Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pendleton School Complies with the Access to School Records Law after my contact

Yesterday I wrote about the plight of a father attempting to get his children's school records from Pendleton Elementary School. If you know me well then you are aware that I am a great fan of the silver screen. While I have a pile of 30 flicks that I have yet to watch I felt the urge to again watch the 1934 version of The Scarlet Letter. It is a rather forceful rendition of the Nathaniel Hawthorn novel by the same name which explores the shame that a woman faced after being publicly humiliated for bearing the child of a priest out of wedlock.

The public humiliation is a credit to the mores and ethical standards of a community which shuns those who trespass upon those norms. The modern day Scarlet Letter can be the social media networks where messages about offenders can quickly be spread. Such was the case yesterday where, here, I told you about Ms. Natalie McQuade, principal of Pendleton Elementary School, who said that she would not provide records to a father about his children unless he obtained a court order. However, the law enacted in 2005 is quite clear -- a nonpublic or public school must allow a custodial parent and a noncustodial parent of a child the same access to their child's education records.

Still, Ms McQuade chose to discriminate against this father in violation of both federal civil and criminal laws. The Pendleton community should be outraged. Regrettably they won't be. If she had said that African-Americans or Jews had to get a court order you can bet that her employment would have been terminated and Jessie Jackson or Morris Dees would have been leading protests through that small Madison County town.

But alas it is just gender discrimination against males -- tolerable bigotry to most -- which, as in any form of discrimination based upon birth traits, I do not tolerate.

After publishing yesterdays' post I sent copies to the South Madison Community School Corporation superintendent and board members. About a half hour later Mr Moore received a phone call from the principal stating that she would provide the requested records to him immediately and without a court order. Thus, the South Madison Community School Corporation saved the taxpayers from an expensive and embarrassing federal civil rights lawsuit.

South Madison Community School Corporation Superintendent Joseph A. Buck contacted me within an hour and stated, "[O]ur number one concern must first be the safety of the student.  As in most cases involving parents that are in a custody battle, there are two sides to the story, as is the case with the situation you are referring to."

Concern must also be established for the well-being of the children. School corporations should not invoke unsupported "safety concerns" as a means to discriminate against fathers and shun them from participation in their child's formal education. Fathers play an important role in the lives of children. Removing them can have a detrimental psychological effect on the children who are half of each a mother and father. To shun one parent based upon gender is to tell the children that that half of them is not as good. The damage can be more acute for boys who already often suffer through a feminine centric educational rubric.

It should never have to come to this though. As I explain in School Records and a Parent's Right of Access each parent is entitled to records regardless of custodial status. In the case of Mr Moore he does have legal custody but was discriminated against based upon gender.

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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