Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A fine example of our education system at work.

Homeschool interrupted Monday morning by ringing of phone.


"Mrs. Source? I'm calling from Mindless Oafs Relating Outrageous Nonsense (MORON) High School. Were you aware that Darling Daughter is absent from school today? Is she at home? Sick?"

Icy fingers of dread creeping up back of neck...."No...she's not at home. She's at school. She calls me every morning as soon as she gets there. She's just started driving herself a little over a week ago. Are you sure she isn't there?"

"Well, Mrs. Source, the attendance office has reported her absent, so she's not at school today. (Insert smug laughter) Or she may have BEEN here, but then she left. Is it possible she went somewhere else?"

"No, it's not possible she went somewhere else. She was in the school parking lot with her best friend when she called me. She has never 'gone somewhere else' before. Is her truck there??"

"I don't know, Mrs. Source, I just make the calls to let parents know when their children don't come to school."

"But my daughter DID go to school. She doesn't cut school. She picks up her best friend every morning and they go straight to school. She isn't even allowed to drive to the gas station yet. I'm not entirely at ease with her driving on her own so she calls me as soon as she gets to school. If she hadn't called me, I would be worried that she was lying in a ditch on the highway, but since she called me, I know she made it as far as the school parking lots...and now you're telling me that she's disappeared?? Something happened to her between her truck and the building?? I'm going to go wake up her daddy now and call the police!"

"Oh! (hesitant tone of voice) Mrs. Source, ummm...you don't think....I mean, couldn't she have gone to a friend's or something?"

"No, I don't think so. She doesn't do things like that. Ever. She's always where she says she is. So you understand my concern? I need to find her. Now."

"I'm sure she's fine....ummm...why don't I transfer you to the attendance office...maybe she was just tardy."

"Wait a minute...you said she wasn't at school at ALL...is she there or not?"

"Well, I don't know, Mrs. Source. They fax me a list of all the kids who didn't show up for class, and I just make the calls."

"Right. And insinuate that children are truant. You don't KNOW if she's there or not? Give me to the attendance office now, please."

Growling under my breath while the twins watch me with the worry in their eyes because they've figured out that no one knows where their sister is. By this time I have texted The Oldest who has driven to MORON High on his way to the college. He assures me that the truck is, in fact, in the parking lot. He's gone into the office and asked them to produce his sister. They won't because, naturally, they can't interrupt class! Perfectly OK to disturb her entire family, but let's not bother the teachers.

"Mrs. Source? It's Mrs. Attendance Lady at MORON High. I see here that Darling Daughter was present during first period, but marked absent for second."

"Mrs. Attendance Lady...you know Darling Daughter very well. She wouldn't just leave the school. Her truck is there. WHERE is she?"

"Well, I don't know. But I wouldn't worry about it. Her third period teacher didn't mark her absent."

"So she showed up for Spanish? She went to Calculus and Spanish but not Study Hall? She didn't work in the library, but she went to Spanish. OK, so she's fine, then. She's in class?"

"Well...not necessarily, you see, the teachers only mark them absent, not present. Her teacher didn't mark anyone absent this morning, so it's possible that she didn't take attendance in her class today."


"Can you please press your little intercom button and ASK the teacher if Darling Daughter is sitting in front of her?? There are only eight kids in the class, and she's NOT one of the quiet ones....trust me, if she's in there, the teacher will know."

"No ma'am, I'm not permitted to interrupt class."

"OK, them I'm coming up there to interrupt class for you. With the cops. Because you don't know where my daughter is, and you won't find out. You know that she WAS there, but now she's not. Or she is. But you won't find out. You don't mind having someone call me to tell me that she ISN'T there and imply that she's a delinquent, but now you won't walk down the hall or PUSH A BUTTON and tell me whether she IS at school??"

"Oh, I'm sure she's in class. I wouldn't worry."

"Right. She could be in class. You're right. Or. Do you think it's possible...just possible...that in between first and second period some thug attacked her in the locker room and stuffed her under the bleachers?? Or shoved her head in the toilet and drowned her?? I mean you DO have a number of really BAD kids over there wouldn't you agree? Anything could have happened. ARE YOU GOING TO GO FIND HER OR DO I HAVE TO PUT OUT AN APB???"

"OH! Umm....I'll call you right back!"

I find out later that Darling Daughter, who was sitting in class doing her work, was called down to the office and questioned on her whereabouts during second period, because you know, there could be no possible legitmate excuse for not going to second period study hall. It seems that she was still in FIRST period finishing up a Calculus test and that she showed up for second period about five minutes late WITH a pass from her Cal. teacher. No problem. She had no idea that the study hall teacher had already marked her absent and not changed it. Until Mrs. Attendance Lady berated HER for scaring her mama half to death.

Darling Daughter asked Mrs. Attendance Lady to please call me and let me know she was fine. She assured DD that she would do so immediately. She did not.

I was by then dressed and headed to the school...but decided to make one more call to the school.

"Did you find her?"

"Mrs. Souce, it's lunch time (at 10 AM?) and the commons area is crowded, if I called in there, no one would hear me."

Why didn't she mention that she just spoke to my daughter??

"Never mind. Don't trouble yourself. I'll see you in a minute."


"I'm coming up there to look for my child!"

"Oh! Well, she's fine...I see her right now...she's speaking with the assistant principal. She was just sent down to the office by her teacher to be written up for detention."

"What?!! What in the world FOR?"

"No ma'am. Apparently she asked permission to go to the restroom after lunch!"



Hezra said...

oh my freakin gosh!! Now I will take a xanax on your behalf. That poor kid!! GRRR. I too was a DD at one time. had to call from every place when I arrived. Until the year of church camp from hell. They wouldnt let me call. I cried because I knew my parents would be worried but I was 11, there was not much I could do about it. So, in the middle of the night, they dragged me out of bed, because my dad had called our pastor and the pastor and a few parent(yes mine too) were going to drive a bus two hrs and get us all(demanding a refund). They quickly woke me up and I talked to my dad. He said if they give me any trouble AT ALL, we were given permission to call and they would come. Then the counselor yelled at ME after and said I needed to "grow up" and quit being a baby. We survived but never returned. So I know how she feels too.

Kiy said...

SEE?! This is why I am wondering about school. School period. We are trusting our children to them (let's stop and ponder that whole thought right there ... trusting our children TO THEM - the school). Not just, you know, teach them something (maybe to not be morons?) but trust them to keep our children safe while in their care. Yes, I realize that DD is ... 16? 17? but still.

I am currently rethinking our plan for school after this post.

Good luck, hope you and DD (and the twins and oldest son) weren't scarred too much. Yikes.

Kiy said...

And yes, I know I am behind in commenting. Heck, I am behind in everything ... you should see my kitchen (eeps!). Or, maybe not.


a Tonggu Momma said...

I have no words...

Chelsea Gour said...

Exhibit A : why my kids will NEVER go to school.....of course, that isn't the only reason! :)

Brianna said...

You know that if you leave a little comment section, I mustn't leave this site without giving my oppinions. :)

I will not attempt to argue on their behalf, since I think they were totally in the wrong here, as the office administration usually is, BUT that is not to say that all school officials are incompitent. I will be a teacher one day and try to undo some of the bad reputation that the few "bad" school officials have created, including all of these generalizations about the corrupt-ness of public schools and anyone having anything to do with them. I understand public schooling is not for everyone, but it is certainly the best thing for others and just as I said to my English teacher about Obama, these people are in a position of power and there is little we can to do take all of it away, or at least before it has time to do some damage, so in the mean time, the most practical thing to do is pray for them. Even when it seems to be of no concern to you(say, if your kids do not go to a public school), remember that there is always someone that does, and whether or not you know them, it is our responsibility to pray for them and their leaders, who in this case, happen to be the administration staff at MORON High. :)

The Source said...

Hezra...OMG! That was CHURCH camp? Poor thing. Where did they go to find counselors??

Bri...You make some very good points. You know I love hearing from you! My daughter's school (and you know where she goes!) isn't all bad. It's pretty close-knit, most of her teachers are caring and dedicated, and so far it's been a fairly safe environment. It's days like Monday that scare a parent to death...when all it would have taken was the puch of a button to ensure that DD was fine. Sometimes the decisions made by the adults in charge just don't make sense. Public school is the right choice for DD because she LOVES being a part of the whole high school experience. She's enjoyed every part of it. On the other hand, next year there are very few choices for her to move ahead at that school...so she'll only be spending half the day there and then going to the college down the road. :) Aren't you graduating early?

And girl...you've met my twins. :) Those two nuts couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag...with a GPS and a professional guide! They're homeschooled because they need that one-on-one attention. Also because they'd end up stuffed in a gym locker if I sent them to middle school, I just know it.

But of course, we still pray for their friends and teachers. We've been blessed that we've had pretty good schools to send them to, and for the most part, teachers who WANT to teach. Since the future depends on ALL the kids...homeschooled or not...we definitely shouldn't stop trying to improve education for everyone...for those in public, private or homeschools. Love ya, Bri!! Come over here and see us some time!!