Letter to the School for Long Distance Parents

The start of the school year is upon us! Aside from organizing yourself, one big part of self advocacy for a long distance parent is to write the yearly letter to the school requesting that your rights be considered.

Did you know that it is federal law (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy act) that, unless a court specifically prohibits it, the school HAS to release information about the student to both parents? Both parents are entitled to report cards, progress reports, field trip information, parent teacher conferences etc.

At the beginning of the school year (every year), you should send a letter to the school introducing yourself and giving them any updated contact information, as well as to have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s of making a written request for records and inclusion. ENsure the following is included in your letter :

  • Specifically request the type of involvement you want to spell it out for schools that might not have experience with this sort of request.
  • Along with your letter, you include several SASEs so that the school does not have to consider the cost in keeping you involved, and cost does not become an excuse later.
  • Include the first page of your custody agreement that includes the summary of who has what custody, case number etc. If your court order does not contain such a summary, include the pages that do contain this information.

S.P.A.R.C. : Request for records is a good sample letter and here is a sample letter to the school that includes all of these pieces :

September 3, 2004
School Name
789 Main Ave.
Somewhere, AB 12345

To Whom It May Concern:

My son/daughter, child’s name attends  Kindergarten  at School Name. His/her mother/father, custodial parent’s name and I are divorced and share unrestricted joint custody. Child’s name lives with his mother/father there in school’s city and I live in City, State. I remain, very much, an active part of Child’s Name every day life and I am very interested in how he does in school.

I would like to verify, first, that I am listed as his mother/father on all necessary school paperwork. My contact information is as follows :
789 Main Ave.
Somewhere, AB 12345
Cell : 555-1212
Home : 555-1212
Email : me@somewhere.com

Please, don’t hesitate to call me regarding Child’s Name, no matter the time, should questions or issues come up. With a non-emergency situation where Child’s Name may need to be picked up from school, obviously distance would keep me from being available. However, in an emergency situation, should Child’s Name need emergency medical care and need a release from a parent, I am able to give a release for his care and should be listed as the first alternate contact after his father/mother. I should also be the first alternate contact for all other behavior related or non-emergency situations where Child’s Name does not need to be sent home. The best number to reach me at is my cell phone number.

Additionally, I would like to be copied on report cards, progress reports and any correspondence sent to Child’s Name’s father/mother regarding my child’s progress, behavior or other teacher or administrative comments or concerns. I would also like to participate in all parent teacher conferences via conference call.

I understand that cost could be a concern for the school. I have included 10 SASEs, and will be happy to provide more as needed, as well as arrange to call the school at appointed conference times to absorb long distance charges.

Enclosed you will find the pertinent excerpts from the court order. I appreciate your time and look forward to working with you to ensure Child’s Name’s continued educational success!

Sincerely,

Your name

sdfg

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Mary
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Mary

I have two children who moved with their Father almost three years ago to another state (TN). Right after they moved, I tried to contact their teachers and was dealt with very rudely and was basically told that they would not share any information with me. It would be too difficult to share information with two sets of parents, and that I needed to contact their Father–school policy. While I know that this is not the case for other divorced parents at that school, I believe that I was discriminated against because of the circumstances. You raise an interesting question–I… Read more »

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[…] Here is a letter to send to the school to remind them of your rights as a parent. You should send this each year, just to be safe. […]

Sarah
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Sarah

Thank you so much for this letter i think this is exactly what i was looking for. This is my sons second year at Knight Elementary School and is going to 1st grade in the fall. Last year was a nightmare trying to get his school records so this will clear everything up for the new teacher right from the beginning. A hearty thank you to you!

Jennifer White
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Jennifer White

Thank you for the examples. They are so perfect for me. I have been searching for something like this for a long time. Looks like I will be sending these tomorrow to my daughters school

Lisa Miller
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Lisa Miller

Thank you very much for this suggestion and example. My daughter and I have been maintaining our LD relationship going on our fifth year. Almost 3,000 miles separate us. I’ve drafted a letter to her school and will be mailing it next week.

Zoe
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Thank you for this info. My desire to be involved in my daughter’s life has been framed by my ex-husband as interference and stalking to others. It makes all the difference knowing a law is SUPPOSED to support us.