Courtesy of the Florida Sun Sentinel
Florida Congress is currently debating a bill proposed by State Rep. Kelli Stargel, which requires elementary school teachers to evaluate and grade parents
of their students based on their perceived “quality” of their
involvement with their children’s schools. The quality factors come
from responses to requesting meetings, their child’s absences and
tardiness, and their child’s “physical preparation for school,”
which includes how well they are eating and sleeping.
In each of these categories, parents will receive either “satisfactory,”
“needs improvement,” or “unsatisfactory” grades.
The big kicker? These grades would appear in the child’s report
card, which is part of the school’s and
child’s permanent record.
While this bill is only being considered in Florida, the chances are great
that if the bill passes, Texas will follow suit.
So what does this mean for Texas Family Law? It could mean a lot.
In divorce proceedings or family law order modification proceedings, attorneys
could introduce these report cards as evidence in custody cases.
We always encourage parents to take notes of their spouse’s behavior–with
date and timestamps, we strongly add–to help bolster their arguments
for seeking custody of their children. Couple these notes along with official
report cards from schools that appear to coincide with the notes, and
you could possibly have a strong case on your side.
Flipped the other way, parenting report cards could also be used to counter
the opposing party’s notes about your client. For example, if the
opposing party in your case claims in detailed notes that your client
does not care about the children, does not get involved with them at school,
etc., the schools’ parenting report cards could paint an entirely
different picture. Which evidence do you think a judge will consider more
seriously: school report card or a hurt/angry spouse’s notes?
Of course, this is all speculation for something that hasn’t even
been proposed in Texas, but if this bill does catch on, then we can all
expect to see school parenting report cards in Requests for Production
in the near future.