It is the policy of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, Bennington School District, Inc., Mount Anthony Union School District, North Bennington Graded School District, Pownal School District, Shaftsbury School District, and Woodford School District to recognize the value of providing information concerning a student's school participation and progress to both parents where the parents are separated, estranged, or divorced. In such cases, the School Boards and their employees will respect the legal rights of both parents with respect to involvement in their child's education, including access to records, educational decision-making, and notice and participation in school meetings and activities, as and to the extent provided by State and Federal law.
When the whereabouts of both parents is known to the school, school staff will afford equal rights of authority or access to each parent. Only when the school is provided with a court order (such as a divorce decree or child custody order), statute or similarly binding document that curtails or limits one parent's rights with regard to the education of the child will the school modify its equal rights practice.
While both parents may visit or observe the child at school, generally only the parent with physical responsibility for the child will have the authority to remove the child from school property. Where physical responsibility or right to parent-child contact is shared, both parents generally have this authority. If a parent wishes to have the school limit this general rule, the parent must provide to the school a copy of a Court order or similarly binding document expressly requiring such limitation.
If a parent with sole physical responsibility wishes to allow the other parent to remove the child from the property, permission must be provided to the school in writing. If school personnel anticipate or suspect student abduction (whether by a non-custodial parent or any other person), law enforcement personnel are to be notified immediately.
The parent with sole physical responsibility and each joint custodial parent has the responsibility to keep the school office informed (a) of his/her address (residence) and phone number, and (b) of a means of contacting the parent at all times.
When a student turns 18:
Under Vermont Law a student reaches the age of majority upon his/her 18th birthday. Under Federal law, the parents' rights to access information contained in education records transfer to the 18 year old student. The above school districts will allow the parents of a dependent student continued access to such records as permitted (but not required) by law. (The term "dependent student" is defined by section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954). An 18 year old student who wishes to block parental access to his or her educational records must file a written request to that effect with the school principal.
Student's rights under IDEA:
Procedural rights of students who are eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) also transfer from the parent to the student at the time the student turns 18. Thereafter, as required by law, the parents shall have a continued right to receive copies of required notices, but otherwise all procedural rights shall be the child's. Under the law special rules apply if the court has appointed a legal guardian for the student, or the child has been determined to be unable to provide consent with respect to his/her educational program under State procedures.
Parental Rights: Special Education and Section 504:
In addition to the above parental rights and responsibilities, parents of children who have been found to be eligible for special education services under the IDEA, or who have been determined to be protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, have additional rights. Copies of written statements of parental rights in special education are available from special education staff at each school, and rights with respect to Section 504 are available through each principal.
Administrative Regulations - Policy #1004
Prior to the start of the school year, or as necessary when a new student enrolls, school administration shall distribute to parents a student information form. This Student Information Form will include appropriate space for parents to:
a. attach copies of court orders, statutes, or other binding documents limiting one parent's rights with regard to the education of the child or to the removal of the child from school grounds or activities.
b. grant written permission to a child's non-custodial parent to remove him/her from school property or activities. (See attached Consent to Removal of Student)
The Student Information Form and attachments will be maintained in the student's file and on computer. Copies of written permission containing signature may be routed to appropriate departments.
Release of student to non-custodial parent:
Written, signed permission must be provided to the school administrator before the school may release a student to a non-custodial parent.
The school administrator, or designee will refer to the student file or computer file for appropriate signed permission.
Should a dispute arise concerning access to a child by a parent, the school administrator or designee may refer the issue to school counsel and/or the supervisory union office
Generally, both parents have the right to:
a. view the child's educational records,
b. receive school progress reports and (where applicable) certain special education notices and records,
c. to visit the child briefly at school, and
d. to participate in parent teacher conferences.
Upon written request to the child's school principal, where parents are living separately, the school shall subsequently and routinely mail to each parent copies of all school information, which is normally sent home with the child, including copies of report cards, and class and school newsletters. These mailing shall continue for the remainder of the school year in which the request is made. This service may be requested annually.
A non-custodial parent who requests routine receipt of school information has the responsibility to provide the school office with his/her phone number and address, so that (s)he may be contacted regarding student progress/problems.
Consent to Removal of Student
From School Grounds/Activity by
Parent Who Lacks Custodial Rights and Responsibilities
I, _______________ [name of parent providing the consent], have sole physical rights and responsibilities for my minor child(ren) who is/are attending ____________________ School [list children by name]:
I understand that my notification will not be in effect until the school administrator receives the written revocation from me.
Dated: ____________________ Signed: ______________________________