Teachers May Be Able to Grade Parents? How This Can Affect Your Divorce or Child Custody Case

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.

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