Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm on my soapbox!

Soapbox Consider yourself warned...I am on my soapbox and those that know me know I can really get upset when pushed too far....and this is a subject that has gone way too far!

Our kids started school in August. All 3 of our kids are good students and they work hard for that and we are very proud of them. My soapbox rant involves Austin, so I will also add that Austin was a 4.0 student on his last report card (end of last school year). In early Sept, we took a family trip to Florida...a once in a lifetime trip. We made sure the kids had all their assignments for classes they would miss and every single one of them had all their work done when they returned to school so they wouldn't be behind. Austin has missed 4 other partial days of school. Two of those days were to attend varsity cross country meets that junior high didn't run at. The bus left around 2:00 on both days, but we had Austin ride with us when we left at 2:45... that way it meant he only missed the last 30 min of school... which is when he has band. We thought we were being good parents by having him stay in school longer. Guess not....but I won't start my rant just yet. I'll fill you in on the other 2 days first. Those were for orthodontist appointments. He has those every month. If possible, I look to see if we can schedule those for a day when he has no school. In Sept & Oct he missed the last hour of school on 2 occassions for those appts. I would have scheduled them later, but we had to set them up at that time in order for us to get to the appt and for them to get done before they closed. In the last hour he is in school, he has vocal and band. Both important classes, but not core classes and that's why we chose for those to be the ones he missed.

Ok, fasten your comes the rant......

Today we get a note from the new Principal at our school. It's basically a generic note with Austin's name (& our name) inserted at the appropriate spots. I will sum up the letter by saying that it says that Austin has missed too many days of school. He's allowed to miss 7 days and he's now over that (by only 2 hours total!). Therefore, he will not get credit for the class(es) he missed (basically means he'll get an F for those). We must appeal to the Attendance Committee (we have a committee for this?). Jay and I have to fill out 1 form and Austin has to fill out the other.
To say we were not thrilled with this is an understatement! Austin is not only a good student, but a very concientious (is that how you spell that?) student. He likes being good at school and is proud that he is known as a hard working respectful student. So you can imagine how upset he is by this. The poor kid has been in tears thinking he might fail anything...even band or vocal. Of course, when one of my children is upset or hurt, mama lion is ready to attack! However, I felt it best to not go slap the principal right out of his stuffy suit, so I called Jay who is good at helping me to calm down (Lord knows he's had enough practice over the years LOL). However, he didn't really help because he got just as mad as I did. He asked what they said we had to do to appeal and I read the 2 forms we received. They are the same, but 1 has to be filled out by us and the other by Austin (poor kid nearly hyperventilated when he saw that). The forms ask what class(es) were missed and what grade did he receive. Uh hello knuckleheads, we haven't gotten a report card yet...duh! Dismay The next part says we are to explain why he was gone. Third part says: Please provide the Attendance Appeals Committee with a plan that will alleviate further absenteeism (anyone for homeschooling??). The fourth part says: Please provide the Attendance Appeals Committee with an argument as to why credit should be given for the work done in this course by your child. Oh do they really want me to give them an argument???? PMS may be over for this month, but honey I can still argue with the best of them and when it comes to defending my children...bring it on!

Keep in mind this: when a student is going to be gone from school for a doctor/dentist or other appt, or out of town or anything pre-planned, they must bring in a signed note from a parent explaining where they will be. Everytime Austin has had to be gone, he's been with us...and 2 times it was to a school related activity (we found out that had Austin gotten out of school earlier and rode the bus, it wouldn't be on his attendance basically we're all in trouble because we kept him in school longer. Is that supposed to make sense?). These notes are given to each teacher and they list any work that needs to be done. Again, he's only missed band and vocal so there is no homework or classwork he's missed. If they go to an appt they have to bring back a note from the doctor/dentist or whoever proving they really were at that appt. So that means our written note means nothing because they don't trust us? If they know where he was and who he was with and they have the notes to prove it, and he's still an A student, then what's the problem? And if it doesn't matter that we have the notes, then why in the ... Pissed we have to have them?

Jay called the principal and told him how stupid he thought this was. Supposedly this principal came from a school that had attendance problems and therefore he's a real stickler for attendance...which is fine, to a point. Jay could see he was getting nowhere and he said "Ok that's fine. My next call will be to the school board ( honey is MAD! wooohooo baby...go get 'em!). The Principal of course tried to let him know that wasn't necessary, but Jay just hung up.

*Update* Jay just called me and said he talked to 3 of the 5 school board members he could get ahold of...including the President. All 3 agree that this sounds so dumb and pointless. They agree that the student's past grades, activities, and attendance should be taken into account. The school board President said "Jay I have an appt to meet with him in the morning and I promise you, this will be brought up." We know this man well enough to know he will keep his word.

The really stupid part is...since Austin is now past that 7 day mark, we will go through this for any time he misses for the rest of the school year. Oh joy. It's going to be a looooong year.

Ok, rant over. We will now return you to your regular programming.

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