I had nothing but praise for my kids current schools. It may be a small town and it may be that we wanted to live somewhere else far from here but up until today it was a big thing to be so pleased with the school system. I’ve also been a teacher cheer leader so to speak. I believe in backing them up and not working against them. If the kids have a complaint that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t look into it but I will with an open mind because I also believe in backing my kids up. Often there are misunderstandings and communication issues. So, what I faced today was completely unexpected.
My daughter needed some field trip money for an end of the grade water-park trip. We really don’t have the extra cash but it’s a big deal so I went to the bank today and pulled out the fifteen bucks. It was going to cost more but some money had been raised so the price was lowered. I went to the school office where the always friendly and welcoming office staff lady greeted me and began looking into wither I had the right amount because I wasn’t a hundred percent certain. She called my daughters home room teacher who didn’t pick up so then she called another number and got my daughters Communications teacher. I’ll call her Mrs. D. Mrs. D let the office staff know that she wanted to talk to me personally. It had something to do with her wanting her students to take responsibility and bring the money in themselves.
I had some time to chat with the lady at the deck and besides chatting about mothers day and the lovely weekend I mentioned to her that I felt the responsibility fell on my shoulders since Kara did ask for the money over and over and over again like she always does about everything. She’s a nagger. She will ask me for crafts this and that and school this and that and food this and that and so on all through out the day till I just shut it off and then sometimes I forget. But then I realized it was still a responsibility issue on Kara’s part because she needed to learn what her actions cause.
Mrs. D arrived at the office and told me that not only did she want Kara to show responsibility by bringing the money and signed form in herself but that there was a chance she wouldn’t be allowed to go anyway. Not only are Kara’s grades not up to par but she had too many absents and tardies. Then she added that there were so many she had already talked to the Vice Principal. We’ll call him Mr. S. She had talked to him about charging us with legal truancy.
Ok, now I’m in shock! I did not see this coming. Moving to this small town has caused a lot of hardship when it comes to medical, dental (including orthodontist) and councilors. It’s a long drive to the bigger city and I try to schedule several appointments there at once so we can afford the gas which means it’s an all day trip. Of course those offices always only have time available during school hours. When we lived closer to the bigger city I could take her to an appointment and then back to school but here to much time has gone by getting there and back. To add to that often she is in a lot of pain after an orthodontist appointment. I admit, at first I wasn’t so good at getting the doctors notices for school but they talked to me about it and I made sure to get them the doctors notes from then on. If I forgot I called the office and had one faxed to the school.
I tried to explain a few thing to Mrs. D and ask her questions but she interrupted me and would never let me finish a sentence. I also asked her why I hadn’t been called first before ever considering a legal action like that but like the other things I tried to say she would interrupt and never answer anything I asked.
I didn’t feel warned or informed, I felt outright threatened.
After Mrs. D was through making sure I knew she wanted me to be charged with legal action I asked to see the Vice Principal because she had mentioned him. Instead of threatening me in the office in front of everyone like Mrs. D did he took me in his office to talk.
I told Mr. S. what Mrs. D. had said. He told me that she had no right to take legal truancy action and that he was the only one allowed to do that. I had told him she said she had gone to him over it but he hadn’t let me finish my sentence so either he didn’t hear me or he already knew what he was going to say so it didn’t matter what I said. Maybe a little of both. I was able to tell him about the appointments and how I have been working on a plan for next year so that Kara doesn’t get pulled out of school so often. This year is almost up so I am trying to think and plan ahead. He nodded in agreement and then proceeded to go over her absent history again. He said that if he had decided to take legal action it would have been done already. He said it a few times and each time added that he was too lenient and really should have already done it. I asked him about getting a hold of me before ever taking any legal action because that seemed the right thing to do. He was never very clear on wither he would do that or not and always ended with how he ought to have already taken the legal action as if he was disappointed in himself. He did mention once that he had sent me a letter about her absences. He never let me reply to that comment. I do recall getting something about it but there was nothing I can recall on the letter about legal action though I may have forgot. There was something I believe about needing doctors notes which I have started supplying before the letter arrived. I mentioned that I would go ahead and cancel any of Kara’s appointment till the end of the school year. He let me know that would be the best thing to do. Since he insisted on making sure I couldn’t finish sentences I was not given the change to explain to him how important Kara’s councilor appointments are to her. Not that it would have made a difference but I would think a good Vice Principal would want to understand his students better.
Though he wasn’t quite as bad as Mrs. D he seemed to have already made his mind up and either cut me off often or didn’t really hear much of what I would try to say. He didn’t come across as threatening as Mrs. D but his words were those of a threat and to shame.
I had tried to tell him that I was working on a plan to make next school year better in this regard and that if I wasn’t successful I would just home school her. I think he slightly nodded but he looked more like he was working on keeping a poker face. He also brought up what the law says about truancy a few times as if he expected me to already know it, as if every parent in that school district memorized all the state laws. Bringing up that I hadn’t actually memorized all the state laws and that I’m not even from this state never was mentioned because by this time he was cutting me off when ever I tried to talk.
In case anyone wonders I did not come at him or Mrs. D like I was attacking them. They had no reason from me personally to be defensive and threatening.
I left there very angry and hurt. Part of me wants to make sure none of my kids go to that school. Levi is already in the same school and in a few years Kyle will be too. I want to make sure they don’t get Mrs. D as a teacher. It’s one thing to be strict but another thing to not be able to communicate with the parents in a phone call or meeting before threatening them with legal action. I am tempted to home school but I don’t really think that is the best option. I think it’s my angry hurt brain trying to fix this. This also brings up all the suppressed feeling of frustration about being stuck in this city and this state that none of the kids and I wanted to live in. Most of the year it’s cold and it can be very lonely. It brings back the feelings of wanting to move somewhere warm and near family, if not at least near civilization. But at this time it’s only painful to entertain those thoughts. I had been doing a good job of making the best of it and finding things to be thankful for. If I let it it could also bring up angry feelings toward the kids dad for putting us in this position in the first place. But I am pushing those thoughts back. I can’t help but wish Mr. S and Mrs. D will one day get to experience what they did to me three fold.
It’s not about the school staff not wanting my daughter to be absent, I don’t want her absent either. After all I was actively working on remedying this issue. It’s about people I had put my trust in to watch over and teach my children, people I had spoken up for and backed and now here they are not even letting me talk, cutting me off before mid-sentence, threatening me with legal court action, not admitting they should call me and have a meeting with me first, and so on. It’s about walking into the school and suddenly finding myself jerked around by a teacher and the Vice Principal with no sign of humanity. It’s also about me working my self to death over being the best parent I can be. Sure I make mistakes but when I learn of them I correct them.
I also find it ironic that Mrs. D is the communications teacher and she didn’t show any signs of knowing how to communicate properly with a students parent.
Shame on them!
I know there are many people with way worse school issues then what I’ve brought up here. But this is my blog and I needed to vent. After all Kara is MY daughter. I not only love my kids but they are MY responsibility. And I take that very seriously.
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