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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default School Counselor Meets with Children Without Parent Permission

    My question involves education law in the State of: Illinois.

    I am the stepmother of the children. My husband has filed to change custody. Custody, currently, is "equal" everything, with mother being primary custodian. The mother is on her sixth marriage: second in two years, fourth pregnancy and there's extensive, documented medical, (and arguable)educational and emotional neglect. We live in CA. My husband has been EXPLICITLY clear with the school, about communicating equally with him, and has attempted to be involved with every aspect of their education (after knowledge of Mom's neglect of the IEP services and other issues). The stepfather of the mother of the children has worked as a teacher at the (very small) school, for 20+ years--so the school is showing favoritism and protectionism toward the mother. The school has engaged in some questionable practices, namely: refusing to communicate in writing with Dad, communicating vaguely, changing the report card comments to innocuous statements such as: "Looking forward to seeing you at parent-teacher conference," etc. Most recently, we found that a school counselor met with the children (ages 5 and 8), at their mother's request, to ask the question, "Do you have any concerns about visiting your dad?" She later gave a reference in the custody evaluation, mentioning this meeting she had, last school year. Dad was never notified, would have wanted to be notified, would have given valuable input, and DID have this instruction in e-mail record (with the Principal), months prior. Consequently, the custody evaluator noted a "possible anxiety disorder" in one of the children and noted questions as to why the children seemed so unusually worried with her. We NEVER mentioned the custody dispute to the children. It all adds up now! Due to the school's BIASED participation, the children have inferred that Dad is someone to be feared. What steps do we take to hold this school/individual accountable?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,006

    Default Re: School Counselor Meets with Children Without Parent Permission

    My husband has been EXPLICITLY clear with the school, about communicating equally with him, and has attempted to be involved with every aspect of their education (after knowledge of Mom's neglect of the IEP services and other issues).
    What do you mean by explicity clear? Has this been put in writing to the school and is this in writing from the courts?

    Most recently, we found that a school counselor met with the children (ages 5 and 8), at their mother's request, to ask the question, "Do you have any concerns about visiting your dad?" She later gave a reference in the custody evaluation, mentioning this meeting she had, last school year.
    This is actually his/her job. I'm sure there were more questions that were presented as well.
    Dad was never notified, would have wanted to be notified, would have given valuable input, and DID have this instruction in e-mail record (with the Principal), months prior.
    Did the school counselor have this same instruction? Many school counselors work in many schools and have many children to counsel in this type of situation. Did your husband get copies of the discussion that the counselor had with his child?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: School Counselor Meets with Children Without Parent Permission

    The explicit instructions are in writing, from my husband to the school Principal, and acknowledged by her. The court order supports his full access. (In fact, I'm aware that federal legislation passed in 2005 prohibits a school from EXcluding a parent, unless there is a court order to do so.) The counselor did not inform my husband of the meeting, ever; in fact, we had written an email to the school asking if the children had seen the "school psychologist," as was inadvertantly blurted out by the mother, last year. The Principal emailed back, saying that there had been no meetings with the school psychologist, and no clarification was ever given ("school counselor"). Their entire cumulative files were requested (by us) and upon this request, we asked, in writing, "Is this EVERYTHING in their school records, or are there others outside of the cumulative file?" She said, "I've sent everything." There is no record of the counselor's contact with the children, anywhere except the conversation with the custody evaluator, which is now documented. Counselor has never attempted contact with Dad. We never even knew she existed until we read the custody eval.

    The current problem: We spent $6,000 on this eval and it came out without a recommendation for either parent to get primary custody ("outrageous," say the attorneys). She was left with too many questions, and she noted how fearful the children were. Basically, it was tainted.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    It depends...
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    124

    Default Re: School Counselor Meets with Children Without Parent Permission

    In Illinois, I believe that school counselors are permitted to meet with students 6 times without parental permission. If the meetings will continue, then parental permission is required.

    As far as meeting with the children without the father's consent, the counselor did nothing wrong if she met with each of them less than 6 times.

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