School Law Bulletin #2004/03

Child Custody Law for School Personnel: Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, January 1, 2004

As most school personnel know, significant numbers of students do not reside in homes with both parents. So-called nontraditional family structures are today more common than uncommon. As a result, school officials frequently are called upon to decide which adults in a student’s life have le- gal rights to (1) have contact with the student during school hours, (2) access the student’s school records, or (3) make educational decisions on the student’s behalf. While other issues certainly arise, these are the most common.

This article uses a question-and-answer format to outline what school personnel need to know about the legal relation- ships between children and their parents or caretakers. Readers should keep in mind that the article provides general information only. Issues relating to specific children may re- quire school officials to consult with their local school board attorney. In addition, state and federal laws relating to schools and school records, as well as state and local school policy, may influence the answers to the questions set out below. However, school law and school policy are beyond the scope of this article, which focuses instead on issues directly related to child custody.

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Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles
Topics - Local and State Government