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Law, Policies and Other Guidelines

This page provides information about the legal framework in different jurisdictions. Some of the topics addressed include laws concerning the formation of parent groups at schools, policies about parent involvement from school jurisdictions, and privacy legislation particularly as it relates to students online.

The page is organized by country, and then by province/state. If you have information about your locale, please add it here. Don't worry about the links from this index - I'm happy to add them after you added your content if you don't know how.

What's Here





United States


Since 1995 School Councils in Ontario have been mandated in every school in Ontario Education Act Under regulation 612/00
A School Council Handbook outlines the requirements, role and responsibilities for School Councils in Ontario. A brief history of School Councils is also included in the Handbook.
School Councils are advisory to the school and school board but there are specific requirements that regulate when and about what School Councils must be consulted.
In 2005, a Parent Involvement Policy was legislated creating a requirement for all school boards in Ontario to establish Board wide Parent Involvement Committees
This is the Parent Involvement Policy

Example of local school board:
Niagara Catholic District School Board
Policy Administrative guidelines outline the make up of both the local school councils and the Board wide Parent Involvement Committee
Recognition of the Board Wide Parent Involvement Committee known as the Niagara Catholic Regional School Council has been in place since 2000. The one of first board in Ontario to place a Regional School Council in Board policy.

Blog from West Oakville Family of Schools has comprehensive list of Documents, Reports and Links including list of Parent Involvement Policies from several school districts .


British Columbia

The provincial information was obtained from the Alberta School Council Resource Manual.

The Alberta School Act , Section 22 states that there will be a school council at each school operated by a board* that has parents as a majority of its members. The school council may advise and/or consult with the principal on matters relating to the standards of education or fiscal management in the school and perform any other duty delegated to it by the board.

The School Councils Regulation describes how school councils are to be created (including that if fewer than 5 parents attend the establishment meeting, that a parent advisory committee is acceptable for that year), the membership (principal, one teacher, one student (high school) and parents of students), and the operation of the council.

The province also has a policy on School-Based Decision Making which reads "A school and its community shall have the authority and the support to make decisions which directly impact on the education of students and shall be accountable for the results".

*board: board of elected trustees of a district or division

  • Examples of local school district policies:

New Brunswick

The Department of Education provides public schooling for children from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The current governance structure for education was set out with changes to the Education Act in 2001. The system is governed by the Education Act http://www.gnb.ca/0062/acts/acts/e-01-12.htm, Department of Education policies and regulations http://www.gnb.ca/0062/regs/e-1-12reg.htm

The Department of Education is organized along linguistic lines with an Anglophone sector and a Francophone sector. There are 9 school districts in the Anglophone sector providing education to students in English. The Francophone sector has 5 districts providing education to French speaking students. Each sector has division in the Department dedicated to implementation and evaluation of educational programs and services. Enrollment in either the Francophone or Anglophone sector is governed by Policy 321: Admission Based on Language. http://www.gnb.ca/0000/pol/e/321A.pdf

Section 32 of the Act details the establishment of a Parent School Support Committee (PSSC) for each school. Each committee is comprised of 6 to 12 members, the majority of whom are to be elected from the parent body. Other members of the committee include the Principal, a teacher, a representative of a Home & School Committee, and a student representative (high school only). The primary role of the PSSC is to advise the school Principal in the establishment, implementation and monitoring of the school improvement plan.

Section 36 of the Act provides for the establishment of a District Education Council (DEC) for each school district. A District Education Council is a body corporate. Members are volunteers who are elected to 4 year terms. DECs are responsible for broad policy development while day to day operations are the responsibility of the Superintendent. While DECs are responsible for local decision making, the Superintendent is accountable to the DEC for the implementation of the district education plan and the district expenditure plan. More information on the roles and responsibilities of the Minister of Education and the District Education Councils are outlined in the following document http://www.gnb.ca/0000/publications/comm/governe.pdf

United States

Maine Department of Education website

Michigan MIchigan's guide to parent engagement


South Australia
The Department of Education and Children's Services has a published standard on Acceptable Use Policies for Schools, Preschools, and Children's Services Sites.



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