Originally Posted by koby58
I just think that the whole idea that as a teenager she cannot leave school with her parent who is not and has never been any kind of risk to her is absurd.
Oh, don't get me started!
Some schools err on the side of assuming every NCP is a risk, reducing the chances that a NCP who shouldn't pick up his child winds up doing so. ("Oh, whoops! I just assumed it was OK for Dad to pick up. I didn't take out the kid's file and read the Protective Order!") And, even if a kid is in their teens, having them kidnapped from school by a deranged NCP is pretty undesirable, right?
I'm sure some parents with problem exes prefer it when schools treat every NCP as a threat. Not to discount the heartache for those parents (see the last part of this post), but such policies are just plain wrong. They are as wrong as refusing to hire male coaches, because a few male coaches have molested kids on their teams; or hiring only males to teach middle- and high-school, because of the Debra Lafaves of the world. Just as schools must do their due diligence in checking backgrounds before they hire and promptly following up on reports of any problems with teachers they DO hire; schools ALSO should not be lazy, in dealing with parents. When a specific CP notifies the school of a problem with the NCP:
#1- The school should require some sort of substantiation. And they should ACTUALLY READ any substantiation provided. It is no shock that some divorced parents wrongly try to discredit their exes, keep them away from school events, keep them from picking up their kids from school for parenting time, etc. And just because a CP produces a Restraining Order doesn't mean the NCP is barred from coming to school or being around the child. Some Restraining Orders simply prohibit either warring ex from contacting the other, outside legal representation. Or, if a court order has pages missing, you should ask questions! (Yes, personal experience.) In short, a school ought to require more than just the CP's word that the NCP is a threat.
#2- If a CP does provide reasonable proof that a NCP can't take the child from school, the school - and, quite frankly, the CP - should ensure that EVERY teacher, school secretary, nurse, librarian, coach and after-school-care supervisor knows the situation with that particular child. That child should be the exception, whom teachers are warned to look out for and protect. Every other NCP in the school should not be treated as a threat, just because THAT student's NCP is one!
~~And if the CP never even asks the school to be wary of the NCP~~ (as in your case) the school should treat the NCP with the same respect as any other parent and not involve themselves in their divorce and parenting time arrangements!
If Mom gets stuck at the office and asks Dad to pick up the kid from school on a day when he doesn't normally do that (and she could not have anticipated, that morning, the need to send a hand-written permission slip for her ex to pick up the kid), then the school should graciously send the child with Dad, who is, after all, the child's PARENT. Especially when the court recognizes both parents as having EQUAL legal, parental rights, regardless how the child's time is divided between them. Schools should NOT have policies that "help" divorced parents govern or regulate their time or relationships with their children, unless they're asked to help AND the Court supports the type of help a parent requests!
So many, many kids have divorced parents and so many of those kids already have to deal with one or both parents bad-mouthing the other. The last thing those kids need - or ANY kids, even from intact homes, need - is to get accustomed to - take it for granted that - trusted authority figures (teachers, principals) consider non-custodial fathers a danger to their children unless proven otherwise. I...HATE...THAT!
And I put my money where my mouth is. My husband has sole custody of his almost-12-year-old son, whom I have helped raise full-time since he was 8. So, I'm quite attached. DH's ex-wife has moved out of state and is difficult, to say the least. Without going into all the background, it would not shock anyone if she tried to "go underground" with DSS. Her own attorney felt compelled to warn the court about that, when DH got custody. Nevertheless, she hasn't made any attempts yet; there are no court orders saying she's a danger to the child; and the whole purpose of DH getting custody was to make it EASIER for DSS to have quality relationships with BOTH parents. So, if DH started warning school officials of his concerns about his ex and setting up "safety nets" to offset a potential kidnapping attempt, he would be doing the same kind of crap that she - quite unfairly - did to him, when she had custody.
A while ago, right after DH's ex had been in town for a weekend visit (and had presumably flown home, but of course we don't check to see whether she actually boards the plane...), DSS and a friend decided to skip an after-school Math Bowl practice. (Evidently, it's embarrassing to be a mathlete...right up until your team wins the whole competition!) He and his friend hung out in the Art room with the after-school-care kids, instead. When I arrived to pick him up, I learned he never showed up for Math Bowl, nor signed in for after-school-care (since he was "on the lam"). Basically, none of the people who should have known where he was, the last hour and a half, DID know (including DH and me). I thought I was going to have a heart attack! Did his Mom stay in town and take him? Should we call the police? But I consciously refrained from mentioning those fears, while his principal, the after-school-care director and I made a quick search (and found him in the Art room). After all, once you tell people you think someone might be a kidnapper, you can't get that thought back out of their heads. And, regardless what I think of DSS's Mom, it's not in his best interest for me to make his teachers and principal think badly of her.
And I wouldn't want DSS's school to treat all NCPs like potential criminals, for MY peace of mind, hoping to thwart DSS's Mom, on the off-chance she tries to abscond with him!
Edited by VocalMinority - 4/8/11 at 7:18am