Well the ruling on the Grace Yang Carter case is in. This case involved a bright 8 year old and where she should go to school. The appeals court has rejected the mom's request to move the child to a top Manhattan school.
I have been following this case and blogging about it recently. It is not an unusual issue in divorce or post-divorce cases. This particular case has been much more high profile than many such cases but embodies many of the same arguments made in courts all over the U.S. and beyond.
A better school
The argument that a child should always go to a better school seems logical and is very common. Scratch the surface and it suddenly becomes a very complex issue. This argument probably has a better chance if there is no clear previous school district established e.g. where the child has been moving schools a lot or if the child is exceptional and the school cannot meet the educational needs of the kid.
A child's social life
Much of a child's social life revolves around school. School friends come over to play and there are invitations to parties. After school sports and activities are an important part of a child's healthy lifestyle. If moving schools disrupts a child's social life, then there needs to be a very strong reason to move schools. The ties to the community, the involvement in local sports and activities and routines the child has are all taken into consideration.
Going to court after the divorce
The divorce decree usually contains some instruction with regards to schooling and who makes the decisions. In this case, the father had the decision-making power and claims that the mother's application to a top performing Manhattan school caused rejection of his applications to better schools in his neighborhood. When parents cannot work together to make decisions, judges often assign decision-making power to one or other parent. Overturning this assignment of decision making can be quite difficult.
Going public about the divorce or post divorce court case
I have to ask what could be accomplished by going public about a court case in progress. If the mom won in the "court of public opinion", how does that help her child? The father reports that strangers are calling their child by her name because of the publicity and he has been subjected to ridicule. Is going public just a way to get at the father knowing which way the courts were likely to rule or is it a way to draw attention to a major social injustice? In my opinion the only way to measure whether going public is worthwhile is to look at what it does for the child. In this case, i cannot see how going public is really in this child's best interests.
Vows to fight on
Going public and announcing that she will continue to fight to win the right to direct her daughter's education seemingly regardless of court rulings seems reckless to me. Will a judge seriously view her as objective enough and in a frame of mind to consider her child's best interests, not just for her education, but as a whole? I really wonder.