Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pendleton Elementary School Principal Violates Parental Rights

Just last night at the ninth installment of the Conversation on Education -- part of the American Graduate initiative -- held at the Marion County Central Library I raised the issue of embracing non custodial parents [NCP] and ensuring that schools were cognizant of the need for dual notifications. One thing I elucidated was the modifications currently being undertaken to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines [IPTG] as it relates to parents and school records. I have recommended and the Domestic Relations Committee [DRC] -- the body tasked with rewriting the IPTG -- will be seeking to remove is the requirement that the custodial parent supply the NCP with all school notifications and records. My purpose in this recommendation was to facilitate a relationship between school administrators and the NCP's. It is well established that children who have parents involved with their schools do better across a wide spectrum of well-being measures. Whatever steps can be done to facilitate parental involvement with school should be undertaken.

My point of discussion did not go unnoticed by Jackie Garvey, Executive Director of the Indiana Partnership Center who acknowledged that many schools are still failing to fully embrace NCP. Indianapolis Public Schools have been effective in creating partnerships between their schools and parents, including NCP and specifically fathers, through the use of parent liaisons and other efforts. All panelist noted that it is important for the NCPs to make contact with the school and make their intention to be involved known.

Others are not as quick to embrace NCP's and feminist biases of some administrators still lead to roadblocks being placed in the way of NCP's, mostly fathers, from being involved. It is well established under Indiana law [20-33-7-2] that parents have a right to access the records of a school as it relates to their children unless a specific court order blocks such dissemination. The law as currently written was established in 2005. Yet today when Brian Moore requested copies of his children's records from the principal of Pendleton Elementary School, Ms. Natalie McQuade, she told him that she would not comply with the law unless provided with a subpoena by a court.

I wrote previously about this specific issue in January of 2011.

Her involvement with the courts may become more than she intends. As a public official representing a public institution she is required to comply with the civil rights of Mr Moore. Her intentional failure to do so can subject her to both civil and criminal penalties. In most circumstances a public officials intentional violation of law removes their immunity status as part of their purpose of employment is not to intentionally violate the law and deprive parents of their civil rights. Her actions are prosecutable under 42 USC 1983, 1987 and 1988.

While numerous schools are suffering from parental apathy or lack of opportunity for involvement Ms. Natalie McQuade is actively trying to keep parents from becoming partners with the school in their children's education. Troubling economic conditions are putting a strain of the financial resources of school systems throughout the State of Indiana. One place that Pendleton Schools could save money would be in firing Ms. Natalie McQuade immediately, complying fully with Indiana law and the rights afforded to parents under the United States Constitution as made applicable through the Equal Protection Clause and avoiding the costly defense of a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Two related events will be held on Friday 17 August 2012. The first is the panel discussion on the future of teacher education moderated by IU alumna and broadcaster Jane Pauley during the August meeting of the Indiana University Board of Trustees in Indianapolis at the IUPUI campus. Also is the August meeting of the DRC as they continue progress on amending the IPTG. I plan to attend both events and will report on each.

If you are a parent who has been denied equal access to your child's school records and needs an experienced attorney to file a federal lawsuit against the school then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

If you would like to follow my activities more closely then send a friend request to my Political FaceBook page.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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