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Deputy Principal won’t give me my sons school report

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Gender Politics,General,Law & Courts — Had_Enough @ 2:16 pm Thu 31st October 2013


My son is a Year 12 student at a large college in Hamilton. He was formerly in my custody but has been in his mother’s custody since 2008. The mother and I don’t get on and as a result of this she is quite obstructive and won’t send me copies of my sons school reports.

This being the case I contacted the deputy headmaster of the College and asked him if he would send me a copy. The deputy head told me that although I am on my sons birth cert as his father there was no proof that I am a legal guardian so he won’t send me a copy of my boys report. I have no document which actually states that I am a legal guardian and this seems to be what the deputy headmaster wants.

I’m in a Catch 22 situation with this deputy headmaster because he is saying that I have to give him a document which doesn’t exist before he will release the report. The deputy head is also saying that I am basically a third party so I am not entitled to a copy of the report. He has suggested that I hire a lawyer if I want to continue with my attempt to get this report. My daughter’s teacher doesn’t seem to have any problem at all giving me information about my daughter’s progress at school including end of year reports and she is also in her mother’s custody.

Does anyone out there know if I have any actual rights that are being breached here and how I can redress this situation? My feeling is that the mother of my children has given the deputy head some sob story about what a terrible man I am but there is nothing in the Court records to suggest that I have been anything other than a good father to my children. Has anyone got any suggestions about how I can go about getting a copy of my sons report? Thanks very much.



  1. Dude……

    Seriously that sounds so effed up it is not funny. I feel for you. Hopefully someone here will have some good advice to you, all I can give is sympathy and a what the…..

    Comment by Peter — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:25 pm

  2. I can certainly understand where you are coming from. My ex has private meetings with my daughters school. She even has private email sessions with my daughters teacher. Then im told, ‘you dont need to know/be involved’.

    Comment by 2c Worth — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:37 pm

  3. The jerk is just winding you up. If you can’t bring yourself to punch in the head sue the prick for being a dickhead and wasting your time. You are a natural guardian, not a legal guardian as appointed by the court. I will see if I can find it for you but one of the cases that sunk Family Court Judge Burns was precisely about this – whether he could suspend a father’s guardianship because of acrimony between the father and the mother. I can’t remember if it went to the High Court or not, but the answer is no. It is on the site here somewhere.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  4. Have a read of this.

    If you can get costs against the Family Court you can sue a school as well.

    March into the principal’s office and tell ‘it’ to keep the dog on a tighter leash or the school will be in court.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:47 pm

  5. High Court decision.

    The High Court was critical that the only legal precedent Judge Burns quoted for his decision was an earlier decision of his own where he did exactly the same thing. Justice Woolford noted that ‘Apart from quoting extensively from his previous decision, Judge Burns did not cite any other authority for the proposition that he had the jurisdiction to suspend the appellant’s guardianship rights”¦It is my view therefore that Judge Burns has exceeded his jurisdiction in purporting to suspend the appellant’s guardianship rights. Guardianship is a fundamental right of a parent.’

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:53 pm

  6. Write to the minister, that is what I did and now I am kept up to date and get sent reports.

    Comment by Scott B — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  7. Hi everyone, thanks for the feedback. It’s a very strange situation. I am on my child’s birth cert as his dad and one would think that is enough but apparently not. Also, there is no record of anything in the voluminous Court records that would suggest that I’ve been anything other than a good dad.

    Comment by Had_Enough — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  8. It’s not that strange, just that not everyone fights for their children like you do, and makes it to this website. It was even worse than this – I even had to fight to have my details entered in the school’s records as a parent. It was the office lady that decided my details should be omitted.

    This came to light because the principal tried to contact me through a third party because the school didn’t have my contact details.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 3:31 pm

  9. #4 downunder, Judge David Burns has ensured exactly the same has happened to me. According to all its up to mother to provide and she just won’t. My children go to three different schools and although teachers were happy to talk to me about my children they would not give me a copy of their reports. According to the schools they only have to ensure one parent gets them. Even though Mr Burns has been busted for his actions more than once, he still continues to
    do what he likes when he likes.

    Comment by roo — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  10. Custody and access are possession and care. Guardianship is the RIGHT of control over upbringing.

    Just because we have wankers like Burns in the ‘Black Hole of the family court’, doesn’t make them right.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 3:40 pm

  11. I would agree with down under. You are still a guardian no matter what the X says. See – You have rights.

    Thy to get the refusal in writing, Write to the board of trustees (Cc the minister and the X’s lawyer) What ever you do don;t threaten, just do it!

    Comment by Alastair — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  12. @Alastair – Do we need a law in this country; threatening a parent?

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 4:08 pm

  13. Had Enough

    This is not an uncommon event! Indeed I had similar problems with all 3 of my children and that got worse when they were at 3 different schools. I eventually gave up trying to be involved in their schooling (and every other aspect of their lives) as it all got too hard!
    As for Guardianship, your “responsibilities” are set out in the Care Of Children Act 2004. As you are on the child’s birth certificate as father it follows that you are a legal Guardian within the definition of the Act UNLESS your Guardianship status has been been removed by the Family Court. It is not for you to prove to the school that you are a Guardian or to go to the Family Court to have it confirmed. You should put the onus on your ex to prove you ARE NOT a Guardian!
    You should write to the Chair of the School’s Board of Trustees as they employ the Principal! Advise them of your Guardianship status under the Act (copy available on the Justice web site) and demand that you be properly advised of all things associated with your child’s education and in particular getting school reports. Say also, that unless they give you urgent confirmation that your Guardianship responsibilities will be facilitated by the school you will make a formal complaint to the Education Ministry and/or Education Minister.
    When I spoke to an Education Ministry staffer many years ago about a similar problem I had with my kids’ schools I was advised to write to them and they would take the matter up if my approach (as described above) came to nought!
    This is a typical example of how school’s take sides in matrimonial matters and make matters worse than they really need to be! I could say more but it won’t help you move forward.
    Good luck. You should get what you want, though it will take time. And don’t take NO for an answer, stay away from the Family Court as it will be an expensive exercise adn will take many months….

    Comment by Non Custodial Dad — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 4:10 pm

  14. I had to get my lawyer to write the school a “letter” asking the school to release school records to me. The school had been asked not to release the children’s records, to me as, on the pretext that this would constitute a breach of privacy. I now get school reports sent out to me like clock work. Its not right that a legal guardian has to involve a lawyer to get what they are ethically & legally entitled too.

    Comment by Colin — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  15. @Downunder I perceiveany statement such as “Unless you xxxxxxxxx I wsill” Guarenteed to raise a persons hackles!

    Comment by Alastair — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 4:16 pm

  16. I understand that within minutes of Union of Fathers being threatened to intervene that the school will provide you with reports and all other documentation you wish. Matters like attendance records, reports, discipline records are fully disclosable to both parents unless guardianship has been removed which is extremely uncommon.
    I know lots of guys with protection orders against them, some who are even forbidden by the Court to have any contact at all with the child yet they still get the school information.
    I expect this particular school is just ignorant of the legal situation and are pandering to mum’s desire to exclude father from the children’s lives.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  17. Guardianship – you have the guardianship act – you have all your rights to parent protected in the guardianship act – yes that may be true – but try enforcing them – unless you have a bottomless pit of money and will live several life times, may I say the conflicted interests of the legal system will keep you going back for more – trying to enforce those rights – you see having the rights and enforcing them are two distinctly different matters……. it is impossible to suggest that a parent heads to court every time his rights to parent are removed or interfered with – especially as there is NO CONSEQUENCE to those who do……..

    Just like the Bill of rights, Human Rights, Rights to due process, rights to justice, Privacy rights , rights to help when you need it most – its only when you need these rights and ask for them = do you realize how IMPOSSIBLE it is to get them enforced. The system will not help = been there done that.

    These allusions of “Rights” are there as a facade to make society FEEL good……..

    Comment by hornet — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:00 pm

  18. Hi Allan, it does seem like an amazing coincidence that within a few minutes of me threatening to involve UoF I got a reply stating that the report will be made available to me. From what I have been told by the school I will now get the report unless, quote; “she has a written court order prohibiting you access” . So, she doesn’t have that so I should get the report tomorrow. Thanks Allan 🙂

    Comment by Had_Enough — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:04 pm

  19. Like most good parents – when you find out the systems and organizations offering HELP – will not ever help you, you are forced to take the law into your own hands – thats why we have so many good parents convicted in the courts for domestic violence…..which suits the system just fine – then you will never have rights, because you have lost all credibility, integrity and your character…… thats why protection orders and violence orders are for life………

    Comment by hornet — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:07 pm

  20. ‘she has a written court order prohibiting you access’

    I don’t think so. Guardianship and access are not the same thing.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:09 pm

  21. Hi Downunder, nah they’re saying that if she had one then I wouldn’t get a copy of the report. But she doesn’t have one and from what I’ve heard it would be very difficult for her to get one seeing there is no history of violence or abuse involved. Seems to me that the deputy head is something of a White Knight though, just taking the mothers word for everything without granting me the benefit of a doubt,

    Comment by Had_Enough — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:14 pm

  22. But I see your point. Even if I did have a protection order or something on me that wouldn’t negate all of my Guardianship rights such as access to school reports, right?

    Comment by Had_Enough — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:21 pm

  23. Yes

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  24. White Knight – the law of “I said so.” You cannot have your child’s report because, I said so!

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  25. Care of Children Act covers guardianship decisions. It is important to remember that the familycaught$ often has extreme difficulty to honour the provisions in the act, at the request of a non-custodial parent. (Remember that the concept of a non-custodial parent was thrown out by Parliament, when it passed the Care of Children Act 2004, to supersede the Guardianship Act 1968. Despite this, many familycaught$ judges are still lost decades in the past and light-years off this planet about children’s interests.)

    Access to information about yourself (or people that you are guardian for) is covered by Privacy Act (where any person can ask for a copy of information held about them, or about a person that they are a guardian for). If you have a birth certificate showing you as a parent, then you are automatically a guardian of that child, unless the familycaught$ has removed you from guardianship.

    Removal of guardianship should only be if you have shown yourself as being totally unable or unwilling to be a guardian. It is never removed as a punishment, it would only be done if the person showed that they were unable to exercise the responsibility in the future, or if their judge was “burns”! It gives me images of a jaded judge enveloped in flames.)

    If a school suggests that the custodial parent has claimed that there is a familycauight$ order, restricting supply of information to the other parent, provide the current judgement(s) to the school and ask the school to supply you with a copy of this supposed restricting judgement, or to supply you with the information that you asked for. There is no need for anger or drama. Just quietly and solidly get on with the job of being parent.

    I have heard of examples of CYFs social workers claiming (untruthfully and falsely) that the parents were to be denied access to information from the school, about their own child. When the school were shown copies of the relevant legislation and current familycaught$ orders, they did then eventually comply with the law. The proper procedure is to quietly fill such people’s mouths with concrete.

    The Official Information Act is usually only relevant for general information, that is not personal to you.

    It does help to assist the school with the reasonable costs of providing the information to you. Remember that they want to help your child, in the sense of education. They don’t want to spend their time, being caught in the crossfire between ex-sex partners.

    While you are at it, why not offer to assist the school in others ways? Many fathers turn a difficult communication situation into a constructive set of relationships. Your child’s teachers have professional skills about children’s development and on many occasions have provided common sense affidavits, that have gone a long way to countering perjured affidavits provided by alienating custodial parents. Common sense is rare stuff in familycaught$, especially common sense that a judge might listen to.

    Be patient about sorting out these types of minor conflicts. Remember that it took the familycaught 6 years, to sort itself out over Jayden Hedley.

    Legislation website

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  26. Dear Readers,

    I was able to attain a parallel of reporting when requested from New Zealand to Sweden.
    It took a perhaps a couple of e-mails, ascertaining right as opposed to defending against non compliance to a natural guardian.

    The tome is thick with these treasures.

    Kindest Regards

    Paul Catton.

    South Auckland Refuge for Men with Families
    (09) 269 4411
    021 221 9192

    Comment by Paul Catton — Thu 31st October 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  27. Paul, that would be interesting reading – isnt is also interesting that countries like Sweden, Norway and Switzerland – protect rights as opposed to making you defend them…..

    Norway = in one company I dealt with – ALL STAFF were paid the same salary/wage – for example – the CEO was on the SAME Salary as the Cleaner – FACT – and if you look currently – FINANCIALLY – NORWAY owes Nothing to the IMF and is probably in the BEST shape of all Western countries FINANCIALLY…….with better living conditions and social issues – now why would that be – EQUALITY?????

    Comment by hornet — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 6:50 am

  28. Seems we’ve all been here, but I would suggest that in earlier days the obstruction came from the bitter and twisted bitch in the office. Like the Family Court the shit is working its way up the food chain to the principal’s office.

    If we have uninformed jerks running our schools and choosing to make life unnecessarily difficult for fathers they should be treated accordingly, complained about and dealt to as severely as possible.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 7:10 am

  29. Downunder,

    dealt to as severely as possible

    May I be of service?

    yours faithfully, MurrayBacon – amateur axe murderer of the blunt axes

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 7:18 am

  30. We need to know who these people are. At least somebody searching Judge David Burns by name can get a fair idea of what they’re up against.

    Who is the deputy principal and at what school?

    Out this person Had-Enough, and help other father’s while you are helping yourself.

    If they get promoted to principal the name is still here; that way we have a record of their childish behaviour.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 7:42 am

  31. Actually Had_Enough could you change record to school report.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 7:44 am

  32. Dear Downunder, most of all, I like cutting up people who name others, but hide behind a nom de plume themselves,

    cruel blunt axe murderer [MurrayBacon 34 Valley Road, Mount Eden.]

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 8:12 am

  33. We need some anonymity to encourage whistle-blowers.

    What’s the difference between this and a Fairfax story written by in house journos?

    What’s more important; letting everyone have the same information or knowing where it came from?

    Surely we would be just as interested if this man was promoted to principal at a school as we would if Burns was made a High Court Judge.

    If principals want to politicise their jobs, then they are asking for it.

    Why shouldn’t they then be the subject of media scrutiny? And journalists are not required to name their source.

    Don’t see any requirement for blunt axes here.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 8:45 am

  34. HI
    I am a father in exactly the same situation. The fact is that unless there is a court order in place you are legally entitled to know everything about your child up to the age of 18 (even though you keep paying until 19) This inludes school reports, where they are being taken i.e. overseas etc. You cannot be granted visiting rights after the age of 12 if the child does not want to see you (as in my case) i have not seen my kids for three years they don’t want to know me, there mother is very bitter and both are over 12 so i lose out.

    I get my sons report sent to me digitally by the school. I get nothing about my daughter as she is now 19. My son won’t see me neither will my daughter and my wife tried very hard to stop giving me information until i threatened family court as the FC are not interested in emotion they deal in fact and withholding legal information is simply not allowed.

    I would fight this and threaten family court for your ex wife and also threaten legal action on the school also. A threat should be enough.

    sucks when your a dad that actually wants to be involved and cares about your kids but everyone does everything to stop that happening, then they can moan we are all bastards, kind of suits them eh. good luck

    Comment by Mr Cellophane — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 11:04 am

  35. Dear Downunder – I agree that your point is the most important:

    What’s more important; letting everyone have the same information or knowing where it came from?

    All of the present dysfunctions in familycaught$ occur and continue to occur, only because the thieves are able to hide their contribution to our society under the cloak of secrecy.

    Not just hide under secrecy, but lying to cover their own tracks and responsibility. I do want to open up discussion about parents driven to insanity or suicide or living well outside of NZ. In all of these cases, the children are denied their birthright? of a meaningful relationship with both of their parents.

    As you read the stories above, please ask yourself:

    1. Where are the children in all of this?
    2. Are these government interventions protecting or dis-serving these children?

    Just for your entertainment [I don’t want to mislead anyone into taking this legislation any more seriously than placeholder “judges” take it!]:

    5Principles relevant to child’s welfare and best interests
    The principles referred to in section 4(5)(b) are as follows:
    (a)the child’s parents and guardians should have the primary responsibility, and should be encouraged to agree to their own arrangements, for the child’s care, development, and upbringing:
    (b)there should be continuity in arrangements for the child’s care, development, and upbringing, and the child’s relationships with his or her family, family group, whānau, hapu, or iwi, should be stable and ongoing (in particular, the child should have continuing relationships with both of his or her parents):
    (c)the child’s care, development, and upbringing should be facilitated by ongoing consultation and co-operation among and between the child’s parents and guardians and all persons exercising the role of providing day-to-day care for, or entitled to have contact with, the child:
    (d)relationships between the child and members of his or her family, family group, whānau, hapu, or iwi should be preserved and strengthened, and those members should be encouraged to participate in the child’s care, development, and upbringing:
    (e)the child’s safety must be protected and, in particular, he or she must be protected from all forms of violence as defined in section 3(2) to (5) of the Domestic Violence Act 1995 (whether by members of his or her family, family group, whānau, hapu, or iwi, or by other persons):
    (f)the child’s identity (including, without limitation, his or her culture, language, and religious denomination and practice) should be preserved and strengthened.

    Warning: Some amendments have not yet been incorporated

    Warning: The government doesn’t take this legislation seriously enough, to keep it up to date on the website. It would be a waste of money to keep it up to date. The details don’t matter, in the same way that it isn’t able to be relied upon in familycaught$, for any purpose.

    It is dishonest window dressing, to mislead the public so that they are easily milked by thieves wearing good clothes, that you have paid for….

    Remember that the familycaught$ only hurts parents who take it seriously.

    Unfortunately, I believe that our familycaught$ does children more harm than good, even without considering the financial harm that they do to the parents. Put the two together and then you have the value of these thieves.

    Parents with satisfactory mental health don’t go near to familycaught$, the way that I did! Their children are the only ones protected in NZ, by the Care of Children Act 2004.

    Yours faithfully,
    Deborah [dishonest to the core] Smallhome? (sorry, I am frothing at the mouth….)

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  36. Hi All,
    Well, I received my sons school reports today. The school concerned is Hamilton Boys High School. I get the feeling that the guy I was dealing with doesn’t really have a clue about anything and I am waiting to hear back from the Principal re a complaint I have made against him. He seems to be in charge of enrollments. Anyway, I’m supposed to hear back on Monday. I have found the whole process to be very humiliating and demeaning. I have had a lot to do with the raising of my 3 children since I split with their mother 11 years ago. My eldest son has always in my custody and my boy, who goes to HBHS, has spent a considerable amount of time in my custody previously. I’m still seriously pissed off over the whole thing but will see what the Principal has to say on Monday before writing off HBHS all together.

    Comment by Had_Enough — Fri 1st November 2013 @ 7:43 pm

  37. Glad you got the reports. As a general point one of the key things for a Dad to do when seperated, is to make that you have independent reltionships with the key thirs parties in your children’s lives. Most importantly this is Dr’s, teachers, school principals, school secretaries but also those involved in your children’s sports team etc.
    As Allan Harvey and others have pointed out the law is clear and once the third partiesw know they are required to keep you informed most will oblige very promptly.
    As a parent you can make it easier by making sure the relevant people have your eMail, phone numbers, address etc. Even to the point of leaving a pile of stamped addressed envelopes if there are things you want mailed.
    Finally as hard as it is try not to express your frustrations or anger to the third parties. Getting a third party such as mckenzie friend, uof support etc to help can be a good way of removing the emotion but getting the solution you want.

    Comment by Ken — Sat 2nd November 2013 @ 5:51 am

  38. That’s good news Had_Enough. When dealing with employees of the state one should always assume stupidity before malice, (Family Court excluded) but it appears standards in education are now so low that this applies to deputy principals as well.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 2nd November 2013 @ 7:18 am

  39. We have had the same!!!! Legally, as a parent you are a guardian. If the courts takes away your access. We always provide a copy of the court orders etc, in which they state that both parents are legal guardians. It has been our experience that the schools are not up to date or even familiar with the legal goings on of guardianship or the family court set up. I see above that you have now recieved a school report, please bear in mind that you may have to remind them and rehash this same arguement each and every year from now on in, as for us we are entering the 9th year and have just last term missed yet another report……. “mum” goes in every time and complains that her privacy and parenting has been questioned (reports are not even discussed with the kids or family!) and removes us from the contacts list at the school, skipping newsletters etc. Please, for your future sanity, keep on top and up to date with EVERYTHING scholastic!!! 12 year old boys can be very impressionable and nervy!

    Comment by Karma — Wed 13th November 2013 @ 11:04 am

  40. Ken, good point above on Drs, teachers and the rest of the school body, but also sports coaches (as most of this is private now too) dentist, friends and their parents too.

    Comment by Karma — Wed 13th November 2013 @ 11:06 am

  41. Hey Ken and Karma, I agree with all that. The impression I got from the Headmaster was that she really wasn’t happy about giving me the report and I am quite sure I will have to jump through hoops to get subsequent reports. It seems that the State and a multitude of other institutions regard non custodial Father’s as second rate parents who must of course be dead beat Dad’s otherwise why has the children’s sainted mother been abandoned. As punishment these people should have to live with my ex for 1 year so they can find out what sort of a toll constant emotional abuse has on a man. I have a feeling that one day we will look back in horror at this era (or at least our grandchildren will) with the same disgust as we now look at how Black Americans were treated in the 20th century or how women were treated pre the Feminist movement. Equality for all, regardless of gender, would be nice wouldn’t it!

    Comment by Had_Enough — Fri 15th November 2013 @ 12:17 pm

  42. I am divorced with a son at school. Of course the ex-wife does not provide any report nor information on the child’s progress in any sense. I can say that my son’s school has been responsible and separately sends me his report by mail.

    Comment by NZexile — Fri 29th August 2014 @ 6:33 pm

  43. You’re lucky they do that now – it is something we had to fight for.

    The education department went through a period of trying to deny fathers access to their child’s school information.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 30th August 2014 @ 9:10 am

  44. it is something we had to fight for

    I can’t ignore a rare moment like this. 🙂


    Comment by julie — Sat 30th August 2014 @ 10:19 am

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