A recent article in the NY Daily News outlines how an eight year old girl and where she goes to school has become a major issue in her parents divorce battle. The battle is over whether the daughter should move to one of NYC top public schools or stay in the school district she has been attending.
Third-grader Grace Yang Carter is caught up in her parent's divorce battle about where she should go to school. Grace, 8, lives with her dad, Edward Carter, on Staten Island half the week, and with her mom in Manhattan the rest of the time. The father was also granted the final say on her education in their divorce decree.
The issue is whether a top notch school far away from the school district she was previously attending is better than a lower performing school in her local district. This is not an unusual case. Battles like this happen all around the US and around the world.
On the face of it, it might seem that the academically better school is a natural choice but the problem lies in the fact that she has friends and classmates already in her local school district. Is socialization more important than academics?
These difficult cases have to be judged on their individual merits. Is the kid academically gifted? Will they truly be deprived if they stay in the same school district? How tightly bound are they socially to the local area? Do they play with friends after school or go to parties for schoolmates? Do they attend activities in the local area that they would be deprived of if they went to the academically better school?
Where a child has already been attending school in a particular district, in general the burden is on the parent asking for a move to a different school district to show that it is truly in the child's best interest. Many different factors can be presented and taken into account so outcomes vary widely.
In the end the hope is that the parents can find a way to put the kid first and not use the girl to get at each other. In the wrestle for control, the child is always the victim.