Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back-to-School Night/Parental Responsibility


Tonight is Back-to-School Night at the Senior High, so I will be following Number One Son's Wednesday class schedule. He has a full schedule this year, no study halls, as he was offered an internship to help produce the new Township Cable channel set to make its debut in December, that takes up 10 class periods per week. The school is allowing him to skip all gym and health classes for the year for the internship, which is quite a coup.

I've been thinking about parental responsibility this week, because of the school shooting in Ohio, and the local incident in Plymouth Whitemarsh. I thought I'd share a story related to my last year's Back-to-School night. This is nowhere near as serious as school shootings, but it explains how I feel about parental responsibility.

Last year, I went to his first period English class. Since I was the first parent to arrive, I had the chance to introduce myself to his teacher. So, after the introduction, his teacher says "So how is Steve feeling?" I sort of gave her a blank look, and she said "He hasn't been in class for the last two days, I assumed he was sick". When I said No, he wasn't sick, she said 'Oh, come to think of it, his friend Ben has also been out." I thanked her for mentioning it and began plotting my wrath.

Second period - Latin. I introduced myself and again heard "how is Steve feeling?". I indicated he was not out sick and I had been unaware that he was out. After that class, I went outside to leave a voicemail on his friend Ben's parents line. I wanted to make sure they were aware of what the boys were up to, excuse my grammar. I also called my son on his cell, and instructed him to get home forthwith and that he had to be there when I got home. After the fourth class, I was so mad that I just left.

In addition to being grounded for two weeks, a week for each day he missed, the next day I called the principal's office to let them know that he had cut school for two days. There was no way he was getting away with this. He ended up with 20 detentions during his lunch period, which amounted to a full month of no downtime at lunch. Poor You.

Bottom line, his only responsibility last year was to go to school and do well. What really got me, is that they picked the week of Back-to-School Night to do it. How dumb could they be? I guess they thought it wouldn't come up? Who knows? I monitored his attendence the remainder of the year, which is easy since it is all online.

I think the one thing that bothered me the most is that his friend's parents never called me back to say Thanks for letting us know. I'd like to think that I've always appreciated both positive and negative feedback about my kids.

Here's hoping for an uneventful Back-to-School night tonight!

8 comments:

barista grazioso said...

I think it's fantastic that you took the hard line with your son. I've had to do the same thing with my daughters, and have no doubt the occassion will rise up and bite them in the ass again in the future. You're a good parent.

Mrs Grim said...

Isn't it funny, when you have a baby no one ever tells you it is the hardest job you will ever have. There are so many times when I second-guessed my decisions when I was a single parent. You just have to hope that you are doing the right thing.

RT said...

THANK YOU! As a high school teacher, I run into very involved and helpful parents and parents who expect me to raise their children.

Funny thing is my first reaction was, "Geez, that's really early in the year to be cutting two days in a row."

I'm glad his teachers decided to ask how we was doing. I try to speak to parents at back-to-school night about good things and that must have been awkward for his teachers.

My b-s-n was last Thursday. We've had parents flat-out try to pick arguments with teachers and yell at teachers because they don't like something about the class. It can be a very stressful night.

Mrs Grim said...

RT - It turned out that one of their friends from a private school had the week off last year for college visits, so they just decided to hang out and work on their movie for two days. They didn't get caught the first day, so I guess they figured why not make it two. Not very bright, which is funny because these are smart kids.

There was an argumentative parent in the last period last night, who was angry because she felt her daughter was being shortchanged because some of the kids in her classes were talkers and she didn't want her daughter penalized for it. The school does a Citizenship Grade in each class, and if the kid's behavior is below par for any reason, they lose citizenship points. The teacher finally said he would talk to her after the session if she wanted, because she wasn't allowing him to address the few parents that were there, in the short time he had. But she aggravated everyone that was there, and wasted our time.

Loving Annie said...

I used to forge notes from my mom saying I had a dentist or doctor's appointment. Strange that I looked to be in such excellent health when I was, uh, 'sick' once or twice a week.... and must hae had at least 200 teeth - all with cavities...

Your son deserved to be busted... I'm surprised the other parents didn't call and say thank you as well...

Mrs Grim said...

LA - yes, I think we've all done those things. I had a friend who worked in the Discipline office in high school, who used to forge excuse notes to get me out of 8th period, by saying I had to go to Guidance. My teacher must have thought I had major problems that year!

Christine said...

Ummmm wow.
When my son get caught, I wrote him a few notes to cover his butt. Maybe that is why he is prison now?

Mrs Grim said...

Christine - Ha! I don't know if my squealing on him will keep him out of prison, either.