Originally Posted by Momily
I have to say that I'm a little offended. Your post seems to imply that school administrators are pretty dumb.
As far as who would know that -- I know at my school the principal and other school administrators, front desk staff, and school social workers know at a minimum the difference between a protective order that includes a child and one that doesn't. I also know that I've called parents to say "hey, your protective order is expiring, what's the situation?"
As far as the "you can't call the police because it will traumatize the child", that makes no sense to me. If we made a mistake and misinterpreted a document, and were telling a parent we couldn't bring their child from the classroom, and they called the police, and the police came and said "well, actually he can take his daughter", we'd collect the child from the classroom and that would be that. The child would never need to know. Then again we often have police in our building, because they're picking up their kids, or because they came in to inform us of something going on in the neighborhood, etc . . .
And if a noncustodial parent challenged us, and said "actually the law says X" which was different from our interpretation, then we'd check with our lawyers, and if they said "he's right" then that would be the end.
I'm not saying that there might not be a situation where we'd misinterpret and deny a parent access once, but I can't see how it would be an ongoing thing.
Please don't be offended! Of course
there are schools that handle these things correctly! It sounds like yours is one. Good for you. (My husband read your post and wishes you would advertise the name of your school, so all the non-custodial fathers who have problems with their kids' schools can either bribe their exes into moving into your district, or use your school as a model, to teach other schools how to handle things properly.)
My step-son attended three consecutive schools which handled these things poorly and I've heard complaints from other parents, so I know it's not just one
school out there where non-custodial fathers have problems. And the problems are not just with school administrators! The attorneys
for two different school systems my husband dealt with - in two different states - did not follow the laws... Because in the end (and this is really the issue I was trying to address, not all the personal specifics) a non-custodial parent's access rights are typically treated as a civil matter, not criminal
in states like ours, where the letter of the law says denying a NCP's access to a child is just as much
"custodial interference" as doing it to a CP. That means
if a NCP calls the cops, even
if the cops read the orders, they are often STILL trained to defer to the CP and tell the NCP to take her back to court...because denying the NCP's access to the child is not a crime
, it's a civil offense, to be evaluated by a civil judge. It's not the purview of cops, prosecutors...or school system attorneys.
Ergo, despite common sense and how it sounds like things "should" work, Dads who ask cops to defend their right to pick up their kids at school are often disappointed with the result and later accused of being combative. ("The school staff isn't hostile toward my ex-husband because of what I'VE said about him, it's because he harasses them by calling the cops, who never side with him anyway. He just does it to cause a scene. See? Having him at school is disruptive to everyone. That's why I try to keep him away.")
As far as traumatizing the child, envision this scenario:
*A 4-year-old is repeatedly told by his mother, "Make sure you tell your teacher if you ever see Daddy around school, so someone can call the police and protect everyone. All the adults know he's too dangerous to have around your school."
*Dad arrives (to pick up the kid at the end of the day for a court-ordered visit, or to attend Daddy Day, or to exercise his legal right to meet his kid's teacher...)
*The teacher tells Dad to leave or she'll call the police.
*Dad says, "Go ahead, I'm sure they'll explain to you what my rights are."
*Cops arrive and tell Dad, "What your ex has instructed the school does not jive with your court orders, but this is a civil issue and she's the CP. Take her back to court. But right now, if she says you can't be here, you need to leave."
...What the 4-year-old walks away believing is that just like Mommy said
the cops made Daddy leave his school because there's something dangerous about his Dad.
Momily, I'm glad you haven't had to deal with this stuff, but it's real for a lot of people.