Threatening (adj) - 1) Tending or intended to menace 2) Causing alarm, as by being imminent; ominous; sinister. That’s the definition provided by Dictionary.com. That’s also the word that my youngest daughter’s preschool used in describing my behavior in my request for my daughter's records.
I recently found out that “someone” was trying to hold me in contempt of court and one of the issues was that I contacted my daughters’ schools. The Parent/Student handbook of my oldest daughter’s school states, “The school abides by the provisions of the Buckley Amendment with respect to the rights on non-primary caregiving parents. In the absence of a court order to the contrary, St. XX School will provide the non-primary caregiving parent with access to the academic records and to other school-related information regarding the child. If there is a court order specifying that there is to be no information given, it is the responsibility of the primary caregiver to provide the school with an official copy of that court order.” The Buckley Amendment is the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA) which states that parents are entitled to their children’s school records unless there is a court order stating otherwise. St. XX School has been providing me with the school records of my oldest daughter. My other daughter’s preschool, XX child care and kindergarten, has failed to respond to my correspondence.
Apparently my daughter’s preschool has threatened to expel my daughter because they do not want “to be involved in domestic disputes and put [their] staff in situations that [they] feel uncomfortable.” The school director went on to state in the letter my ex-wife submitted to Court, “We understand the need for a parent to be involved in the life of their children; however, going about it in a threatening manner seems counterproductive. We are asking for a swift resolution to this situation in order to maintain your children’s enrollment in this center.”
Nothing says “no child left behind” more than “we will expel your children if their parents do not get along.” Over the course of a year, I have sent the school approximately three letters requesting my daughter’s records and an appointment to meet with my daughter’s teacher. After my daughter’s first day of school this year, her mother sent me a pamphlet from my daughter’s teacher that stated, “Education is a partnership between home and school. I value parent involvement at every level and encourage you to partner with me. In order for this partnership to be effective, we need to be able to communicate.” “Please feel free to call the school or write a note if you have concerns or questions about your child. I am available at 12:30 p.m. each day for a phone call or conference.”
I wrote three letters and the school never responded. I phoned the school last year but the director never returned my call. My oldest daughter’s school provided me with copies of her records which included a photo of me and a note from my ex-wife informing the school to please call the police if I appeared at the school for any reason. Since there were no orders preventing me from going to the school and obtaining my daughter’s records, the school could have been liable for damages if I was falsely imprisoned on behalf of my ex-wife’s “orders”. On September 28, 2010, I wrote a letter to my youngest daughter’s school stating, “Please note that there are no protective orders that prevent me from visiting my daughters’ school and any legal action taken against me based on the erroneous claims of the children’s mother, will be grounds for civil action.”
My statement was not menacing. Stating that I would take civil action against the school if the school did something illegal should not cause alarm; unless of course the school did something improper. Either way, there was nothing harassing about it. If the school would have complied with the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act and released my daughter’s information as required, there wouldn’t have been any problems. Now the school that didn’t want to get involved has to get involved, because people will have to testify as to what part of my “behavior” was threatening. If the school did find me to be threatening, why didn’t the school file for a protective order to protect the welfare of the children at the school? If the school exaggerated or fabricated their claims and their slanderous statement causes damages, they may be facing legal action.
Now my daughter’s future at that particular preschool hangs in the balance. The school claims that if I tell them that I will seek civil action if they do something illegal; they will expel my daughter. Their refusal to provide me with my daughter’s records is a violation of the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act. I guess in a way, it’s a form of extortion. “If you say that you are going to sue us for doing something illegal, then we will kick your daughter out of school and we will tell the Court that you are threatening us.” The people who believe that I may pose an emotional risk to my daughters are the same people who will kick my daughter out of school because I told the school that I will hold them legally accountable for illegal actions. Dr. Connor once claimed that I was the one who couldn’t communicate. Maybe no one else could understand me because I was being too rational. Who knows? I do know that I love my little girls more than anything and I will never stop fighting to protect their ability to grow up with both parents.