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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7296
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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My son is attending a private school in Montana. We signed

Customer Question

My son is attending a private school in Montana. We signed a contract. Their position is that they will not send his school transcript until we pay them a disputed amount. The contract we signed does not contain any language that they can withhold school records. Can they withold the records? Is this a education issue or contract issue?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Maverick replied 8 years ago.

This is a contract issue more than likely especially since you are dealing with a private school. If there was nothing in the contract that you signed on this subject or nothing in the contract that indirectly made you agree to comply with all school policies and procedures (assuming that withholding records under such circumstances is written in their handbook somewhere), then you may be able to get a court order to force them to turn it over since you were never informed or agreed to such withholding.

 

However, you should read the link below to get a feel for how the courts have viewed this issue.

 

http://www.isacs.org/resources/monographs/library.asp?id=172&category=6&action=show

 

 

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This information is provided so you may better discuss legal issues with your attorney. Consult a local attorney for legal advice before acting. You may be able to find an attorney in your area to further assist you at http://www.martindale.com/ or at http://www.lawyers.com/ .

 

 

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Nothing in the one page contract mentions witholding of the transcripts and nothing in the one page contract mentions school policies
Expert:  Maverick replied 8 years ago.

Okay, then you son (not you) may be able to argue that he is entitled to those records since he never entered into a contract for payment and that those records contain his personal information.

 

You, as parents, may be able to argue that you were never put on notice that withholding of the records was part of the deal and since you have paid at least part of the tuition, the school is now estopped from asserting the withholding argument.

 

Where a student is asked to withdraw for nonpayment, the independent school should recognize that it is under a duty to take reasonable measures to mitigate the losses resulting from the action.

 

The school will try to argue that since you breached first, they have no duty to carry out the balance of the contract. So you are trying to make some argument that the court case accept based on what is fair. This is still uphill for you, but worth a shot.