Shared Parenting and the ugly face of discrimination. For those of you who don’t know, shared parenting is a custody situation after divorce whereby a child shares some time in their Mother’s home and some time in their Father’s home. The different types of custody schedules can range from 50/50 households where they spend an equal amount of time in each parents homes to custody schedules where the split is 80/20 where one parent has the majority of the parenting time.

Here’s where discrimination rears its ugly head wreaking havoc on shared parenting households. Some elementary schools in the Calaveras Unified School District handout school information on a certain day of the week – like a Tuesday. If you happen to be in the unlucky position of not having custody on Tuesdays, then that unlucky parent is automatically not given information.

Some of you folks might be saying, “If you need information, just ask.” Well, I’m here to tell you that I have asked and that’s where the discrimination rears its ugly head. For some reason, the parent asking is considered the bad parent because they are asking for special treatment. The other parent didn’t send it to them. The school didn’t send it to them. They are in a lose-lose situation.

I’ve also been told “Ask your kid.” That’s not the solution. A child that lives in a shared custody situation does not need that burden. I won’t ask a kindergartener the date of the school field trip , the address, and what time they will be back. A fifth grader should not be responsible for telling a parent how he’s doing in class and what he needs to improve on.

Teachers should not have the right to block a parent’s access to information about their child without a court order – yet that is exactly what has happened.

I’m writing this in hopes that some Calaveras Unified teachers out there will read this and say “Yes, you’re right! Both parents deserve all the information. Regardless of the housing situation.” I’m hoping that you teachers out there can agree that part of your job is to keep all parents informed. I hope that you can agree that children are successful when all parents are informed, engaged, and participate in their child’s education. I also hope, that teachers can see that elementary school age children don’t need the added stress of trying to communicate important information.

Teachers have all the power to withhold information and discriminate against parents. This discrimination happens not because a parent has been deemed unfit by the courts- but because they don’t have custody on Tuesdays and their request for duplicate information is denied- or forgotten about. Also, teachers think that the parents should all just get along- wouldn’t that be just wonderful. No matter the situation with the parents – it’s part of a teacher’s job to keep parents informed.

I’ll leave you with this thought- The child loves both parents and given the choice wants both parents present at school activities.

Lorena Coose,

Valley Springs


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