I am sitting here absolutely dumbfounded. Seriously, it is the last week of school and the excitement I should feel has been crushed with frustration and disappointment. If you follow my blog closely you understand some of the difficulties I have had dealing with schools. I am going to start by saying this, my frustration is with the schools my children attend. This is not to be taken personally by every teacher, administrator, etc. I will tell my story though because the truth and the facts have to get out there so parents become more aware about what is and isn’t going on at least inside of my schools.
When a child is tardy or absent, I get a notification. In fact, I get several. Every phone number tied to the parents gets a call with the notification as well as every email address. I got 2 last week for Chase, both instances resulting in a mistake on the part of the teacher marking the wrong kid absent.
As a parent, I can’t help but wonder each and every time I get a call if my child is possibly cutting class. I mean I am not so out of touch with reality to believe I have perfect children all the time. So, when I get all these notifications I wonder. The policy is that once you get an alert, the parent has 48 hours to contact the attendance person. So, like a good, responsible parent, I make the call to the high school today. I have questions about the policy so that I am fully aware of all it’s implications. I simply ask why am I getting a call asking where my child is when he or she is under the care of the school. I rudely get dismissed and am told that it is my daughters responsibility to go to the teacher that marked them tardy or absent so the teacher could then email the office to verify where that child was. Let’s look at it this way….you want a kid that is bold and irresponsible enough to even possibly skip a class to go to the teacher that turned the kid in to have a conversation about it so the teacher can clarify with the attendance office. If I even have to explain why the whole idea of that is ridiculous then you should stop reading right here and move on to the next blog. I ask the lady to explain why this is the protocol and she becomes defensive and tells me it is not her job to email the teacher and find out what’s going on, it is the students responsibility. Wait! You are the attendance person, what is your role exactly and again why am I getting a call asking where my child is while in your care? If you don’t know, and I don’t know, this conversation is just a waste of time.
Every time I deal with a school I hear the same line over and over again. “Your child needs to be responsible for herself.” Hmmmm….really? How are you being responsible? What lesson about responsibility are you teaching my child? I am about to clear that up now. The woman told me they contact the parents to make them aware. I asked what the next step is. Guess what? There is none. That’s it. She did tell me Kayleigh has been tardy 4 times and after the kids have so many they get in school suspension. Really I asked, how many? No specific answer. I hated to do it but I couldn’t help but point out the obvious. Can you imagine if after one or say 2 tardiness you sit face to face with a principal explaining one more would lead to a meeting with the parents and in school suspension, how few 3rd tardies there would actually be? After a very long, in depth conversation, it became clear to me that there are no consequences. The kids are told they are responsible for themselves, they can come and go in and out of the school as they please, AND there are NO consequences. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We spend years raising kids, teaching them right from wrong, to respect rules and to have fear the consequences of their actions and the high school, who we place the care of our teen in for hours of the day, completely teaches the opposite. No wonder kids are not respecting parents and rules. It’s this confusion coming from authority or lack there of that decides whether or not they will respect rules and laws or really believe they are above them and can do anything they please.
This is really getting out of control. There are so many policies that are so broken and what’s worse, people follow them blindly. What happened to common sense and thinking things through? As it is, freshman are not supposed to leave campus at lunch but you wouldn’t believe how many I see at local restaurants everyday. The attendance secretary explained that they can’t have a cop at every door making sure these kids don’t leave. What? Maybe not but I suggested how valuable it would be if the principal or assistant principal showed up at Chick-fil-A on a random basis. The truth is they really don’t care that the kids leave. They know they do. See where the message gets mixed up in the mind of the kids. Rules aren’t meant to be followed, teachers really don’t care. If that’s the case, change the rule. If you are not going to enforce it or have consequences then CHANGE THE RULE!
I see a lot of finger pointing back at parents. I know my kid is home when she’s supposed to be home and if I catch her breaking a rule, there will be consequences but the school and the parents have got to be on the same page. Otherwise, parents become less significant to the kids and slowly over time, we lose their respect. They aren’t afraid of us anymore because really, why do we make a big deal out of everything? The school doesn’t care. It’s like two parents negating each other. The kid plays one against the other and the child gets away with murder. It doesn’t work and I am watching it happen in front of my eyes. I can’t even stop it. I have one kid who was missing from a class for 4 weeks before they discovered he was in the wrong one, and another one that should be responsible for herself. What exactly are our schools responsible for? Because last time I checked my kids aren’t legally at age to care for themselves. Why do these schools not know where my kids are when they are in their care? And furthermore, if a teacher screws up for weeks not realizing a kid is missing or a kid takes it upon herself to have multiple tardies or cut class, who is responsible? The answer is nobody, and that’s exactly why these things are happening in the first place. What in the world is going on?