My daughter started the gifted program the other day, so I drove her to school to walk her to her new classroom (she’s 6). I checked in at the office and was told that parents aren’t allowed to walk their children to class. In order to see the teacher, I needed an appointment. The only exception was the first day of school. I explained that this was like her first day of school since she was starting a new class and she needed to get her supplies from her old class and transfer them to her new classroom and I would like to help her. Nope, rules are rules, the teachers will take care of that.
Well, after being a general pain in the ass, the principal finally agreed to let me walk back there with her. I sign in, get a name badge printed and display it on my shirt. I was stopped no fewer than 4 times during the visit by various teachers/administrators who said “Can I help you, sir?” while looking at me like I was Osama bin Laden. Despite having the name badge which had shown that I went through the office, I had to repeat the same story 4 times. Each time I was told, “We can help her transfer her things.” I know that, but as a parent, I would like to be there with my 6 year old as she changes classes. She was nervous about it and I wanted to be there to reassure her. I’m not a helicopter parent. Once things were done, I left.
On the way out, the principal asked if everything went okay, and I explained to him how everyone treated me like an intruder. He said that he agreed with my frustration, but the sad fact of modern day life made it a policy that all visitors are to be carefully scrutinized.
Visitor? I’m a parent.
“Well,” he said, “there are custody issues with some parents and we don’t know what the intentions of some parents are.” There is no custody issue with me. My wife and I are married, living together, and we both have full parental rights. There is a document attesting to that in my daughter’s file. Sorry; school policy.
Well, that pissed me off enough, but then this morning I get a call from the school nurse. My daughter got into a fight on the bus and was bleeding from her neck. No worries; minor injury. As any concerned parent, I asked what happened and was told that another child was grabbing her hair. My daughter punched the other child, and the other child returned the favor by clawing at her neck.
My next question was, “What punishment will be given to the child for pulling my daughter’s hair?” I was told that school discipline is a confidential matter.
I asked who the other child was? Confidential.
What? My child had a battery committed against her on the bus, and you can’t tell me who did it? I’m sure that she will tell me tonight, but this just astounds me.
Is all of this stuff normal? If so, no wonder why the public schools are going to hell. Here I am a concerned parent who wants to be a part of my child’s experience at the school, and I’m getting treated like Al Qaeda. Just tell me the name of the kid, and I’ll go have a conversation with his/her parents and see what we can work out to try to keep this from happening in the future.
Back in the day, teachers, parents, and administrators were a team to make good things happen. I feel like a bastard stepchild. I think I am going to mention this at the next PTA meeting and conclude with my resignation from the group since it seems that all the school wants from us is to buy fucking candy bars for fundraisers. Anything beyond that, we can get lost.