Children’s Law Center assists grandmother in enrolling grandson in school even without a court-ordered custody hearing.
Grandmother Rosalie, who lived in a rural northern Indiana county, contacted the Children’s Law Center requesting information on how to enroll her 16-year-old grandson Zach in high school near her home. Zach’s parents had asked Rosalie to allow Zach to live at her home during the summer. Zach’s parents then moved to California and did not give Rosalie their address. When Rosalie tried to reach Zach’s parents, their cell phone was disconnected. Rosalie explained to Katie, the Children’s Law Center attorney, that Zach had adjusted well to her home and was eager to begin attending school, but the school would not allow her to enroll Zach without his parents’ written consent. Rosalie, who receives Social Security Disability because she has degenerative disc disease, had an appointment to meet with a Legal Aid attorney in late September about petitioning for court ordered custody of Zach, but she wanted to enroll Zach in school when it resumed on August 1. Katie sent Rosalie information from the Indiana Department of Education and a copy of an Indiana statute, which provides that schools cannot require relatives to have court-ordered custody in order to enroll children in school. Katie also gave Rosalie the name and telephone number of the State Attendance Officer. The following week, Rosalie called Katie and reported that she had been successful in enrolling Zach in high school, and he was looking forward to playing on the school football team.