is a letter on this site
« Reply #5 on: Aug 30, 2006, 09:44:02 AM »
Use it. They are in violation of FERPA. Let them know you know your rights. Send them a copy of your current orders so they know there is nothing barring you from being allowed this information. CC the superintendant of schools and the legal dept.

Send it certified, return receipt requested.

You may or may not have success with this. I have had hit and miss luck with schools over the years.

Unfortunately, my experience shows that if schools/doctors/ex wives really don't feel like complying with the law, they really don't have to and nothing really gets done about it. Sad but true.

You just have to keep plugging away at it. Is there an open house or meet the teachers night scheduled? Make the time to show up. That may make the difference.

I hope it gets better for you.

 

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