Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And The Sign Said "People with children need not school"

Tonight was Back To School Night, aka Open House, at The Big One's school.

We didn't go because at the last minute, we were un invited.

Rude, huh.

I love Back To School night. I love talking to the teacher, checking out the classroom, all of it. I love being a part of her day to day experience, in any way I can. I try to be involved at school as much as I possibly can.

Then, today, I was told I wasn't wanted.

Well, only because I have children. The event was deemed adults only. Unfortunately, I have no one else to care for my children tonight, especially not when they notify you last minute. The first I heard that this was adults only was yesterday, when The Big One came home. She said something about it, but it sounded more like a request, understandable, and believe me, if it were easy and free for me to get a sitter at the drop of a hat, or if MimMim (grandma) lived here, I wouldn't take them anywhere I didn't need to, especially not when I wanted to talk to my child's teacher about that child. Shew. That would be great. Unfortunately, that isn't our reality. Our reality is that we are often a one parent household by way of the U.S. Navy, and definitely don't have the budget for an on call nanny. So, where I go, they go. I guess the school decided that wasn't ok with them.

I have a few issues with all of this. Just a few.

1) We are in a predominantly military area. This means many of the families that attend this school, like us, have no family, and no one to call on in a pinch that would be free. So, we are excluded from all adults only activities.

2) The notice was totally unacceptable. We got a phone call, followed immediately by a email carbon copy of the phone message, only this morning, after school had started. While it may have been difficult, had someone made this very clear the first day of school, which I grant you was just about a week ago, I could have called around to friends and begged for a little help. Someone, with some notice, would have been able to help me, but telling after the school day has started to suddenly change my plans is so unrealistic, I can't believe anyone who has ever been a parent would have done this.

3) The worst part of all it, and there are other arguments that could be made as to why having open house be adults only is wrong, is that we are a Title 1 school. Being a Title 1 school means that you have been recognized as having a large portion of your student population who belong to economically disadvantaged families. The schools are setup with extra funding and specific guidelines to assist these families in breaking down the barriers to those children's success. One of the greatest barriers to a child's success in school is a lack of parental involvement, and Title 1 schools are specifically supposed to combat that. In fact, they are required to have in place a plan on how they intend to improve communication between the school and parents. It would seem to me, that what this school did goes against everything that being a Title 1 school is supposed to be about. They, in fact, put up a specific barrier between the school and parents tonight.

The school could have done something that many other schools do; offer on site child care for those that had to bring their children. However, when I called to inquire as to why I was dis invited today, the front office staff told me that they had no place for childcare. I suppose that very large multipurpose room where were initially supposed to gather, then separate to our individual classes, wouldn't contain all the children that would be left behind? Wait. That doesn't make any sense. So, someone, somewhere, just dropped the ball, and upset parents. At the very least, I am upset.

I know for sure that there are parents who will be bringing children with them. I know there will be rule breakers. I am just not one of those parents. I might have feigned ignorance of this ridiculous demand, especially since it was sent so late I could have actually missed it, but I got called out earlier. My husband, trying to help out, and find out as much as he could, went to the teacher to ask what I should do, as the teacher and I had planned to discuss my assisting him with something right away tonight. The teacher ask that I meet with him tomorrow. So, I just couldn't go against his wishes.

While I am very upset, heartbroken truthfully, I will handle it the any adult will. I will make a huge fuss, stomp my foot a lot, and then be sure things are changed for the better. Hurting my daughter, though, is crossing the line. She was very excited for me to see her classroom, and so on. She said she cleaned her desk really hard today. She was totally heartbroken to see me so upset.

I will talk to the principal, and make sure they try to fix all of this before the next open house, because we just can't have The Big One hurt again, and she shouldn't be by a silly policy like this.