Tuesday, March 22, 2005

God help "The System"... They sure can't help themselves.

On the Thursday before Christmas, my daughter took her snowpants to kindergarten. Every day prior to this, she brought them home. I'd either wash them, or just stick them in the dryer so they'd be nice and fresh for her (and warm). I CANNOT afford to go out and buy new snowpants. YES, it's a couple of bucks... But trust me... Right now I do NOT have it.

A little background: At the beginning of the year, I turned in all my daughter's paperwork. A couple of months into the year, they'd already lost some of it. About a month later, they lost her physical forms. Ok, I have a MAJOR problem with this for two reasons:

1. I don't have the time to fill out multiple copies every time they lose crap.

2. How the HECK do they lose something that's in a freaking FILING CABINET??? Are they passing it around at the office??? WTF???

So Thursday afternoon before Christmas, my daughter comes home with no snowpants. I call, the teacher's already gone but I'll have to speak with her about it. Mind you, this is a phony, frustrating woman who uses her "kindergarten voice" to speak with EVERYONE (I swear I want to slap her every time she opens her mouth). So I have to wait a freaking WEEK to speak with her because of vacation.

I have spoken with her several times. My daughter has been borrowing her BIGGER brother's snowpants that really don't fit. So the teacher calls me today to tell me that it's a "requirement of the school that all children have snowpants, and they should fit appropriately." I want to strangle her.

My daughter loses gloves, etc. all the time. Yes, I filled out the paperwork, and even had a sit-down with the teacher (to which she had to invite a school counselor before she would say word one - poor people are dangerous, you know). I was never apologized to for the loss of the paperwork - which I got copies of at work, thank God (but they need originals). Instead, I was told that there might be a possibility I thought I'd turned it in, but forgotten... Not likely, since I'd had a conversation with a woman in the office to be sure certain things were filled out accurately.

Not to mention: in the beginning of the year they lost - drumroll please - my DAUGHTER. She had wandered off the playground. This was in the first week. THEN the NEXT week, when she was already set up for after school care, they had not taken her to the gym with the rest of the after school kids in the Y program, they instead called a SOCIAL WORKER because my little girl had not been picked up. They did this WITHOUT calling me at work. They called my cell, which did not get an answer, and then CLAIM they called my emergency contact and got a message it was not in service. Which my emergency contact herself thought was pretty funny.

My daughter is incredibly intelligent. She gets bored easily. On top of that, she has trust issues directly related to the molestation when she was a toddler. Her teacher insists that she's got ADD, but she's the only one of all the people who know my daughter well who seems to think so. I plan to have her tested anyway, but so far, she's had direct contact with professionals that simply see her as intelligent. And who have also met her teacher and have the same feelings toward the woman that I do: She's weird.

On a daily basis, my daughter is sent to speak with a counselor because the teacher says she doesn't have time to take her aside and speak with her. I'll bet being singled out does wonders for her social interaction and self esteem. But do you think I receive regular communication when the teacher does have problems? Not once. I have repeatedly told the school and her teacher that I need to know what's going on so that I can address it and offer my daughter some sort of consistency.

At one point, I found out - a couple of days after the fact - that my daughter had spent two hours in the nurse's office. She hadn't been feeling well. Do you think the school called me to let me know? Nope. Not even a note.

Another situation occurred when I had gone to pick her up and was told she was sent to the after school program. Why? Because MY DAUGHTER told them she was supposed to go there now. She's in Kindergarten. Wouldn't you think they'd call me to verify this? Of course not. They took my little girl's word for it instead.

Now here's the latest:

I usually help out a friend of mine who doesn't drive by taking her around to run whatever errands she has. Even so, I'm usually early to pick up my daughter from school. Yesterday, however, I was running late. My friend used her cell phone to call the school and let them know that we'd be about ten minutes late picking my daughter up, and to please hold her in the office until I got there.

I got to the school and went to the office. She wasn't there. NOBODY was there. I then went out to the playground. A few parents and their kids, but she wasn't there either. I went back to the office and the secretary was there. I asked her where my daughter was. She replied, "Oh, well I went out there right after you called and didn't see her. Maybe someone else picked her up." Ok. Now I'm a tad pissed.

"There IS nobody else to pick her up. I just told you I would be here in ten minutes." I was thinking: You'd better HOPE no-one else picked her up! I was livid. I went back down to the gymnasium to see if she was there. There is an after school program and she has friends there. Maybe she'd decided to go there with her friends.

She wasn't there.

At this point, I've hit panic stage. I raced home to see if she'd walked. We live only a few blocks away. As I pulled into the drive, I see my little girl at the neighbor's (my landlady). The poor kid is sobbing. She runs to me and clings on hard. I explained (quite colorfully, I might add) what had happened to the landlady and then took my friend home.

Today I spoke to the principal. There has been a complete lack of communication from the school to me for the entire year. There is no excuse. But this takes the cake. If I had said that I would be late and my daughter was missing, then by God, if she wasn't there when they checked the secretary should have called back (they have the number) to tell me. Anything could have happened. They are also aware that under no circumstances is my little girl to walk home. She is a daydreamer and could easily get lost.

I'm so close to completely withdrawing her and doing either homeschool or a charter school. One would think that the public school system would be a bit more serious about their jobs. They take violence in schools seriously. In my opinion, this circumstance is directly related to the well-being of the children in their care. I would like to know that I can feel safe when my daughter is there.


tommy said...

Good luck. So many of the schools have evolved into a system that serves the administrators first, and to some degree the teachers after that. Frequently they never address the children much less the parents. There are exceptions of course, but so many of those get fed up and leave allowing the problem to just get worse.

Jeni said...

How unnerving that they take the physical safety of your daughter so lightly. I think any parent would be irate under those circumstances and it doesn't seem too unreasonable that the school wouldn't be just as concerned since they are legally repsonsible for your daughter when in their care.
Is there a school district administration office where you can speak to the superintendent to let them know what's going on and to address the lack of supervision?
I would be frantic too if it were one of my kids.
Maybe the virtual school is what you and your daughter both need right now to ensure that she's safe until she is a little older.

Shannon said...

I totally agree with you. The public school system bites. I am appauled that they treated you and your daughter that way. I've had my share of crap from the school system, so I can relate and empathize with you. Letters to the superintendent, the board of ed, even the PTA are in definite account here, and if all else fails, I'd be just as bold to take her out and homeschool her. I hope and pray the best for you and yours in this.


Eric Miller said...

Good God, I would have called the police and reported neglect on the school, then called my lawyer. Trust me, thats the last thing they want is that phone call coming in to them. Inform them that all matters in regards to your daughter that occur outside of the normal boundaries of the classroom are to be reported immediaely to you the day of occurence. Your daughter has rights and within them are safety, health, and protection, and the school is legally responsible for these.

I hope it gets better for you. Keep smiling