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How do I handle competing divorced parents?

Q I am a happily married elementary school teacher caught in the middle of a nasty divorce. The divorced parents of a student in my class both want to be involved with the student's education but want nothing to do with each other. To make matters worse, they are both remarried and each objects to my having anything to do with the other's new spouse. What do I do?

A: You will have to deal with both parents unless one of them provides a court order to the contrary. Both natural parents, regardless of custody status, have the right of access to all student records in the absence of a court order to the contrary under Virginia Code section 22.1-287.

Because each parent has rights I believe that each can share information with and involve his or her new spouse in school matters. You cannot give the objections of one parent legal weight without a supporting court order.

Consult the Principal and Guidance Counselor at your school. You want their help to understand the specific requirements of state law, and to communicate those requirements and school policy to the parents.


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