Public Boarding School: The Seed School and the Model it Created

As a person who attended public schools from K-12, I only knew of boarding schools as being expensive alternatives to private schools. In my suburban community outside of Los Angeles, I only heard of children “being sent away” to boarding schools because they were “problem children.”  However, I never really understood the positive impact a boarding school could have on students and the community the school creates. Until watching the movie Waiting for Superman, the concept of a public boarding school never once crossed my mind. As the movie shows, the Seed School of Washington D.C. is a public charter school serving the community and surrounding neighborhoods.

Similar to other charter schools, the Seed School operates on a lottery system when space permits. However, the Seed School is unique- it is a boarding school, free of cost to those who attend and it is located within D.C., close to the students’ friends and families.  Students are permitted to go home on the weekends to spend time with their family, and during the week every student is involved in various extracirricular activities and experiences that they would never have access to without the Seed School.

As a supporter of many charter schools across the country and especially in New York City, I truly believe that New York City would benefit from creating a charter school that is a boarding school and is within the five boroughs of NYC. Having the boarding school within the City’s limits allows for students to remain part of their communities while being safeguarded from the streets of their communities.… <Read More>


Proposal to Delay Divorce: Second Chances Act

A recent study done by sociologists Paul Amato and Alan Booth on divorcing couples in Minnesota came out with a surprising result: a third of them were open to the idea of reconciling with their spouse, even when they were already deep in the divorce process.  What’s more is that studies have shown that the “average” divorce is not between couples who bicker constantly and have high levels of conflicts for years before the divorce (although those still make up roughly 33% – 50% of divorces).  The “average” divorce (50% – 66%) is between couples who have low-level conflicts and average happiness levels in their marriage;  they usually occur around the 5th year of marriage. Couples who have been married for well over 5 years reported they ran into similar conflicts every couple of years but remained married and got past it.  The implication here is that about of third of marriages on the road to divorce are actually salvageable, yet the couples involved simply don’t realize it.… <Read More>


How Supervised are Supervised Visits?

On September 27, 2011, 8 children in foster care who were allegedly abducted by their mother about a week before were found in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and returned to the custody of Children’s Services. Their 28 year old mother who allegedly abducted them while at a supervised visitation at a foster care agency in Queens, New York was arrested and is being held on $200,000 bail. She was very emotional when speaking to the media upon her arrest. She claims that she took her children because  they are being abused by their foster parents.  The children’s father was also arrested and actually collapsed while in custody. Full Story: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/09/27/shanel-nadal-8-children-taken-from-foster-care-found-in-pennsyvania/

The 8 children range in age from 11 months old to 11 years old.  If the Queens Family Court believed that ACS proved allegations of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence and ordered all 8 children to be remanded to foster care and only have supervised visits with their parents, then why aren’t the visits actually being supervised? This is not the case where a mother was able to sneak her infant out of a foster care agency, which shouldn’t happen either. Yet, in this case we are talking about 8 children- equivalent to a small troop, class, or daycare group. It is inconceivable that no one saw them leave. The purpose of having supervised visitation arrangements is to protect the safety and well-being of the children, right?  The court has deemed the parents unfit to be left alone with the children, but here not only was the mother left alone, but she had enough alone time to walk out with all 8 children. … <Read More>


Parental Rights Termination

On November 22, the Maryland Court of Appeals declared that the “child’s interests” test prevailed in terminating custody in a legal or biological parent, over the previously used “unfit parent” standard. The court held that parental unfitness or exceptional circumstances were not a prerequisite finding in terminating the custodial rights of a parent.

But, when it comes to custody of a legal/biological parent over a non-parent, is best interests enough?

Should a wealthier non-parent with interests in the child’s life and upbringing be able to terminate the parent’s rights to the child based on best interests without needing to show unfitness or a higher standard to overcome?

The result of this standard may endanger parental rights to care for and enjoy custody of their child- the commonly recognized right of a parent to raise his or her child without state interference.

But on the other hand, consistent with the opinion of the court of appeals, the child’s best interests are always the paramount consideration regarding disputes that arise in such situations. This is true with regard to visitation of non-parents, as well as child support standards and modifications.

 For more on this case click HERE

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