Client-in-Litigation Policy

Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS) will maintain a position of neutrality when working with families/students going through custodial or personally related litigation (i.e., injury, social services, etc.). Only if subpoenaed should HCOS employees/contractors participate in any litigation proceedings. In the event a subpoena is served, HCOS administration must be notified as soon as possible.

Relationship with the Guardians
  1. HCOS employees and contractors are first and foremost representatives of KCCS, with personal relationships being secondary in nature.
  2. HCOS teachers are first obligated to conduct relationships as directed by the BC Teacher Regulation Branch. Second, they are to maintain professional relationships that represent KCCS, and lastly, regard is given to personal relationships.
    • Teacher-contractor and parent/guardian relationships must be professional in nature with established boundaries in place. If needed, restate professional boundaries such as office hours, modes of contact, and permissible topics of discussion.
    • Personal teacher/parent relationships (friendship or otherwise) risk the potential for a conflict-of-interest situation and should be disclosed to a regional administrator.
  3. Should a situation arise wherein a parent/guardian requests legal or character support, written or verbal, a teacher/employee must decline and notify regional administration of the request. Examples may include requests to sign affidavits, writing letters, or agreeing to testify on behalf of a guardian.
Programming Decisions and Implementation
  1. HCOS employees/contractors will abide to terms laid out in the most current or relevant legal documents with regards to education.
  2. In the absence of a court order/separation agreement, maintain the “status quo” with regards to how the educational program was established at the time of separation.
    • If one parent was the primary home educator (made decisions around curriculum, programming, services in the home, etc.), that practice is to continue until a court order/agreement is in place
    • If mutual parental decisions were made around education, the process is to continue until a court order/agreement is in place
    • No changes are to be made to programming or implementation without written consent from both guardians
Communication and Reporting
  1. As deemed necessary, HCOS administration will participate in legal discussions. Teachers are not to communicate with lawyers without administrative permission.
  2. School wide communications, report cards, Student Learning Plans (SLPs), and Individual Education Plan (IEPs):
    • Both guardians are entitled to this information, unless a legal document, such as a restraining order/court order, states otherwise.
    • If necessary, secondary guardian profiles can be set up in Encom (contact main office for details). This will allow both guardians to receive mass mailouts.
  3. Teacher to mass family communications (e-mails, newsletters):
    • Add secondary guardian email to your family contact list.
  4. Teacher to individual guardian communications
    • Include both guardians when the content is an FYI about their child’s accomplishments, etc.
    • Communicate with parents individually in relation to the programming element each is responsible for.
 Face-to-Face Meetings, Home Visits, IEP meetings, Zoom, Skype
  1. Always follow terms of court order or separation agreement first.
  2. If guardians have a good working relationship with one another, both parents may be present for meetings.
  3. If guardians do not have a good working relationship, but court order allows for meetings with both, meet with guardians separately.
  4. Without a court order or separation agreement, maintain the status quo (i.e., programming, primary contact, etc.) as established prior to the time of separation.
  5. Uncertainty regarding the working relationship of the guardians should be approached with caution. Maintain a neutral stance.
    • Err on the side of safety. Arrange to have administration or a colleague attend with you or do not arrange joint meetings. Leave if neutrality cannot be maintained.
  6. If at any time, a meeting or conversation becomes emotionally or verbally abusive, graciously terminate it and use an alternative form of communication, such as email.
Overseeing an Education Assistant in the Home
  1. Education Assistants (EA’s) receive educational direction from the Special Education Teacher first and foremost. The parent can only direct in matters of daily logistics and scheduling.
  2. All of the direction given above also applies to EA’s contracted through HCOS.
Document Release & Requests from Lawyers/Guardians
  1. HCOS documentation and records of any kind (including report cards, etc.) will only be released from HCOS to a lawyer by court order.
  2. Access to elements of the Student Record (as defined by the Students Record Order) will only be made available to the guardians upon written consent from both guardians. If mutual consent is not available, a court order will be required to release documents from the Student Record.

Revision #2
Created Fri, Mar 23, 2018 5:28 PM by Natalia Baelde
Updated Thu, Nov 19, 2020 5:34 PM by Caitlin Village