Calgary Board of Education
The purpose of this bulletin is to inform you of the Calgary
Board of Education's (CBE) position with respect to custody
This bulletin is not for the purpose of providing parents
with legal advice.
School is a Positive Environment for Teaching
The CBE has a policy of neutrality. Quite
simply this means that in every and all situations where there
may be a custody dispute between the child's parents; the
teachers, the staff, the schools, and the CBE will remain
neutral at all times. CBE staff are not permitted to provide
letters of opinion or support or to be interviewed by lawyers,
parents, or other professionals pertaining to a custody dispute.
Nor are they permitted to voluntarily testify for or against one
parent or the other or in fact as a neutral party.
As you have no doubt been advised by your
child's school, we require a current certified copy of
the order governing the custody of your child to be kept on your
child's file at school. This does not mean that the school or
the CBE are in the position of enforcing that order. The purpose
of having the order is so that the school can clearly identify
who has legal custody of the child. It is the custodial parent's
responsibility to see that the school has the most recent order
governing the custody of the child.
The following are terms which may be in the
Order dealing with your child's custody arrangement and the
CBE's interpretation of them as they apply to your child's
Sole custody: This means that the
parent who is awarded sole custody of the child regardless of
access terms to the other parent, is the only parent the school
or the CBE will deal with regarding the child. This parent is
the one who makes any and all decisions ranging from educational
programming to who can pick the child up from school.
Access: An access parent (regardless of
the terms of that access) is entitled to receive copies of
report cards, view the student file and may attend
parent/teacher interviews at the invitation of the sole
custodial parent or separately if the school where the child
attends is willing to accommodate separate interviews. An access
parent cannot visit the child at school.
Joint Custody: Most joint custodial
orders include a phrase like "with day to day care and control
to (one parent or the other). For school purposes the school and
the CBE will only deal with the parent who has day to day care
and control unless it is specifically put on the record that we
may deal with both parents. The other parent will be treated in
the same manner as an access parent unless otherwise specified.
Where the order does not have this phrase, the school will be
all liberty to deal with both parents of the child. In the event
of a dispute between the parents, the school cannot be an
intermediary and the status quo that exists prior to the dispute
shall continue until one or the other parent obtains a court
order to the contrary or an agreement is reached between the
parents. These matters will have to be addressed by each
parent's lawyer and the school cannot be involved with respect
to mediation of the issue. In the event of divided, split or
shared custody, the same rules as above will apply. It is up to
the parents to ensure that the person whom we will be taking
instructions from is specifically designated with the principal.
No Access: If a parent has been denied
access to the child by court order, that parent will not receive
any information from the CBE about the child.
No Court Documentation: In the situation
where parents are recently separated and/or no court
documentation is in place, the school shall defer to the parent
with whom the child lives for the majority of time. The other
parent will be considered to be an access parent.
Unmarried Parents: In the case of
unmarried parents where no court documentation is in place, the
school shall defer to the parent with whom the child lives for
the majority of time. The other parent will be considered to be
an access parent.
Information about Students
The CBE is under new legislation called The
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP)
which protects student information. This means that for the
safety of your child, information regarding your child will not
routinely be given over the telephone to anyone, including the
The custodial parent cannot unilaterally
decide whether or not the other parent has access to their
child's school information. Only a court order clearly stating
no access will prohibit the school from providing an
access parent with their child's school information.
Under the School Act, only the parent is
entitled to information regarding the student. This means that
for Parent/Teacher interviews, information regarding the student
will only be provided to the parent of the child. Stepparents,
relatives, or friends of the parent can not attend the
It will be at the discretion of the Principal
and teacher of your child's school whether or not separate
interviews will be accommodated for separated and divorced
parents. In the case of joint, shared, divided or split custody,
if the school can not accommodate separate interviews, one
interview time will be set and communicated to both parents. It
will be up to the parents to decide who will attend or attend
together. In the case of a sole custodial parent, by court
order, it is the parent with sole custody who has the right to
attend the interview, the other parent may attend at the sole
custodial parent's invitation.
Access to Children at School
As we are sure everyone can appreciate,
education is our primary concern. It is impractical and unfair
to expect teachers, administrators and staff to adjudicate,
interpret and enforce every custody order that they receive from
the parents in their community. Therefore, the school will not
accept schedules of "morn days" and "dad days". It is the
custodial parent's responsibility to inform the school of who
may or may not pick up the child from school at any time. It is
an issue between the parents of the child which days each may do
so; the school will not be involved in this arrangement.
You may not use the school as a neutral pick
up or drop off place for your children to facilitate access.
An access parent may not visit with the child
Security of Children
Every reasonable effort will be made by the
school to protect all of the children who attend there. The CBE
cannot undertake any further responsibilities with respect to
individual children. If you have extraordinary concerns
regarding the safety of your child, please discuss them with the
Principal of your child's school and best reasonable efforts
will be made to accommodate your concern.