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Services of the General Counsel

The Legal Office stands ready to help District personnel with work-related legal questions. Here is some useful information about questions our office often receives in the following areas:

Child Custody   Student Records
In general, custody paperwork from a divorce or paternity case will determine each parent’s rights and responsibilities as they relate to the children’s schooling. The Legal Office will be glad to review court orders and other paperwork upon request of school personnel and answer any questions.  Please provide a copy of all  available paperwork by fax to 850-469-6303.           Unless a court order provides otherwise, parents are entitled to records and information regarding their  child’s education.  Where  the parents were never married,  the father must normally have his status legally recognized. The birth certificate is not always adequate; there should be an order of paternity from a court.  The Legal Office will review documents provided by parents upon request of school personnel. 
Court Appearances by Employees   Representing the Board
The Office of the General Counsel is available to consult with personnel who are required to attend depositions, trials, or other court proceedings as a result of incidents related to their employment with the School District.  Upon receipt of a subpoena or other communication from a court or attorney, please contact this office to arrange a telephone or face-to-face discussion of the matter. As schedules permit, the attorney will attend court with employees in work-related matters.  This office can also seek to reschedule your appearance in case of  significant conflicts.   The primary obligation of the Office of the General Counsel is to represent the School Board and District in varied legal issues, from contract negotiations to lawsuits, from determination of student and employee rights to the rules of procedure at School Board meetings. For this reason, the Office of the General Counsel cannot provide advice to employees, students or their families regarding their individual rights.  In matters where the employee, student or family member is represented by an attorney, all communications from the General Counsel must occur with that attorney.  These rules are designed to ensure that counsel for both sides are fully informed and the Office of General Counsel will strictly comply.