Custody and Education


Parents: Do you know your rights?Jamie L. GrahamJamie Graham Associates, PLLC July 15, 2019In 1995, Texas passed the Texas Parent’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, thereby making sure that parents are able to participate in decisions made concerning their children in our public schools. These rights are set out in Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code. The code sets out parental rights concerning academic programs and parental access to student records, State Assessments, teaching materials, Board Meetings, etc. Further, it provides information on what to do if you find yourself in a disagreement with the school district. Although much of this is an interesting read, there are a number of provisions of the Education Code that would assist you if you find yourself in the midst of a child custody dispute.

  1. Access to RecordsIn many child custody disputes, educational records are utilized for a number of reasons. One parent may be struggling to get the child to school on time or might be having difficulty getting the child’s homework done consistently, affecting the child’s academic performance. Texas Education Code, Section 26.004, specifically allows parents access to all written records of a school district concerning the parent’s child. These records include the following:
    • Attendance records
    • Test scores
    • Grades
    • Disciplinary records
    • Counseling records
    • Psychological records
    • Applications for admission
    • Health and Immunization information
    • Teacher and school counselor evaluations
    • Reports of behavioral patterns; and
    • Records relating to assistance provided for learning difficulties, including information collected regarding any intervention strategies used with the child.
  2. Access to Teaching MaterialsParents have access to teaching materials utilized by the teachers. This includes, instruction materials and other teaching aids. In addition, the parent has a right to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered. The school must make teaching materials and tests readily available for review by parents. Note also that parents are entitled to request that the school district allow the student to take home any instruction material used by the student.
  3. Exemption from Instruction

Parents are entitled to remove the parent’s child temporarily from a class or other school activity if it conflicts with the parent’s religious or moral beliefs. Note: the parent must deliver to the teacher a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or activity. 4. Right to Complain/Disagreements with SchoolAll school districts have a grievance procedure to address each and every complaint that is issued under the Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code. Therefore, if you have a complaint that you want to have addressed with your school; first, contact the principal or the person that is designated by the principal to handle the complaint. If you cannot resolve it with the principal, you should contact the district administration. If you are unable to resolve it at this level, since the school board members set school policy for your district, you should go to the school board. If this fails, contact the Texas Education Agency (the governing body that assures school district follow Texas education laws) to determine your next step.

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