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Parental Involvement:

Dealing With Social Service / Child Protective Issues

 

Q. We have four active sons. They play outside and have a blast. However, they do get bruises and scrapes as a result. But it's truly just "boys will be boys." However, some busybody decided to turn us in to the Child Protective Services unit as if we were some kind of child abusers. One day, two social workers showed up at school, demanded to have the boys pulled out of class and taken into a room with them, and then they proceeded to interrogate our boys about all kind of things, including whether we spanked them, where their mom and dad worked, etc. etc. They even made one boy pull his pants down! Nobody gave us any advance warning, or even called us afterwards. Our boys were devastated and they were the ones to tell us. Of course we called school, very upset. The school principal said the school is not allowed to interfere with a Child Protective Service investigation. What should we have done to prevent this, and what can we do now?

 

You and your children are protected by the U.S. Constitution's 4th and 9th Amendments from unreasonable searches and seizures covering incidents such as you describe. The social workers should have had a specific court order, and the school official should have requested a copy of it BEFORE letting the social workers do what they did. You deserved to be notified, either way.

 

Of course, the educators and social service workers are SUPPOSED to be on the lookout for child abuse and neglect. We are all in favor of preventing and stopping it, of course. But there are laws and parental rights involved here. Educators and others who work with children are bound by law to report any dangers that come to their attention regarding children, or evidence of abuse and neglect. However, there are certain legal requirements for this process to take place, and in your case, it sounds as though they were violated.

 

To respond to this incident, you might schedule a meeting with the principal and ask to see the court order. Go, with or without the principal, to the superintendent to discuss the absence of a court order if there was not one presented. Follow up with a brief presentation to your elected school board and to the local news media, if warranted. You might also consider getting an attorney, or asking your local Legal Aid Society for help if you can't afford an attorney, if your child or children were damaged by this incident.

 

For future reference, all parents might consider following this format for a letter to have on file at your child's or children's school(s). Give the school a new form letter every school year with any updated information, to make sure it stays on file:

 

Date

To:      Principal of School name

           School Name

           School Address

           Phone

 

Fr:       Name of Parent(s)

           Address

           Phone

 

Re:      Full names of children

 

To Those It May Concern:

 

Pursuant to the Fourth and Ninth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America:

 

1. My children will not be allowed to be removed from their classroom(s) by any agent of the Government/SCDSS without a properly executed search warrant.

 

2. My children will not be isolated in the presence of, nor interrogated by, such agents without the presence of the parent's representative and the children's legal representative.

 

3. In the event that such agents present themselves on school property, and have shown proper government identification, and a legally executed search warrant, said children will not be removed from classroom(s) for the purpose of any form of questioning or interrogation prior to notification and presence of one or both parents, the parents' representative and child's legal representative.

 

I am, for the record, refusing to consent to any interview of, search of, or physical examination of my children, my home, or myself and I am refusing to waive any rights pertaining to myself or my children.

 

If you ignore my exercise of these rights and attempt to procure a waiver, I wish to confer with my attorney prior to any conversation with law enforcement and/or child protection agency on the subject of waiver.

 

Any action taken in violation of these instructions is prima facie evidence of bad faith and of an overt and willful violation of my rights without my consent, and severs the responsible party/parties from any immunity protections provided for under the law based on the presumption of acts committed in good faith.

 

These instructions remain in effect as long as my children are enrolled in this school or until rescinded in writing by me.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

(Your signature)

 

Homework: More good information is found from organizations such as this:

 

http://www.familyrightsassociation.com/bin/white_papers-articles/investigations.html

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.ShowandTellforParents.com Parental Involvement 2013

 

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