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Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 42631
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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I've had my access rights revoked to my childrens school

Customer Question

Hi,I've had my access rights revoked to my childrens school family portal where I was once able to enjoy seeing their school progress reports.I formally had these rights for over 5 years ,I am now divorced from my childrens mother and I know longer see them (not my choice).I contacted the school regarding this matter and they sent me the below letter.My children are 17 and 16,can the school do what it has done and can I get my access rights to the Portal back?
My children are being influenced by their mother.Thankyou
Unless there are Court Orders to the contrary there is usually no question about parents having access to information about their children in cases of separated families. However, in regard to older students, usually 16 (sometimes it can be 15), they can request that reports and other information not be supplied to a parent or parents under privacy legislation. The legislation does not have age restrictions and accordingly requests to withhold information can be made.
I mentioned above the matter of age, because it is important that decisions of this nature are not made lightly by a student. It is not the College’s desire or in our best interests to not allow access to information to a parent. Therefore, in forming a view on this I want to as much as possible be convinced that this is a considered view by a student and not potentially one of the other parent. Whilst we do not have a specific policy around this matter, I have been guided by the Decision Making Responsibilities for Students policy of the Department of Education & Training. In that policy it is clear an adult (18 and older) can make their own decisions, but they also refer to a “mature minor”. Below is an extract from the policy on that concept:
Mature minor
The law recognises that as children become older and more mature, they are more capable of making their own decisions about a wide range of issues. The law recognises that a child may reach this stage even before they are 18 years of age. These children are referred to as “mature minors.”
In order to determine whether a specific student is a mature minor, the principal or relevant staff member will need to be satisfied that the child has sufficient maturity, understanding and intelligence to make up their own mind about the particular issue.
Accordingly, after speaking with your children I have no doubt that they are “mature minors” and as such can make decisions for themselves about who has access to their reports.
Should you wish to discuss this further with me, I am happy to take a call or respond via email.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning, My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.Do you have court orders?Your children are old bough to make their own decisions on whether they want to see you.Why does the mother not want you to know what the children are doing at school?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Did you not read the email?

I previously had access to the family portal,it was revoked without my knowledge,the letter contains the schools response,what more do you need?

Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
I do not understand your last comment. I have read your initial post and I do not see that there are any orders in place.The family portal, are you referring to the Family Court Portal?I have neot seen any letter from the school.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

you really haven't read the question!

The first line says school family portal,it's where parents can log on and view reports,attendance etc.

The letter from the school starts at "Unless there are Court Orders to..."

I'm divorced from the mother,there are no orders.

The issue is about me getting my rights back to the portal,the school is denying me this.

Understand?

What are my options,is the schools letter valid?

Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
The law says that you both have equal parental responsibility unless the court changes that. I am not sure what the school has cut you off. You are the father of the children and you have the same rights as the mother to access the portal.The divorce from the mother has nothing to do with you being the childrens farther. Here is information for youhttp://www.lawhandbook.org.au/handbook/ch05s02s01.phpYou write to the school and advise them of this and further tell them that if your rights are not reinstated you will be commencing proceedings against them to get access and you will be seeking an order for costs against them. The courts have not taken away your rights and if they are going to cancel your access they should do the same to the mother. Have they referred to any policy of the school that you had agreed to when the children were enrolled? If there is no such policy that says the parent that the children live with will be the only ones that have access they have to reinstate you. Are you in the process of mediation with the mother about where the children live and contact or have you reach a satisfactory agreement between you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They have not referred to any policy upon school enrollment,they have referred to "Decision Making Responsibilities for Students policy of the Department of Education & Training" as stated in the above letter,does this policy preclude me from accessing the Portal?.

I do not have contact with the children and there will be no plans for any agreement.

Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good Afternoon,Here is the link for the policyhttp://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/safety/pages/parentalresponsibility.aspx#link20The following is from that linkIn determining who is responsible for making a specific decision in relation to a student, the principal or relevant staff member should consider the following:Whether the student is an “adult” or “mature minor.” If so, the student can make his or her own decisions.If the student is not an adult or mature minor, consider the following: Parental responsibilityWhether there are any of the following Court orders in place: Parenting OrderFamily Violence Protection OrderProtection Order.Whether there are any of the following informal arrangements in place: Parenting PlanCarer.Consider the decision that needs to be made: Does it relate to a long term issue about the care, welfare and development of the student? If so, then the following persons can make the decision on behalf of the student: The persons with “parental responsibility” for “major long term issues”The person who has “guardianship” of the child or young personThe person who has been given responsibility for this decision pursuant to a Court Order or Parenting Plan.Does it relate to other issues about the care, welfare and development of the student? If so, then the following persons can make the decision on behalf of the student: The person with “parental responsibility” who is spending time with the child or young person at the particular timeThe person who has “custody” of the child or young personThe person who is the “carer” of the child or young person.It is the responsibility of principals and staff to request copies of relevant court orders or informal arrangements that are in place.Parents, guardians and/or carers are responsible for providing principals and staff with up-to-date information and documentation relating to relevant court orders or informal arrangements that are in place.It is clear that they need order and if there are no orders then things have changed unless they have taken the children to be adults or mature minors and they have allowed them to make the decision on your accessYou have a right to dispute this and seek more information.You have to ask them for more information on who they are listening to and if it is your ex wife then you will have to take the matter further.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning
I'm just following up our discussion earlier this week and seeing whether there is anything else I can assist you with.
If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know.
If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
Leon
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good Evening,
I'm just following up our discussion earlier this week and seeing whether there is anything else I can assist you with.
If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know.
If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
Leon