Teaching kids is a tough gig. On any given day, actually getting kids to learn something must feel secondary as teachers are called upon to be referee, caregiver, nurse, expert in special needs care, social scientist, negotiator, mediator, psychologist, and I’m guessing, in some situations, judge/arbitrator and executioner.
Is practising in this vital vocation getting even tougher? From my own limited experience, parents of my generation appear to be much more involved in the education of our children than our parents’ generation. Sounds good, but I think it must also bring with it greater expectations of what schools and teachers can deliver for each child. It must be an ongoing battle to find a balance between meeting the expectations of parents and implementing the Australian Curriculum and/or Queensland Curriculum, and various programs through which they are implemented (such as IB, PYP, etc.), knowing that somewhere in there they also have to find time to get our kids in a position where they learn.
Add to that the sometimes difficult situation when the parents of a child at the school have separated.
John Patterson and I have been dealing with some family law issues involving schools attended by our clients’ children. Of late, we have also fielded a number of queries from our friends, family members, and colleagues who are teachers or school administrators.
Some of those questions have included:
- What can we do if a parent remains on the school grounds, after being asked to leave? What powers does the school have?
- How do we respond if a parent displays aggravating or aggressive behaviour towards teachers or administration?
- What should we do about parents who call to ask us to convey messages to a former spouse regarding students in our care? Where do the boundaries lie?
- What rights do parents have to attend activities when there are no Court Orders in place?
- What should we do if we know there is a problem with a student but both parents seem to be unaware of it?
- What if each of the parents are communicating to us different care and living arrangements for the student, and there is no parenting plan or Court Orders in place to verify it?
- What can we do if one parent has sought a referral to a school psychologist, but the other parent objects?
As a result John and I have decided to roll out a presentation that seeks to answer those questions, as well as arming teachers and administrators with details of some of the laws that relate to separated parents. Our aim is to assist schools in how to deal with separated parents and their children.
Some of the discussion of the laws relating to separated parents will include:
- What do we do if one of the teachers of the school gets served with a subpoena? Are there circumstances where we can object to the subpoena?
- What are the differences between parenting plans and Court Orders with respect to effect, enforceability, and content?
- Court Orders – who needs to follow them and what happens if they don’t?
- Protection orders (“DVO’s”).
Our first presentation will be at Christian Outreach College Toowoomba, on 20 July 2016.
If you or your school are interested in such a presentation or would like some more information, please contact either John Patterson or me at the following email addresses or otherwise call us at the Brisbane Office on (07) 3210 0281: