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323

Student Custody Disputes

Background

The Division recognizes that instances may occur with respect to the custody of a child whose parents have divorced or have been judicially separated. The Division will not, in any way, get involved in attempting to arbitrate the matter of custody.

Procedures

  1. If the school is faced with custody requests or threatened interference:
    1. It is quite proper for the Principal, at his/her discretion, to deny the parent access to the child during school hours, on the grounds that such access would interrupt the student’s school day, and to refuse to release information about the child’s progress at school.
    2. While the child is in or on any school property, such as the school grounds or a school bus, the child is still the school’s responsibility and, therefore, some degree of supervision and direction regarding such parental attempts to interfere is exercisable and are to be exercised.
    3. No responsibility is attached to, nor is to be undertaken by, the school respecting the prevention of one parent from seeing the child after the child has left the school grounds or from picking up the child once he/she is off the grounds.
  2. Where the legal custody of a child comes into question and there is a demand for custody, the Principal is to:
    1. Inform the claimant that custody shall remain with the school until the child has left the school property.
    2. Indicate that the other parent or the guardian will be notified of the custody request.
    3. Ensure that both parties are informed that the child will be released only at the end of classes for the morning or afternoon and that the custody dispute is between the respective parents or guardians and does not involve the school.
    4. Contact the Superintendent or designate.
  3. Records and/or information release in divorce/ separated families.
    1. Unless a court order states otherwise, a spouse granted access to a child of the marriage has the right to make inquiries, and to be given information on the education of the child.
    2. Prior to the release of information the Principal is to indicate to the parent having custody of the child that the Principal has no right to withhold information unless a court order can be produced which restricts the right to records.
    3. If the parent having custody disputes the Principal's position, the parent is to be directed to appeal to the Superintendent or the Courts.
    4. A child's name must not be changed unless both parents agree to the change or legal authority is granted.
  4. A Principal must always exercise caution in dealing with custody cases and err on the side of the child.

References:

Sections 1, 2, 18, 20, 23, 45, 60, 61, 113 School Act

Student Records Regulation 71/99

Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act

Domestic Relations Act

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Board Policy 12 Role of the Superintendent

 

Revised August 2018