My son came home yesterday with a detention slip (D-Hall, they call it). He's served detention once before, for being late to class because mom, the PE teacher locked us out of the gym after lap time and didn't let us in until after the bell rang! which I used my Little Orphan Annie ring to decode into my friends and I walk the last lap of our mile run because we have to talk about girls and MW3 sometimes, jeez, and because we do this we didn't even get to the doors of the gym until after the bell rang and that jerk of a teacher had the gall to punish us for it.
I made him serve that D-Hall, oh yes I did, and apologize to the PE teacher for disrespecting his class.
I mention this only to establish that I don't have problems with authority figures, nor do I take any issue with a Jr High teacher doing whatever the hell it takes to maintain a semblance of order. You give those kids an inch and they will eat you alive. I get that.
So my son shows me his D-Hall slip and tells me it's for another tardy to class, and I am like OH MY GOD WHY AGAIN? and he explains to me that yesterday was the day he was testing up in orchestra (harder music, better chairs, etc) and so after 2nd period he *ran* his little butt all the way to orchestra because oh em gee mom, I was soooo excited!
You know when you're driving home from work and you get distracted in your head, and then you realize you missed your exit? Yeah, my son has orchestra 4th period, not 3rd.
So he hauled his little butt all the way from downstairs where orchestra is to upstairs where science is and kept getting stopped by hall monitors asking why he was running, so he made it to class two minutes after the bell rang. Because, you know, he was so excited TO TAKE A TEST.
And for that, he got one hour and 50 minutes of detention.
Now, I get it that the school has a tardy=detention policy, which, for the record, is absolutely ridiculous and total overkill and lazy educating, if you ask me. However, my concern with it is more that it is a no-exception rule. EVERY class tardy results in D-Hall, no matter why, no exceptions. Or so I was told by the jerk I had to talk to about this yesterday.
After I went into the school, asked to talk to someone, waited for 20 minutes, got told no one could talk to me, got blank-stared at until they realized I wasn't budging, was offered a phone call in an hour, went home, waited four hours for that phone call, was told that they didn't have time to talk about it but would send my son home and call me later, then called me after dinner, some man I've never met told me that I couldn't do anything about how *he* chose to discipline *my* son.
He was all, "Look, Mr Lady, I get your point that it was an honest mistake, but his actions have consequences and he has to accept them" and I was like, "So you think it's fine to punish him for wanting to take a test?" and he was like, "Yes" and I was like "And you think a two hour detention for a two minute tardy isn't over the top?" and he was all "It doesn't matter if they're five seconds late or five minutes late; a tardy is a tardy and gets DHall" and I said, "So what do we do when I refuse to make him serve this?" and he said, "Um...You can't."
So I said I would think about it and send a note in tomorrow.
But then I thought about it and decided that if I'm going to talk to someone about this, it isn't going to be Captain Brick Wall who forgets that *I* am the child's mother, and once that school bell rings, he has no legal authority over my kid. So I busted out the code of conduct, to find out the appeals process for disciplinary action. And guess what? THERE ISN'T ONE.
You can appeal your death row conviction in Texas, but you can't appeal D-Hall.
But I'm going to anyway. Part of me feels ridiculous, like I should just let him serve the detention and get it over with. All he'll do is sit there for two hours doing homework, and I'll be slightly inconvenienced by needing to go pick him up in rush hour traffic, but this could all be done with today. And if they guy I'd talked to had shown once ounce of willingness to listen to what I was saying, I probably would have gone that route. But if this guy is willing to talk to a parent the way he talked to me, I can't even imagine how he talks to 11 year old children.
So I went over his head.
I emailed the principal last night. The email is cut and pasted after the jump, in case you want to mock my skillz of a tiger mom.
Hello Mrs Principal,
My name is Mr Lady, and I am the parent of two School students. My son, 2of3 (grade 6), was assigned D-Hall yesterday for a tardy, and I do not agree with the d-hall assignment, nor do I intend to have him serve it. i spoke to Mr Jerk (who assigned it to him) and he seems unwilling to work with me on this, so I believe I will need to speak to you.
Background: 2of3 was testing up in orchestra yesterday, and was so excited to take the test that he ran straight from 2nd period to the class. Except, he has orchestra 4th period. His mistake? Absolutely. However, his mistake was in being excited TO TAKE A TEST, and if that makes him 2 minutes late to the class he ran to as soon as he realized his error...well, I just can't believe that we are punishing children for being excited to do better in school. Frankly, it's disgusting.
I have read the code of conduct backwards and forwards and I cannot find a way for parents to appeal a disciplinary action made by staff, but in this instance, I am going to request an appeal anyway. My son is an exemplary student who makes good grades, works very hard and is respectful to his teachers. He has had detention before for a reason that was totally his own fault, and I was happy to support the school's decision to have him serve d-hall at that time. This, however is simply not in the best interest of your student, and even though Mr Jerk made it clear that exceptions are not made, regardless of the reasons for tardies, I find that an unrealistic, inflexible mindset.
I am aware that I am coming off as "that mom" right now, but it is important for me to teach my children that they have the ability to argue that which they feel is unjust. I am teaching him right now how to 'argue" his grades, thereby taking a more active role in his own future, and I simply cannot let this slide. In the real world, which he will enter soon, there is letter of the law, and then there is intent of the law, and in this case, the reasons behind the actions were exactly what we need more of in our students.
I would appreciate it if you could take the time to phone me about this, or I can come into the school to discuss it. 2of3 is slated to make up the d-hall on Thursday, so I need this settled before then. My phone number is 713-867-5309 and I can be reached anytime.
Thank you for your time. I'm sure we can find a solution together.