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May 18th 2002!!!!!
As many of you that have check this page regularly and have corresponded with me, an update has been a long time coming. Here it is. First and foremost I have been awarded Sole and physical custody of my daughter on August 1st, 2001, making permanent the temporary order from December 2000 . In addition, My daughter's name was finally corrected to her just and legal name baring my last name after nine years. Even though this took place in August of 2001, the order was not signed by the judge until December 21st, 2001. This was of no fault of the judge. The court ordered the Guardian ad Litem to draft this order. One sentence was corrected by my attorney and therefore was not acknowledged by the Guardian until another paper was filed to the court on the matter. Where after the order was signed by all parties immediately, viewable here. Note the order to change name, viewable here, which had no intervention by the guardian, was completed and signed by the court on August 28th 2001, 27 days after the hearing.
Not too much information was actually allowed to be testified to as the mother chose not to contest change of custody the day of court. It came as a complete surprise to all in attendance being it had not even been conveyed to my attorney from her's. However some amount of facts were presented for the record. The guardian gave her report expressing to the court first that she was to visit the mother's home for review. "That visit never took place." The mother and her husband were evicted from the residence in question around June of 2001. The mother was then to contact the guardian when she found new residence to reschedule the visit. This too never happened. From there until now, mom mainly resided and currently resides in a motel. Next it was testified to that the husband had been incarcerated and would be until December 2001, which in turn he was. Other things were put to record concerning the mother's many, over a dozen, address changes, many warrants in debt, and stability. It is for this reason the mother, either by choice or by council, changed her position to uncontested custody change. The hearing was rapped up with testimony of where the mother had file, not once but three times, for child support and benefits for my daughter while she was in my custody. Twice with Child Support Enforcement and once in the same court in which we were. This was pointed out by the judge to be out of her hands, yet no other department including Social Services and Child Support Enforcement has taken any action against the mother other than denying the requests for benefits.
Other than the standard follow-up of child support where the mother became the responsible party, few issue have arose. Mom was made to pay $100 per month, where as I paid $362.88 a month. This again at no fault of the judge, as she went strictly by the state schedule. However the formula used took into account that the mother had many children and due to this, by law, the more children you have the less obligation to any one of them is ordered. Which in essence means, if you are a good person that chooses not to run around and procreate at every chance, you pay more. Those that can not keep control of their sexual urges and end up with many offspring, pay less or not at all, the public pays. In addition it seems even though it was addressed that the mother's husband, who was incarcerated for driving on a suspended license, habitual offender, felony, was not to drive or even be around to drive when my daughter visits, however he is and has driven her since his release from jail.
Last but not least was a surprising situation that has yet to be resolved. On April 30th 2002 I received a call from my daughter's school principal, Mr. M. Basil Furr Jr. of Marguerite Christian Elementary School, Chesterfield County, Virginia. As with school policy I was to provide them with an updated version, and in this case there were many do to temporary orders and such, in which I provided. With lack of knowledge of what the school had let transpire I thought little of it. As before this, the only troubling interaction I had with them had been in the midst of the custody case where the guardian had documented paperwork the school accepted requesting denial of all of my daughter's records to me. When I arrived these did not exist and Mr. Furr appeared to be quite helpful to correct any potential problem. Then I was asked to speak with him in private, where he began to lecture me about my going public against the county, and that I should remove anything like that at once. He stated " I really shouldn't be talking to you like this, as it is not like a parent but more like a son". That still rings in my ears, where at the time I only saw this as constructive criticism. Now it appears more of county business.
What came to my attention in April was that the mother had been going on field trips and participating in school events without my knowledge. Where the court order states the mother's visitation schedule quite clearly, with no exception, the school made no effort in even informing me of what was happening. And by pure happenstance I found out, as my daughter was threatened not to tell me and lie if asked by the mother and other outside influences, now appearing one to be the school itself. When I learned of this I went to the school in person. There I found that not only the mother had been to the school and participated in events, so had the felon husband. I requested that this be stopped immediately, as the sole custodian parent, not only should I know what and who about things, I should have some say in the choices of influence on my daughter. I expected this to be the end of such activity. I was sadly proven wrong.
Soon after my visit to the school to submit the most recent paperwork from the court, which in turn was the same order that had been in effect since December 2000, just now permanent, I received a call from Mr. Furr, April 30th, 2002. He told me that he would not limit any visitation to the mother or her criminal husband. He stated that the order contained nothing concerning schools or other places where the mother was limited. My argument was that it didn't specify that she or the husband could, and was quite clear of the only visitation allowed by the court. That these limitations were put in place for the best interest of my daughter and limited the bad influences that she had provably been exposed to and thus been removed from by the court. He told me that he wished not to argue the matter, that he had made his decision and if I wanted more, then I should go to the court for "further clarification and interpretation". Mind you that I can not call the judge or have any contact with the judge outside court proceedings, as it is illegal and considered ex parte communication.
I contacted my attorney, who immediately wished to help. His response was simply this; what an order says is what it is, nothing more nothing less. As far as visitation, especially on sole custody as opposed to joint, and when specific language such as liberal visitation is excluded, the dates and times are to be adhered to specifically. A letter from my attorney was dispatched immediately dated May 3rd, 2002, to Principal, Mr. M. Basil Furr Jr. viewable via this link. Where I had heard nothing on this matter I had though it complete. Yet this week I received a call from my daughter's school. She had fallen ill and need to come home. Where this is nothing strange and happens to children all the time, what was strange is when I picked up the phone the school nurse asked for Shannon Taylor, the mother. Well composed I stated I could help and was asked to come pick her up. When I arrived I hand delivered the letter that was sent to Mr. Furr and asked to see the school record that had them calling for the mother when that was clearly against the court order. To my surprise the record showed not to contact the mother for pickup or other. I was given the answer that "it happens, they have had to call many parents today". I suppose that may be true yet does not excuse the safety issues surrounding the security of the students they hold charge of during the school day and during events. And if the mother had been contacted instead of me by chance, who is to say she would not have fled. Being the mother lives in a motel, has numerous warrants in debt, has fled residence after residence, I and the courts feel my daughter should be in limited contact with her. I kindly requested the school abide by the court order, and if there we problems with this to please let me know.
Today I received a letter from Mr. M. Basil Furr regarding the matter. You may read it via the link provided. He states in no uncertain terms, he will not refuse any request of visitation by the mother relating to school involvement of any kind. That he has been in contact with Judge Davis, discussed my daughter's case, a Juvenile and Domestic, children's case without either parent, much less the custodial parent or legal council party to, and was told by Judge Davis that he should not limit the mother's interaction with the child, (even though the court did everywhere else?). This letter brings up so many issue that border and venture sharply into a violation of civil rights, parental rights, discrimination, to mention a few. We will be in contact with all parties concerned starting this following week as able. We are anxious to see just how an elementary school principal can circumvent the legal system in such a manner where parents themselves have difficulty participating without great legal assistance and money, if even then.
We will be requesting the formal rewriting and "clarification and interpretation" Principal Furr received personally from Judge Bonnie Davis, as he so boldly refers. Again a court order is, in the State of Virginia, exactly what it is, not open to or in need of layman's interpretation. It is expected that is does not exist, as it would be proof of an illegal act on the part of the court (privacy act, and confidentiality in children's records and cases, etc). Otherwise the altered opinion of the court, deviating from the order, would have certainly been provided with the letter (not to mention ANY amendment would be forwarded to such legitimate parties like the actual parents and attorneys). And he seems to have no regard with implicating a judge in the process as well.
To say the least I am frightened to believe that a parent can fight for the betterment of his or her child, acquire set court ordered guidelines, then have a public school official rewrite a court decision based on now years of testimony in one fail swoop, that he himself was not present for, and as of now thought was not privy to. And yet that this same principal upheld the request I made, but for the mother when she had custody by allowing me to the records but never near my daughter when in school without explicit approval from the mother, which never happened. And at that point custody was shared (joint) as opposed to now where I have sole custody.
Even more chilling is that if by chance Principal M. Basil Furr Jr. was able to obtain access to my daughter's confidential court documents and information to discuss from the court, I wonder how many other children's and family's records he has helped himself to, involving himself, placing his own opinions above court's in the past, and will in the future. What damage has he allowed and promoted thus far, like in this case condoning a parent to bully a child into lying and conceal information to their physical custodian parent, so placed by court decision, weighed by much testimony and fact? What further influences will he allow into our public schools around our children? What is else is happening in his school that he is having the children keep secret from us, like the school kept from me?
I am appalled once again at the system. I will do everything in my miniscule power to see that parent's and children's right are protected and carried out. I am wondering just how many other's rights have been violated by Marguerite Christian Elementary School employees, Mr. Furr, or is it a practice of Chesterfield County Schools themselves. They must be trained to do this by someone. I fear for the one child that gets kidnapped, or worse, by whomever due to the negligence of such officials, as this happens because of someone like this every year, from just such a case as this. And one child is too many.
We hope to keep this site updated more regularly in the future, especially when things are going on. Not to mention a few others have asked if I could post their stories as well. So check back to see what is happening in your own back yard or as with many check-ins we have had, all over the world. Thank you for reading, and share the page with friends.
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All information above is upon information and belief, or an expressed opinion of the author.