By Dr. Leon Koziol
Parenting Rights Institute
It could have been so much better for the New Hartford High School Class of 2020. But the pandemic denied these graduates that special commencement ceremony on stage before friends, family and staff.
Fortunately, this particular school district would not surrender altogether. With much creativity and determination, it literally gave graduates their “day in the sun” with a send-off ceremony in a large corporate parking lot under cloudless skies.
My daughter, Kristen, was a part of it on June 20, 2020. Only days earlier the principal notified me that she had graduated with honors despite a three-month lock-down. But I was never notified of an earlier isolated ceremony, so I was obviously looking forward to this one.
The way it worked, students would be confined to their vehicles parked in linear fashion to maintain social distancing guidelines. The faculty and staff would then drive by in various lanes to wave good-bye. Decorations and messages were allowed.
It was all good until I learned that participation would be limited to one vehicle per graduate, leaving me on the outside once again as a non-custodial father. So with my own creativity and determination, I rented a mini-bus featuring a large banner that could hopefully be seen from a distance.
However when I arrived with my own family and friends, our hopes were dashed. Police vehicles with emergency lights activated were blocking accessways to the lot. A multi-story insurance building in front of us, a fenced off highway and dense brush blocked the views from all sides.
This was particularly irking because half of the lot was empty, and the one-family rule reflected an ongoing failure of our school systems to accommodate “non-custodial” parents. It remains a classification to maximize federal incentive grants. Having been denied so much school activity over so many years, I had to do something. As it turns out, I got my own unique send-off.
I instructed my bus driver to pull up to one of the patrol cars to explain how important this event was to me. The officer may have known my history because, to my surprise, he backed up his vehicle and directed us to the outgoing access road. We were actually heading the wrong way down a one-way lane to join the moving procession limited to faculty and staff.
So there we were, neither parked nor remotely located, proceeding back and forth along the lanes with student/family vehicles parked on either side until all were passed. Honking, cheering and well-wishes were exchanged throughout. And as fate would have it, our large banner was the only one paraded for all to see.
Sadly I did not get any contact from my daughter before, during or after this event despite the fact that I never gave up on her during my parenting years. I was never charged with neglect or abuse and sacrificed nearly everything in the process. My exposure of family court corruption had once again taken its toll with a “custodial parent” bent on permanent alienation.
In a likely rage and rush to judgment, she will condemn the special treatment that dad managed to obtain during this send-off. But it could have been so much easier if she or my daughter had simply communicated with me. Yes this is how bizarre my world has become as a civil rights attorney and corruption whistleblower.
I have yet to get any well wishes from my girls today, Father’s Day, 2020. But with all the ones I did get from supporters, I am compelled to resume my crusade of reform. They see it as my destiny, but that assumes my health can hold out.
Happy Fathers Day !