For several years, I have been considered by the Brearley School (New York City), where my girls are students, as a plagued-stricken fellow: My ex-wife had told the school that I was a child abuser, and when the trial that she initiated was over, she forgot to tell them that the court had refuted her accusation. The School did not try to know more and I was not allowed on its premisses. At the beginning of last year, I informed by phone the Head of the Middle School, Ms Elsbach, that the trial was over -and bogus- and that the order of protection against me had been lifted. From then on, things seemed to be moving finally in the right direction. First, a February 18 letter to me and my ex-wife acknowledges I am the father of my girls. Second, in the same letter Ms Elsbach and Ms Hull, Head of the School, express their understanding that both my ex-wife and I have the right to information concerning our daughters’ progress and that we will both be invited to events at the school. Folks, at this stage, I felt like Mandela at the first signs of collapse of the apartheid. What ex-wife and I needed to do is to provide the legal documents that clarify our situation. I then sent March 27 2008 Judge Sturm’s order, stating that “both parents are entitled to the children school… but not limited to report cards, parent-teacher conferences, information regarding extra-curricular activities” and Judge Sturm’s ruling ending the trial. In a subsequent phone conversation, Ms Elsbach confirmed that I will be invited to parent-teacher conferences – next year, the 2009′s has taken place already. Extra-curricular activities like a dance performance where my little one would be? My girl has to invite me. It’s not perfect, I am not exactly persona grata, but I have finally a chance to have some involvement in the academic life of my girls. As many non-custodial fathers cut off from the lives of their children, I get satisfied with just a breach in the wall that separates me from them.
The breach would not stay open very long. Alienation is indeed a totalitarian project: for the alienating parent, there is no possible presence of the targeted parent in the life of her children. On April 22, I receive a new letter from Ms Hull and Elsbach, reverting their previous decision : I will not be invited to the school. Why? Cheryl Solomon, my ex-wife’s lawyer, had sold them the grossest illegal interpretation of Judge Sturm’s ruling. What is amazing is that the Brearley School swallowed them without blinking. Admire Solomon’s glorious shortcuts quoted in Brearley’s letter to me: …all contact between Mr. Lacour and the children must be supervised and in a therapeutic setting…Under no circumstances is he be alone with the children (I am supposed to be during parent-teacher conferences?). This would necessitate the following procedure: Mr Lacour should have no access to the school when the children may be present.
Family court law is no constitutional law. Is there a Brearley alumnus – preferably but not necessarily a pre-law student- that would be kind enough to help the Brearley School interpret Judge Sturm’s ruling for them?