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September 03. 2013 10:30PM

Policy would allow kids in divorce to stay in their Salem school

SALEM — The Salem School District is considering a policy change that would allow non-resident students of divorced parents to remain in Salem even if the custodial parent lives in another town.

Superintendent Michael Delahanty said the policy change reflects a change in state statute supporting parents going through a divorce with minor children.

“It’s not unusual for parents going through a divorce to want their children to remain in the educational system to which they’ve become accustomed,” said Delahanty.

Currently, if a custodial parent moves out of town, the student is required to attend the school system where the custodial parent resides.

“It’s probably beneficial to the student to maintain some consistency within the school system, but given the laws and requirements, students attend the school where they in effect sleep,” said Delahanty. “We’ve often had to tell children that they have to move to a new school district, particularly if they are living with a custodial parent in a non-sharing situation.”

The new statute states that if parents can devise a parenting plan and agree on the school district the student will attend, the district is obligated to respect that agreement.

“If one parent remains in the community and is a resident, the student is allowed to remain in the community,” said Delahanty.

The school board will hear a second reading of the proposed policy change at its Sept. 10 meeting.

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