Monday, May 30, 2011

A little courtesy, please?

Friday was Darling Daughter's last day of high school.  Well, her last day of 13 years of public school education.  OK, so technically Friday wasn't actually a "school day" for her since the Seniors were finished once they either too or exempted their exams earlier in the week and she only had to take one.  Friday was supposed to be "graduation practice."  I don't know what they have to practice...I'm pretty sure all of the kids know how to walk, and how to sit, and how to shake hands.  It seems fairly simple to me.

Apparently what they don't know is how to sit quietly and listen when school administrators are trying to speak to them, though, so they ended up wasting a grand total of 3 and a half hours standing in a crowded gymnasium while their teachers lectured them.  Now they get to practice graduation again on Wednesday. 

Fun. 

A highlight of Darling Daughter's fun-filled Friday morning included having her name called out in front of the Senior class and being informed that she owed "fees" and therefore she wouldn't be getting her diploma this Thursday unless those fees weren't taken care of immediately.  She texted me with a frantic message asking if I could come up to the school and pay 85 dollars plus 17.95.  Right away!

Um.  No.  I don't think so.  They waited until the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL to tell my daughter that she owed over a hundred dollars and she'd better pay it now or she won't graduate?  What about a note, email, phone call, certified letter or any attempt at communication at all letting us know that we hadn't paid something??  First of all, $85.00 happens to be the exact amount of Senior registration fees that had to be paid before she recieved her schedule last summer.  I know these fees were paid because I wrote the check and I mailed the check and she was handed a schedule in July.  Secondly, the school never hands out report cards without pitching a fit about fees that are owed.  She's gotten every report card this year.  And third...I have the canceled check in my possession.  Someone deposited the $85.00.

So I called the school.  The very friendly bookkeeper (no really, she was...) told me that she had no idea which fees Darling Daughter owed because she didn't "have the list" of kids owing fees.  The Senior Class Advisor/Teacher had the list out in the gym so that she could yell out the names of those non-paying juvenile deliquents to everyone.  (OK, she didn't say exactly that...she was polite but clueless and asked me to call her back later.)

I texted DD and asked if the Senior Advisor could let her know what fees she owed.  She went and asked.  The teacher told her no...she didn't have any knowlegde of which fees...she only had a list of who owed. 

Huh??  So obviously there's some sort of a list of kids who owe, and there's some sort of a list of what they owe...but no list of who AND what they owe all together on one sheet some place?

I was so confused. 

I called the bookkeeper back a few hours later.  She informed me (very nicely) that she still didn't have the magic list, but she saw on her computer that Darling Daughter owed her registration fees ($85.00) and she owed $17.95 as well, but the bookkeeper didn't know what that money was for.  It could be a late library book or a lost textbook or a Senior class fee for something...there was no notation. 

Imagine!

Darling Daughter only had two textbooks this year.  She already turned them both in.  She had been by the library the previous week and taken care of her $3.10 fine.  The bookkeeper decided that since no one knows what the $17.95 is for, perhaps she could just delete that and concentrate on the registration fees. Sounds like a plan to me...because you know, apparently anyone can sit at the school's computer and enter random amounts for kids to pay without reason.  I mentioned that I had in my possession the canceled check showing that someone from the school deposited our $85.00 back in July.  She told me to send her a copy of both sides and she would take it off of DD's account.  I asked her to send me a receipt marking it paid in full.  She said no problem.  Happy ending. Smiles all around.

Not.

Darling Daughter drove straight to the school.  The (always rude) school secretary told her the bookkeeper had left to make deposits and she couldn't see her and would have to come back later.  Darling Daughter said "I really need to make sure she gets this, so I guess I'll just wait for her to come back."  She took a seat.  She chatted with a boy who was also in the office. Moments later the principal's secretary came out from the back, scowled at her and asked, "Are you the young lady who refuses to leave?"  Looking around and seeing no other young ladies in the waiting room, DD answered...Ummm...well, yes ma'am I guess that's me.  "Well, what is your problem?"  My mom wanted me to show this canceled check for me registration fees to the bookeeper so that she can see we paid them. She told me not to come back home without a receipt.  I'm just waiting for her to get back.

The principal's secretary got an attitude and told her that "We can't be writing receipts for things that have already been paid previously!" 

Hello?  What the heck are receipts for then?? 

She wrote me a nasty note on the page with the printed copy of the canceled check telling me that she would "look into it" later. 

Yes, but graduation is Thursday and if the school is so incompetent that they can't mark fees paid from 9 months ago, how is this supposed to reassure me?? 

She told Darling Daughter to go home now.  The secretary sat behind her desk smirking at her. 

I just don't get it.  Power tripping adults who have nothing more satisfying in their lives that to be mean to as many teenagers as possible each day?  Have they no other pleasures in life?  Probably not.  Being a secretary at a public high school for dozens of years cannot be all that fulfilling, I guess.

Anyway, after treating DD hatefully and sending her home without any proof of payment...well...her daddy got involved. 

Needless to say both of the secretary's were all sweetness and kindness when he walked in.  Butter wouldn't melt in their tight-lipped mouths.  The principal's secretary went back and brought out the record book...and made the startling discovery that Darling Daughter owed NOTHING to the school in the first place.  All balances were ZERO.  No registrations fees...those had been marked paid in July.  Stunning!  No $17.95 random fees.  Nothing.  Then she handed my hubby a RECEIPT (Gasp!  for money that had already been paid!)  and thanked him for coming to take care of the matter. 

No one yelled at him for sitting and waiting.  In fact, no one made him wait in the first place.  No one accused him of anything.  No one talked rudely.  No one made him feel confronted or wrong or out of place.  No.  That's reserved specially for teenagers.  Because they wouldn't dare treat a grown man that way.  Only a 17 year old. 

Luckily, the Hubby mentioned as he left how thrilled he is that after Thursday we will never have to deal with them again.  Our boys will NEVER go to school there.  If I die a horrible death before they finish their education, they will just have to be adopted by another homeschooling family until they complete high school.  I don't want them to have to experience people who consider themselves bothered and annoyed to deal with teenagers.  Instead, they can interact with actual human beings who treat kids kindly and teach them how to handle conflict in a calm and polite manner.  Thank you Lord, for a wonderful support system!

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