I’ve decided to give it a shot.
Back in October, I wrote a post about how I was thinking of removing my son from public school and teaching him at home. In that post, I explained some of my reasons and said that I would give it until Christmas and then re-evaluate the situation.
Well, Christmas break is here, and I have decided to start homeschooling on January 5th, when school reconvenes. As previously stated, I work from home so I have the flexibility to manage it. Mike will help via the internet until he is able to to join us permanently.
Quite a lot has transpired since I first wrote about this. Not all of it was bad enough to qualify as any kind of deal breaker, but it certainly didn’t tip the scales in the school’s favor. I won’t bore you with everything that got under my skin, but I would like to talk about the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Apart from the rampant bullying, potential gang activity which no one at the school seems to know how to handle and the other problems I mentioned in my other post, many of the staff members seem incompetent and out of control.
Of course, there are some very good teachers there who have been just great and I mean no disrespect to them, but they can’t control or make up for what I see as abusive behavior from the others. Simply put, many of them just don’t seem to understand about appropriate boundaries, much less recognize when they’ve been crossed. Not surprising, though, considering the type of leadership they have.
As mentioned in my October post, the Principal announced that parents had better not call and “complain” to her about anything unless we were willing to help out by volunteering at the school. Yes, we should all leave (and possibly lose) the jobs that we get paid for to come and help them do what they get paid for. Otherwise, we’d better just keep quiet because we’re not bieng team players or something.
That aside, the final straw came this past Thursday. I received a call from the school informing me that my son had been given ISS (in-school suspension) for an entire week and would not be allowed to attend the school dance that afternoon. Why? Because he had been late to gym class that day.
I thought this was extremely harsh and disproportionate and I said so. The secretary explained that there are “just a whole bunch of kids who are constantly late” so they made an “administrative decision” (translation: knee-jerk response by the Principal) to lock the doors as soon as the bell rang. Anyone left outside would be dealt the same punishment regardless of how many times they’d been late because — get this — they don’t know which of them are chronically late, because they don’t record tardies. They don’t follow any sort of protocol for dealing with it at all.
So, because of their own haphazard administration, and finally getting fed up with the result of it, they decided this was how to handle it. But that’s not all.
My son was late that day because the teacher of his previous class had kept them after the bell. He had never been told anything about being late, didn’t know it had been a problem, and didn’t see this coming at all. When the students who had been locked out were taken to a secluded area, the Principal shouted out them, “You have pissed me off! And you don’t want to piss me off!”
Now, I’m no prude when it comes to language, but this is a school Principal addressing students, for crying out loud! This whole ordeal demonstrates poor leadership abilities, lack of professionalism and plain old bad judgment.
I will not go along with this extremely harsh and disproportionate measure. And I will not frustrate myself by attempting to reason with a woman who has consistently displayed irrational thought and behavior. So I contacted Pupil Services to inquire about my options for a transfer to a different middle school.
The only option available to me at this point in the school year is an “administrative transfer” which is based on “evidence that either a safety/emergency and/or a medical condition exists which hampers a student’s educational success”. I thought I could make a good argument for it being a safety issue because of the bullying and a few other things, so I asked to have the forms sent.
Well, guess who has to sign off on an administrative transfer? The Principal who we’re trying to get away from and avoid dealing with. Catch-22 anyone?
Yes, after I submit the request along with “substantiating documents”, it will be reviewed by Principals at both campuses. I will then be called for conferences at both schools. Following that, the Principals will contact Pupil Services to confirm the conferences and offer their opinions. Pupil Services will then make a final determination and contact me in writing with their decision. Meanwhile, my son is to remain enrolled and in attendance.
I don’t think so.
Is it just me, or is something inherently wrong with expecting a child to remain in attendance pending a transfer request based on a safety/emergency or medical condition?
Besides that, I’ve had it. They don’t own me or my child and I’m tired of having to comply with their ridiculous demands while also having to tolerate their irrational behavior. I’m not putting myself through this process or forcing my son to go back to a place that we both feel is unsafe, where the person in charge behaves no better than some of the students I don’t want my son associating with.
I am sending a letter of withdrawal, and will begin homeschooling on January 5th. As of now, this is a temporary arrangement; I am also planning to move to an area where he can attend a different school without having to jump through a bunch of flaming hoops.
I’ve done a lot of homework on this and still have a lot to do. I am currently working on putting together a curriculum, some of which will be internet-based. I have a lot of ideas that I think are very good. I’m getting excited and will write more about it as I’m working it all out.
I’m sure you’ll be reading more about this in the days and weeks to come. Any suggestions or feedback you may have will be greatly appreciated.