Imagine a Friday afternoon; it’s ten minutes until you need to go to the bus stop to pick up your kindergartener when your phone rings; it’s a friend saying, “Was Kiddo#3 supposed to be on the bus?”
“Well, I found him here in the school parking lot.”
She offered to take him home, then said, “Wait, I don’t know if I can. What if they ask me if I have permission?”
I said, “If they put him out in the parking lot unattended, do you honestly think they’ll ask if you have permission to take him home?”
No one stopped her from taking home my son.
60 seconds later I had the school secretary on the phone, and I very sweetly asked how the hell my son had ended up in the parking lot alone. She had no idea. “You did send in a note saying he could take home his sister’s report card.” I shot back, “So he has to WALK it home?” The secretary paged the teacher, but when the teacher didn’t answer, she told me the teacher had gone home. (I found out later she hadn’t gone home yet.)
Later the teacher emailed me and claimed a check box had been blacked on that note saying I’d pick him up myself. This is untrue. By then I’d already emailed the principal and the superintendent of schools asking how their safety procedures had gotten that out of whack. Because even if they thought I’d pick him up myself, why was he left alone? Why had someone just been able to take him?
The principal called. His explanation? There are just too many kids for them to keep track of.
Repeat that to yourself for a moment there. Let that sink in.
I said, “Did you see the note supposedly authorizing them to override his normal ride home?” and he said no, the teacher had thrown it away.
So let’s recap: the teacher screwed up, discarded the evidence, and by doing this, revealed that the school has no control over how the five-year-olds are dismissed even though they are supposed to verify that each kindergartener is picked up by an authorized adult.
The next day I sent an email back to the principal, the teacher and the superintendent saying, “I just want to confirm what we talked about yesterday,” and made sure to quote that bit about how there were just too many students to keep track of. (Note: we’re talking about 20 dismissal kids, with two teachers.)
And now I am once again That Mom.
Because that afternoon, do you know what came home? Yep, an announcement via backpack mail: From now on, parents have to take an additional 10 steps to the side door of the school and say, “I’ll be taking Billy now,” and then Billy can come home, as opposed to Billy and 19 other kindergarteners being told to fend for themselves while one or two teachers sort of keep an eye out for America’s Most Wanted or for kids wandering off into traffic.
I am That Mom.
I do not care.