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Filed under: General — Eric @ 1:30 pm Fri 12th September 2008

I have just sent the following email to Murrays Bay Intermediate.

Hi Colin,
We have received a complaint from one of our members that you allowed a pupil to be withdrawn from your school without contacting his father who is of course a legal guardian. Education is a guardianship issue and a school ought to notify a child’s legal guardians when something as major as a mother withdrawing a child from the school occurs.
We seek an explanation of why the child’s father was not notified.
We would also like to see the school institute procedures to make sure that this type of thing does not occur again.
I am wondering if anybody else has experienced anything similar. 


  1. The answer is yes and schools do it all the time.
    The essence of guardianship is you can act alone.
    Kid hurts themselves and you can agree to medical care.
    School trip and one parent signs the permission slip.
    No where does it say parents have to act together.
    The duty that does exist is for one guardian to consult other guardians.
    It’s not primarily the school that is at fault but the guardian who asked for the change of school.
    “Education Law” by Brother Pat Lynch is an excellent little book on all these issues and you will probably find a copy in every school principal’s office.
    I’m intrigued by the phrase “one of our members” what group do your represent?

    Comment by allan Harvey — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  2. The schools only contact the custodial (cough, cough, usually mother!) parent about anything. Once again, you’re not considered a parent unless you have that coveted title of CUSTODIAN!

    Comment by Scott — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 6:26 pm

  3. i am also aware of where a school has allowed a mother to change the surmname of a child when the parents were still legally married.They seem to do whataever the mother asks to make life easier for themselves.

    Comment by bruce dewar — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  4. Agreed Bruce. The schools also make up lies just so they don’t sound so bad, even the Board of (un)trustees has done this!

    Comment by Scott — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  5. It is interesting that this is occurring a lot. It ought not to be. It has been held in Rea v Rea, a case involving a mother transferring a child from one school to another, that a mother is not entitled to disrupt the life of a child without consulting the other guardian (father) and the judge ordered that the child be returned to his original school. s16(5) of the Care of Children Act 2004 states

    ‘However, in exercising (or continuing to exercise) the duties,
    powers, rights, and responsibilities of a guardian in relation to
    a child, a guardian of the child must act jointly (in particular,
    by consulting wherever practicable with the aim of securing
    agreement) with any other guardians of the child.

    The legal test is practicable. What hasn’t been tested in Court yet is whether a school can be taken to court as a party to the respondent when a guardian acts in contravention of s16(5).

    This is something I would love to argue in Court.

    Comment by Eric — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  6. It is not my personal experience neither anybody that has come to me for help that schools in general follow the law – Luckily I did find 2 in my area that have not only followed the book mentioned by Allan-H but also followed our FC Orders.

    It is WINZ and CYFS that don’t follow FC Orders – In fact my experience suggests that MSD is in charge of the FC not Judges or the Law

    Onward – Jim

    Comment by Jim Bailey — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  7. Clearly the obligation is on a parent to consult with other guardians. As pointed out by Eric the FC can take a dim view on unilateral decisions (Will do if daddy has been lacking in consultation, a lottery if mummy hasn’t asked). I have had a few relocations overturned and one change in Dr and lots of disputes about schooling decided by the court.
    Bugger all chance in adjoining a school as a party. Judges would flick that out quick smart. You could always try a civil case for damages (eg additional travelling expenses) against the school itself if you really want to be paying court costs for frivolous actions. Schools are part of the system and it’s the Courts perceived view that they shouldn’t be trifled with.
    This kind of disputes is a bloody good reason to oppose appointment of new guardians which was one of the trumpeted provisions of the CoCA. Why ever put yourself willingly as one of three guardians and risk the potential of being outvoted? I strongly counsel guys who have suggested getting their new partner listed as an additional guardian to not be so stupid. Normally you only need to be point out that they once thought the mother of their child could never seek to harm them and the penny drops.

    Comment by allan Harvey — Fri 12th September 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  8. hi I am a single farther fighting for my son so he’s not sent back to new Zealand to his mother who is a drug addict.
    I am currently living in Australia with my son and I need to prove how the family court system and child youth and family systems don’t work in new Zealand please if you can help me with sum information that can benefit me in my fight for my son it would be much appreciated.

    Tama Awatere

    Comment by Tama — Sat 13th September 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  9. Tama – Looks a hard one to me – I would suggest a good yak maybe Emails with the very fine lawyer Rod Hooker here in Auckland and used to dealing with these issues – He advertises on the top left of the front page of this site or You can Email me for his contact details – Onward – Jim [email protected]

    Comment by Jim Bailey — Sat 13th September 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  10. Tama – If you Email me your where abouts I will also put you in contact with those who can support you as Stand Strong in Australia – The Father Friendly Data Base? (FFDB?) contains many contact World-Wide – Onward – Jim

    Comment by Jim Bailey — Sun 14th September 2008 @ 8:09 am


    Comment by Colin of Nazareth — Sun 14th September 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  12. Dear Tama, if you send me your EMAIL address, I can send an example.
    MurrayBacon [email protected]

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 18th September 2008 @ 9:52 pm

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