“Just Who Do These People (School Administrators) Think They Are”? This Missouri Parent Wants to Know.
From the Facebook Group Missouri Moms and a school district’s interrogation of parents regarding student absences:
The Letter arrived the very day that school broke for Christmas. We were informed that our 15 yr. old had exceeded the five-period limit of absences and had lost credit for the classes he has missed. Furthermore, we were being ‘informed’ that an APPEAL hearing had been scheduled for the Monday after the Christmas break. An appeal hearing? Seriously? Appealing for what? Are we, the parents, to beg for mercy from this quasi-tribunal called the Attendance Appeal Committee? We were to bring the proper documentation to the hearing to excuse any absences. Following the APPEAL Hearing a letter would be mailed to us with committee’s decision. UNBELIEVABLE!
The emotions that swirled around our family over the Christmas break were exhausting. What could this possibly mean? Would our boy, an honor student, well liked among his peers, a kind and decent kid, be robbed of his hard earned credits? Would all those early morning tutoring sessions for Trigonometry go up in smoke? Who were these people, who could so capriciously give and take away?
Today was the day. We went to the appointment. We sat in the hall, humiliated that we were being treated like some truant kid being summoned to the Principal’s office. Eventually, it was our turn. A large brawny man, the Assistant Principal, opened a door and said ‘next’. We were up. The other parents remaining in the hall told it all with the look of fear in their eyes. Everyone was so afraid.
We were mad.
We sat down across the table from a committee of four. Clearly an ‘us-against’them’ scenario. The principal, in a cold, detached and rehearsed script told us, “The student has exceeded the number of days allowed for absences allowed by policy. Do you have sufficient documentation to present to the APPEALS committee?” Why was I beginning to feel like we were in front of Nazi’s and about to be sentenced to a labor camp? “No, Mr. Principal, we DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT DOCUMENTATION! Why should we spend hundreds of dollars at the Dr.’ office just to satisfy your requirements for documentation? Our son was absent on Day 1 because he served as a groomsmen for his brother’s out-of-town wedding. Days 2-3, our son was home with the flu. He returned to school the following day with a 102⁰ fever because he feared this very thing. Day 4 he relapsed and we kept him home. We called you on each of these occasions. [The attendance secretary, part of the tribunal, was there with laptop verifying it all] Day 5, a month later, he became sick again, but went to school the next day to take an exam. [He is extremely conscientious!] This threw him into another relapse which led to Day 6. He also missed his school Christmas Choir Performance ! Mr. Principal, I would like to remind you that we are in the middle of a government-declared flu epidemic. These proceedings are an outrage. We called the school each time our son was absent. Why are we here fighting for our son’s credits?”
The committee felt the need to inform us that we were not singled-out. It was their job to hold these meetings because they have singlehandedly helped so many families whose children had serious health issues. We should think of this committee as some kind of service to the community. We replied that we didn’t need their help. Furthermore, they told us, there are teachers and staff who have been absent beyond their allotted sick days and will not be paid for the time they were off. Who cares, we said. We were not interested in discussing ‘other’ students or staff. We wanted to know what the outcome of this committee was going to be. And don’t tell us that we have to wait two days! We’ve been through hell over the holidays anticipating this ridiculous meeting.
We told the APPEALS Committee that we would not waste anymore of their time because they lacked the authority to abolish this dog-and-pony-show. We recognize that there are other channels by which we could certainly avail ourselves and we plan to do just that. They continued to try and convince us of the good that they do and how necessary this process is. We disputed that claim. Again we asked what the outcome was going to be. The principal was somewhat flummoxed, as I am sure that we threw him off script. He felt that the committee, after reviewing the information, would rule in our favor. Rule? Is this some kind of legal proceeding? Did we miss something? Who in the world do these people think they are?
Folks, welcome to public schools under the influence of loss of parental rights. Your rights and ours are being eroded every single day. The school districts believe, yes believe, that they have control over your children. They exercise this mock-control by bullying parents in hundreds of ways , i.e. APPEAL hearings, just like this one. They threaten parents with withholding their children’s grades, credits, and even their diploma. Hateful letters are sent out. Parents rush to the school in fear. Wringing their hands, they grovel and cringe. Stop it! Stop it now.
It is time to stand up to these power-hungry monsters. It is time to fight for the restoration of parental rights in Missouri.
Missouri Moms plan to take back what belongs to us. Our God-given rights to direct the education of our children. No more stealing of our children’s personal identifiable information, no more dictating that we, as parents, can’t keep our kids out of schools for whatever reason we want to, no more hateful threatening letters, no more lording over us like we don’t know what’s going on. We know! And we’re about to blow the lid off this thing, baby.
When did Missouri (and other states) school districts become an investigative arm of the Judicial System? The districts now have an ‘appeal process’ for parents to defend why their child missed a few days of school? Who are the best guardians for the child and are more invested in the child, the parents or the state?
I hope parents come forward with more stories of the abuse suffered at the hands of educational agencies circumventing and bullying parents. I hope there is a class action suit forthcoming in Missouri to stop this abuse.
Here’s a bit of information on the poster graphic:
This cute poster is a hard worker. It uses bright colors and gentle humor to deliver a powerful message. If you’ve been frustrated with the results you get attempting to convince your middle or high school students that regular attendance is important, Poster #332 is the perfect fit for your classroom or office.
Poster #332 reads “5 Days Without School Makes One Weak. It’s Only the Stuff You’ll Need the Rest of Your Life.”
Poster #332 excels at reversing students’ belief that regular class and school attendance isn’t very important. But Poster #332 isn’t just a great motivator, it also provides a nonstop reminder to students about attending school every school day.
Classroom posters should be more than wall decorations. Classroom posters should make your students better, and should help make your classroom a better place. Poster #332 was designed by mental health and special education experts to do just that. It’s a motivator, it’s a training tool, and it’s an ever-present reminder.
Stop being frustrated by student truancy, tardiness and attendance problems. Put Poster #332 to work today helping ensure that your students arrive to school on time tomorrow.
Schools don’t need posters extolling the joys of attending school. All they need is the Missouri School Improvement Plan 5 which calls for punitive actions by school districts toward parents if their children miss more than 5 days in a semester.
Published January 7, 2015