Mom and kidsAs a new school year rapidly approaches many parents are not looking forward to the piles of forms.

And paperwork that often accompany the beginning of the school year. The forms are often long and involved, and many parents wonder why all of the forms are necessary every year. Some seem redundant, and others seem downright nosy, but be sure there are reasons for each and every one.

Here’s an inside look at some of the more commonly used forms and why they are necessary for your child:

Home contact information: Many parents fill out the same information each and every year on these important forms and wonder why a new form needs to go home every year. It’s important to remember that while your family may not have moved in the past 12 months, many, many families move one or more times within a school year. Sometimes families forget to update their information with the school when they move, and by having everyone fill out new forms each year, the school hopes to have up-to-date information for each student.

Multiple emergency contacts: Schools often request two or more emergency contact numbers for people whoa re authorized to get your child if you cannot be reached. These people are extremely important for the school to have on file. As we all know, accidents occur when least expected, and everyone is out of touch at some point. If you can’t be reached, it is important that the school has options for other people that can help your child during an emergency, early dismissal, or illness.

Medical forms from your pediatrician: Regular childhood medical care is important for helping children develop into strong, healthy adults. Many state laws require schools to collect forms indicating that students have been seen by a pediatrician at specific grade levels throughout their school years as well as had required immunizations. Some people choose not to immunize their children for religious reasons; the schools also have this documentation on file. No insurance or doctor for your family? Contact your local school or family service agency for referrals for free and low-cost services in your area.

Email and phone tree information: In addition to the home contact information collected, many schools also ask for a list of email and phone numbers to contact in case of an emergency. With more automatic notifications than ever being produced via email and or automated phone systems, your participation in these programs can help keep you informed about school information in real-time.

Court documentation of guardianship: This can seem like an invasion of your privacy, but having up-to-date documentation regarding your child’s guardianship status is extremely important to schools. Legally, there are limits to whom a school can send a child home with or refuse to send a child with, if the proper documentation is not in place. This is especially important around difficult family issues, such as divorce or domestic violence, so many people would rather not share this information. Even though it can be difficult news to share, remember that school personnel are professionals and will hold your information in a confidential manner.

School handbook review forms: Many schools, even elementary schools, require parents to sign a form that says they have read and understand the student handbook. This form is very important, since the handbook details the rules your child will be held accountable for throughout the school year. Make sure you do read through the handbook each year before signing this form.

Yes, the upcoming school year will certainly bring with it the piles of paperwork every family dreads. However, please know that the information you provide for your child’s school is an important part of keeping your child safe at school all year.

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