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The More You Know: Anxious Parents

By Net Assets posted 07-30-2018 08:49 AM

  
anxious parents

Risk Management |

Managing relationships between schools and parents is becoming more, not less, difficult. 

From the July/August 2018 Net Assets magazine

The following is an excerpt of the article "The More You Know," which covers nine additional topics (see box below). 

    This information is provided for general educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as, or in place of, legal advice. The authors and reader do not have an attorney/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to work with their legal counsel when addressing specific issues.

    By Grace Chan and Michael Blacher, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

    Managing relationships between schools and parents is becoming more, not less, difficult. Parent anxiety generally reflects concerns about their children: social interactions, academic achievement (at increasingly younger ages) and eventually college enrollment. The result can be parents behaving badly by making unreasonable demands, refusing to hold their children accountable, engaging in harassing, threatening or bullying behavior, launching unfair criticism online, and even initiating litigation. The list goes on and on.

    We have seen a marked increase in parents lashing out at administrators, teachers, other parents and even children in response to alleged wrongs, no matter how slight. Yet schools can take steps to hold parents accountable:

    • Make sure handbooks explain conduct expectations clearly, and that enrollment contracts require parents to maintain a positive and constructive relationship with the school. Parents may disagree, but they must do so in a constructive manner.
    • Hold parents responsible when they do misbehave. Failing to call out bad behavior will only encourage more bad behavior.
    • Communicate transparently and enforce policies consistently. The majority of parents who sue schools are not those who have strong claims, but rather those who feel wronged or that they have not been heard.

    Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach, taking these steps will put schools in the best position to maintain parental relationships, to separate a family if necessary and to defend against claims if they arise.

    Grace Chan and Michael Blacher are both based in California with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

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