Frustrated in Florida

Hi Readers — A quickie note from the front lines of insanity. L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I just had to shoot you a quick email in order to vent my frustration.  My son stayed after school today to re-take a test.  I told him to call when he was done and his dad would pick him up.  So he called, and I told him to wait outside.  He said, “I’m in the library.”  I said, “Wait outside so your dad won’t have to look for you.” His response?  “They won’t let me.”

I should tell you that this is a high school.  My son is 15.  I just don’t get this at all.  In less than a year he’ll be able to drive to school, but he’s too young to wait right in front?  What planet am I on? — A Reader

The one that can’t tell the difference between a 2-year-old and a teen. But you knew that. — L.

82 Responses

  1. * facepalm *

    Words fail me…….

  2. Now it’s an inconvenience, but what if your husband was disabled and this created a huge burden on him?

    maybe, parents with kids in these bureaucracy heavy schools could review as many policies that pertain to them as possible and opt out- print up waivers releasing the bureaucrats from liabliity. what a pain.

  3. As a former Floridian and I can tell you…well nothing but I’m just saying, sorry you’re in Florida. That states adds an extra dollop of unreasonable to every action.

  4. Okay perhaps a silly question…but aren’t there kids who walk home from school? What do kids do after after-school activities?

    Is there some other reason not to allow the kids to be outside after school hours (gang issues in the school, bad neighborhood)?

    In my high school in Atlanta (private) we all came and went as we liked. The only thing that needed a waiver was “off property lunch.” And the purpose of that was more to give parents control over that privilege (be able to say if your grades don’t stay up you lose off-campus privileges) and not to do with our safety. My husband’s high school in downtown Chicago (private, Catholic) was similar.

    I’m frustrated for you. I hope that something can be done to rectify that policy, it would seem time and energy could be spent enforcing something else. Head…bang…wall.

  5. I found this problem, even when I was young.

    The usual reason given at that time was that they were legally responsible for the student until they left the school yard.

    If the child left before the parent arrived, the parent usually took the school staff to task over it. So, it’s an old policy of keeping the student in one place so the parent can find them, and the student was supervised by staff until the parent turned up, so the student didn’t get themselves in any mischeif while waiting.

  6. Good grief!! We homeschool, but my kids take PE and Music in the local schools from 1st grade on. At whatever age *I* tell them to start meeting me outside, usually around 3rd grade, they do. The school staff has never said ANYTHING.

  7. Perhaps the school offers a security guard to it’s student drivers? Or at the very least a tactical training class to teach students how to ward off the boogy man?

  8. This is totally bizarre. He could walk home, he could walk to a 16+ year old friend or relative’s car if he was leaving at normal dismissal, but he can’t stand outside by himself after hours?

    At first I thought that maybe it was really cold (not that that justifies it for a 15 year old, but would give it at least a shred of logic.) In really cold weather, my HS kids stand inside the doors and watch for me when I come to pick them up after hours. But no, it’s Florida.

    And we know it’s never dark within an hour or two after dismissal in Florida, like it can be here in December.

  9. Wait — Mompetition said the original writer’s from Florida. But it doesn’t say that anywhere. Now I’m confused.

  10. Wow. I’m so pleased that my kids school dosen’t have anything like that. Last year, my eldest was in first grade, and I couldn’t come and pick her up every day, so she (shock horror!) came home, herself, by bus. Even when I can and do pick her up (it’s more convenient for me), she walks to the main road and meets me there. From first grade. What sort of school can’t trust a 15-year old to stand outside the gate?!

  11. Um, okay, I’m dumb. The title of the post says so. (Slinks away.)

  12. a friend posted a similar frustration on Facebook a few days ago. over 50 comments later, we deduced that parents now have to teach kids how to “cheat” the system, ie sneak aspirin in the bathroom for headaches, and chew hard candy instead of Ricola for a minor cough. in this case, maybe tell the kid to *say* he’s going to use the bathroom, but actually just walk out the front door to his waiting parent. kids figure out how to lie and cheat well enough without parents actually teaching and encouraging it. how are we supposed to raise moral, law-abiding kids?

  13. Maybe they’re trying to discourage loitering right outside because then they’re responsible for any fights/drug deals or whatever that happen on school grounds?

    Stupid in any case.

  14. WOW that’s crazy! At our local high school…..they let the kids wait outside (I”m in Massachusetts for the record). Even if they are going home sick…the school nurse calls – the parent says they are on the way and the kid waits outside in “the pit” area for the parent.

    I can see elementary school maybe…just based on liability but high school? REALLY? Crazy!

  15. The other piece of this is that this reinforces the notion that parents are here to serve the children. Rather than kids waiting for the parents to pick them up, dad has to park, go in, wait for junior to finish homework, pack his bookbag, say good bye to his friends, etc.

  16. It’s dangerous outside. You better buy this to your son:

  17. It’s not a Florida thing; it’s just an unreasonable thing, probably one of those unintended consequences of something that seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Our children’s high school (also in Florida) had similarly unreasonable rules, including one under which one of them was barred from studying in the library during a time she had no class. What worked for us is that the top administrators (and some conspiratorial teachers) were much more reasonable than the rules, and had the will to use common sense with students who had a proven track record of good behavior. Sometimes they provided official passes; sometimes we wrote notes — on official home stationery🙂 — authorizing our children to do one thing or another. We didn’t always get what we wanted, but you’d be surprised how far you can often get by combining a respectful attitude towards the administrators with a healthy disrespect for stupid rules.

  18. In NYC students aren’t allowed to loiter outside of school. Period. Once the day ends the security guards (sorry, school safety officers) go out to make sure nobody is standing on the sidewalk in front of the school.

    They just think it looks bad, I suspect. It may be much the same thing – nothing about how safe the students are, but how the school looks from the outside.

  19. It’s funny, because I was one of the few “walkers” in my school, and somehow that meant I was safe going anywhere and everywhere alone (beginning in KG, age 4. They even let my sister walk alone to her babysitter’s after preschool – at age 3.) But the older kid sitting next to me was apparently not safe alone outdoors.

    Well, to some extent that might be true – my parents taught me how to get home and what to do if the unexpected happened. Not all parents do that, assuming the unexpected won’t happen if their kid is kept from responsibility longer. Unlike them, I was rarely scared as a kid, despite all my unscheduled adventures.

    This is one thing I know is going to bug me when my kids get older. Being told that my kid is not old enough to do stuff I did when I was far younger. Being told that it’s not my right as a parent to decide that.

  20. Tell them he’s “meeting his dad somewhere.” This is technically correct, though not 100% honest in spirit, if where he’s “meeting” him is right outside the door. Since presumably kids at that age are allowed to find their own ways home, there’s no way they can object — they just seem to feel the need to keep control of him while he’s on school property.

    Uly may have the right of it here. If they had any sense, the school officials would understand that a kid who had already called his dad and was waiting for him was not creating a slippery slope to just letting kids hang around the building. But like zero tolerance, inflexible rules are just easier for the people who have to enforce them, harder for everyone else.

  21. For a high school student? Utterly ridiculous!

  22. Not sure if this is good advice, but I was the type of 15 year old who would have pushed this rule by getting up and daring them to restrain me. If they’re responsible for your son until he leaves the schoolyard, then they’re free to escort him off the property. They can even wait with him outside if they want. It is after all, a free country (we are told).

  23. Lenore, your response was perfect insomuch that it was short yet said absolutely everything.

    And yet I wonder Lenore–was that really what you were going for, or was it a case of “don’t get me started”–to wit, so frustrated were you at the insanity on display, you had to be brief to keep from having a 5 paragraph diatribe on how freaked-out things are getting in this regard?

    Dang, what in the world is it going to be like 10-15 years from now as my 2 & 4 year-olds (approximately) get to school age?

    Good grief.

    LRH

  24. I have a child with a chronic health issue and her private school will allow me to give permission on the phone for her to walk home (it’s only a few blocks) if she is not well. This started in 8th grade.

    Contrast this to her short stint in a public high school where an attendance clerk hassled my husband when he came to pick her up from the school. She also said she didn’t know the staff member who gave permission for her to leave.

  25. Luckily, our local schools don’t practice this.

    But I think, in all this, we can’t forget that it’s stupid lawsuits that schools are afraid of. We can blame the school, sure, (because this kind of crap is stupid) but we have to remember that if it weren’t for “opportunistic” and punitive parents, the schools would be less afraid in the first place.

    All through college of ed (and more than once in my years teaching alternative ed) I was reminded that the BIGGEST issue facing schools is… lawsuits. Sad, but true.

  26. “But I think, in all this, we can’t forget that it’s stupid lawsuits that schools are afraid of. We can blame the school, sure, (because this kind of crap is stupid) but we have to remember that if it weren’t for “opportunistic” and punitive parents, the schools would be less afraid in the first place. ”

    I don’t completely disagree, but at some point, we should be able to lay the responsibility on the school for going beyond what is even a reasonable fear of a lawsuit, into the realms of overactive imaginations about what situations could come up. School officials are still adults who should be given the expectation of rational thought, to the point where it’s *entirely* their fault if some irrational fear prevents them from allowing a 15 year old kid whose parent is *on the way* from stepping outside the door. They may excused for being fearful because of lawsuits, but even then, I will cut them slack only to the point where their fears are somewhere in the realm of reality.

  27. Another case of school stupidity. My son, who is an honor student, was suspended–yes, SUSPENDED–for practicing basketball in the gym after school.

  28. As a free willed child I would never have listened to such nonsense! I would have been out the door in a minute. But I worry about my own children who are 9 and 14, they have been completely brainwashed into thinking they have to follow all the rules. Children need to be taught to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. It should start when they are very young. I worry about my 14 year old son, who in a few short years will find himself in College and have no ability to think and make decisions on his own.

  29. I’d be interested to know if the school’s refusal to let him wait outside comes from a stance of proper supervision, liability against potential injury, or if they don’t like students loitering outside the school.

    My money is on liability.

  30. Kind of crazy, but in a house of five kids and going to a different elementary school than all of my siblings, if I had an after-school activity, I usually didn’t get a ride home. Even in the winter, I almost always walked the two miles home by myself, and if I forgot my key (which was almost always) and no one was home, I knew which neighbors I could stay with until my mom got home. Not once, even as young as 2nd or 3rd grade, did anyone ever question me, let alone try to keep me until my mom showed up. It would have been a long wait for both of us if that had happened.

  31. AAARGH! I was in high school twenty years ago. I have no memories of either of my parents picking me up or dropping me off at school even ONCE! Hell, I remember a couple times when I left school early because I was sick, and I still walked home.

  32. WOW.

    Next time perhaps the student should wait for his dad outside the nearest coffee shop…

  33. We had to write our kids a note (a Common Sense Pass) that they were permitted by their parents to use their own judgement. The teacher in charge of getting the walkers (my kids) onto the school sidewalk was telling them they had to stay on the sidewalk. The sidewalk was iced over one day and flooded the next. They asked if they could walk in the street. She said “No, you have to walk on the sidewalk”. They spent the day with soaking wet shoes.
    They were told the street is too dangerous (it’s narrow and two cars barely can pass) for them to walk in, but apparently solid ice is not. Another case of Common Sense Disorder.

  34. Those school officials are IDIOTS. They make Ralph from the ‘Simpsons’ look like a genius. Again, it’s all about them and not the kid. A possibility of liability makes them fear for themselves so they come up with illogical and paranoid solutions, just to cover their ass. Which would understandable. Considering all the idiot parents out there that like to sue anyone and everyone they possibly can. Which all leads to one thing, it’s all about THEM, not the kids. And it’s disgusting that they use their kids as an excuse for their own selfish fearful actions.

    I just wish that posts like this included an email address to the offending party. So that we can all chime in and show them how many people think their policy is idiotic. Of course, they would also have to provide the whole story and not just their side.

  35. I’m just wondering though, at 15, and the parents have no issue with it, what would’ve happened if the kid didn’t listen to the teacher(s) and just waited outside for his dad, as his mother instructed him to?

    The school can force him to stay in, but wouldn’t that be forcible confinement, almost like kidnapping? Suspend him for doing as his parents instructed him to? Make him stay later for detention? 15, the kid is 15. Why is he being treated like a 6 year old waiting for his parent(s).

  36. I am not sure why schools think they know our children and their abilities better than the parents. I am the mother of an 8 year old girl, who is funny and bright, and happens to read at a high school level.

    I wanted to take her on a family vacation to Disneyworld this year, around her birthday (May 2). The rates for travel are are some of the lowest at that time, and it can double as a wonderful birthday gift.

    However, according to her school, I am not allowed to let her miss school days for this trip. Her absence will be marked unexcused, and I will be reported to the courts for allowing her truancy. It doesn’t matter if she completes her homework before the trip, or if she does extra credit.

    Absences are allowed for illness or doctor appointments only. No family vactions, no FFA or 4-H activities, no “needed at home” or “needed to work at home”, no time off during hunting season or basically any other interesting, fun, EDUCATIONAL activity you can imagine.

    I firmly believe there is as much or more education to be had outside the classroom than inside of it. We live in a rural community, and there may be times that children are actually needed on their family farms, or for other unforseen family events. Hunting, while not everyone’s cup of tea, is an adventure that is often shared within the family group, and is usually ‘awarded’ to a child who is deemed responsible enough for the priveledge.

    The school argues that my child will miss out on valuable learning time if she is not present every single day. I argue she is completing her work at or above grade level in every course…And as her mother, I am the one who should ultimately determine how to raise her…and if I want to take her on a trip, that is my business.

    I am a bit of a free spirit, and want to show my daughter how big and amazing the world is…However, my finances demand I do this on a budget…Traveling at premium times during holiday and summer vacations are much harder for me to pull off, and I also hate travelling with all the other crowds of people, and why do I even feel the need to justify my opinion???

    The fact that can have legal consequences completely floored me. What on earth is a parent to do? If I could afford it, I would homeschool my daughter in a heartbeat…at least I could raise her to my dictates, and not by committee-Me, the teachers, and the school board!

  37. And also, I suppose now any helicopter parents that read my previous post will chastise me for posting on the internet that I plan to take my daughter to Disney World on May 2nd….I have alerted possible predators, and they wll be combing the streets of Orlando for us now!

  38. Micki – I would guess that they are threatening you because the school gets reimbursed on a per diem basis for each student day.

    In my district, if a student misses a day, the parents get a letter informing them of the absence and giving them the ‘opportunity’ to take care of the short fall in funding that the absence created. I’m not angry at that, but it is sort of amusing.

  39. Prisoners MUST be escorted out of the prison.

  40. @Micki – sounds like you child would benefit from becoming a Homeschooler/Unschooler.

    We go away twice a year, including a month in Europe each May.

  41. Micki, I’m assuming by “can’t afford to homeschool” you mean you need to work outside the home. Because you can effectively homeschool an elementary school child for a very few hundred dollars a year, and when you consider a lot of school related “junk” you don’t have to spend money on, it comes out to less than that. In some states such as mine, the school district is even legally obligated to provide you curriculum materials at no charge should you choose to use the ones they provide.

    So I don’t mean to pile on, but unless lost income is a real concern (which it might be), elementary school homeschooling is easily within the reach of people who can afford to go to Disneyworld (even at discounted fares.)🙂

  42. Wow, that’s one lump short of a fruit cake…

  43. That’s funny, BrianJ. In my niece’s school the teachers (apparently) were told they weren’t supposed to inform us that this is the reason one absence is SUCH A BIG DEAL. I know this because I asked outright.

    And yet, yesterday I had to drag both nieces out of school and to the doctor because one of them had been rubbing her eye. Guess what? It wasn’t actually pinkeye.

  44. Unexplained absence:

    Just tell them you thought you might have seen a lice egg.

  45. Micki – Assuming that you are not planning to go to Disneyland for a month, take your kid and when you return write a note saying that she was home sick with the flu. When asked about a doctor’s note tell them that you don’t take your kid to the doctor for the flu since there’s not a damn thing a doctor can do for it. Somehow, I don’t think that the school is going to go out of it’s way to subpoena hotel records to prove that your child was really in Disneyland and not home sick.

    I was a kid who never once came close to perfect attendance for a year but was almost never sick. My mother took me out of school for all sorts of fun things and then would write a note saying I was sick. Nobody ever questioned a parent saying that their child was sick. If they did call my mother and ask about the note, my mother simply confirmed that she wrote the note.

  46. Regarding School Liability Fears —

    Several comments here have mentioned liability fears as a reason for silliness in school rules.

    I’m tired of hearing about Schools fearing lawsuits from parents, while never once have I heard of a school going on the offensive and initiating a lawsuit against a parent for something small and win-able… something that would shock parents into realizing they must do something to prepare their kids for school. (like making sure a child goes to bed at a reasonable time “if” he consistently falls asleep in class.)

    If a few lawsuits of this kind were initiated by several school systems and won, perhaps schools could get back to focusing on sane behavior and education.

    Schools send students the wrong message when they bend over backwards to keep them in school. Most businesses will not tolerate what schools do. The fact is, the cure for physical and mental poverty is Education, not money. And if a certain population rejects the cure, that’s their problem. However, because of political correctness, I doubt if schools are presenting this message to their pupils.

  47. Hmmm. I wonder–since this was a test-taking situation, was there concern that a student who finished quickly might leave, look up answers, and text his fellow students? Thus the nit-picking about having a parent pick up? I know at the schools here (middle school, high school and college) the advent of smart phones, texting, etc has caused schools to have to implement a whole new layer of security where any kind of major exam or standardized test is involved.

  48. There is a reason Fark.com has a “Florida” category and people from Florida are affectionately called “Floridiots” LOL

  49. @pentamom, you are absolutely right, education is a lot more affordable than people believe…usually hitting the library or going out to explore the answer for ourselves is sufficient.

    But although I have custody of my daughter, my ex believes there is one right way to raise a child..His way. 🙂

    He just drug me to court over a multitude of offenses, like unbrushed hair and the occasional junky breakfast. He tends to worry overmuch about her safety and happiness (as though I should be both security detail and constant playmate/cheerleader) I can’t afford the lawyer bills that I would incur if I removed her from school and homeschooled. So I encourage as much independence for her as I can in other ways.

    When the time comes to take a family vacation, I may be direct and truthful about her absence. I loathe the idea of lying so that I can have my way. It seems that skulking around trying to raise our kids in our own way, in secret, just smacks of both shame and oppression.

    I think it is time for parents like us to be heard in this neck of the woods. 🙂

    LOVE this blog, LOVE this blog. It reminds me I am not alone.

  50. Ah, Mickie…
    You make too much sense for that system – that’s the point.
    It has been narrowed and dumbed down to the infinitely lowest common denomenator, and they are losing a rather tragic battle…
    They may as well just apologize now and get it off their chest that they haven’t the foggiest notion how to combat the evils they fear (including their own real or imagined liabilities.)
    Kids, like everything else of real or imagined value, have become commodified in our unfair society – and corporate law rules the roost (breaks a lotta eggs too.)

    I’m a librarian, and I must hereby stand, salute, cheer and wave some kinda flag – that you figured out how to raise an 8 year-old to read at high school level.
    wow.
    That’s something.
    (she’ll tear academic bureaucracies to shreds, one day.)
    You go girl.

  51. WTF?!

  52. Mickie – The refusal to allow parents to just remove kids from school for vacation is not new. I grew up in the 70’s and at a very free range time. Schools still had policies involving excused and excused absences with the only excused absences being for illness, appointments, family emergencies, and the similar. A trip to Disneyland wasn’t considered an excused absence in 1975 and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s not an excused absence now.

  53. Ah, Micki, I’m very sorry to hear about your situation, and I admire your dedication and your convictions. I hope it came across that I realized I didn’t know enough about your situation to “lecture,” I just wanted to give you some information in case you were unaware or had a wrong impression. As a homeschooler myself, I do so dislike homeschoolers who believe that they have a one size fits all solution to everyone’s problems, and try hard not to come across that way.

  54. The excused absence thing is interesting. At the previous school that my daughter attended (we now home school) taking a trip was NOT allowed, with all the stuff that Micki mentioned as reasons why not, including being reported truant. (State law says three unexcused absences is truant.)

    But the school did hold a fund raising auction every year. A group of friends of ours “won” the trip to Hawaii, and took off 8 days of school to in October so that they could take the 4 kids between the families with them. Guess what? It was an “excused absence”! So that tells me, throw a bunch of money at the school, and you are free to make your own rules.

    When I was a kid in the 70’s, there were a number of kids that took time off each winter and went to Florida. They just took their work with them.

  55. BrianJ-I am a teacher and I can’t believe a school district would waste the money to send you a ridiculous letter informing you that an absence costs them money. Not true. Unless of course it was “count day”, when the school’s pupil count does determine the amount of funding a district receives. However, students are absent that day-we just need to document that they were present in our classes over a longer period of time. Sounds as if your district is totally draconian over absences.
    While it is important for students to be present, I have had students gone anywhere from 2-5 days on vacation, get the assignment/notes from me beforehand and function perfectly well when they return. It’s the D/F students who get pulled out on vacation that either: never ask for the work, ask and then don’t even try any of it, or get back and decide not to make up the work and get farther behind. You as a parent need to know your child and what workload they can handle, and are they the type that are capable of learning basically on their own with someone (parent, teacher when they get back) to help a little. While I don’t like it when my kids are gone for vacations, it’s not my business to judge the parent for taking them.

  56. Well…in my little town, bright Asian students get excused all the time to accompany family back to the old country, at times – for extended visits.
    Anyhow, I’m in fundamental agreement with Mickie’s point of view: that bright kids have a lot to learn out there in the real world, and should be encouraged to do so. I live and work right in the heart of academia, yet academia does not own my brain, nor my curiosity and appetite for leaned information.
    I recall in grade 5, on days when I didn’t feel like facing school, I used to hike off instead to Eloy’s farm and work, and learn about agriculture – straight from the horse’s mouth. It didn’t affect my grades any, which is probably why I got away with it.
    That year I was a ferocious bookworm (learning was never confined to classroom only.)
    Seems to me that in current times, parents who are a little ‘freewheeling” have a hard time with the system. Even parents who are straight arrows can have difficulties……..

    And finally – when I was 15 – anyone who tried to confine or control my mobility in any way whatsoever would have had hell to pay. There was absolutely nothing special about me. I was no James Dean. I was just a normal teenager. We were all like that. So they kept their rules soft, and huddled in flocks, and just let us be. We survived a hard world quite nicely, by being allowed to learn its rules by application, not theory.

  57. It does seem, that if they had some real security reason for not having the kids outside, that they should let the parents know that, and why they cannot keep the school safe enough for kids who are there after school.

    When I was 15, we lived a ways from school and had a really old and beat up station wagon. My step sister refused to be seen in it, and would make my mother drop her off a mile from school, as well as pick her up there. Otherwise, she took the school bus as my parents would not let us ride with friends. (The school did have a guard at the front of the lot who would check to see who was allowed.) Boy, that rule would have made her red faced! (The illogical thing was that everyone knew all the kids in the family were related, so her walking, really did nothing for her image.)

    And in some states I have been in, a kid can be legally driving at 14.5 (and probably had a shot gun in the back during hunting season.) Of course, they probably wouldn’t have worried about the kid walking out the school door.

  58. How about if you tell your son to walk out the front door, across the parking lot and to wait at the nearest street corner.

    with a rule that strict, I am surprised thay would even let your husband into the building to find the kid without 3 forms of ID and a previous background check.

  59. What is the world coming to?
    I just can not fathom this nonsense. When I was in high school, as long as it wasn’t school hours we could come and go as we pleased. The school was usually open until 5-6pm depending on after school activities and the front door was always unlocked. Kids that had to wait for a ride usually sat inside the doors (any of them, not just the front doors). I usually got picked up from the auditorium doors in the back because if I was getting out late it was because I stayed to practice my violin in the orchestra room which was down the hall from the auditorium.
    Mostly, though, I took the bus home. That would be the city bus which meant whenever I was done with whatever I was doing at the school (classes, after school stuff) I just walked down the block to the city bus stop where I would stand for 30 minutes usually. Sometimes I’d go across the street to the burger joint to get a shake (they were huge and only cost like $2.50 and came in 60+ flavors).
    Most of my friends took the bus. I was lucky to only need the one bus (took 40 minutes in traffic to get to my stop and then I had a 4 block walk home). Many of my friends had to transfer to 2 or 3 different buses on their trek back to the “hood”.

    It’s high school for crying out loud. Not nursery school. Seems many authorities can’t tell the difference any more.

    I fear for this country.

  60. In-laws who moved to FL a few years ago, affectionately refer to their new state as “Planet Florida.”

    Nuff said.

  61. I’m so frustrated right now, I can hardly come up with words to express it…and it wasn’t even my kid who was stuck in the school (or isn’t allowed to go to Disneyland)!

    The more I read FRK the more I consider home schooling. I’ve always thought it would be a good idea provided the parents weren’t trying to isolate their child from the evils of the world and were just trying to teach their children better and faster than public schools.

    My husband in currently in college and we can hardly believe the people coming to college straight out of high school. Are we really content to train up a bunch of morons?

    Sorry. I’ll just stop here except to say that if the work gets done and the child doesn’t fall behind, the parent ought to have the right to take the child wherever they want for as long as they want for whatever reason they want.

    Oh, and, here in Canada it seems a lot of schools have stopped grading students all together. Maybe if we graded kids, we could just let the grades speak for themselves.

    Ok, seriously this time, I’m stopping! Argh!

  62. This makes no sense. Schools let kids out all the time. I can only guess that this is beyond the normal school hours so the people in charge are taking the responsibility personally rather than following a rule.

  63. The school is probably worried that a student could freeze to death in those bitterly cold Florida winters.

  64. That’s ridiculous, being that picky about a 15 year old student.

    Micki, the schools here are the same about trips. My kids’ school sends home a notice at 4 absences noting that if you get to 10 absences they may schedule a meeting with the parents, school officials and the sheriff’s office. They also start requiring a doctor’s note for all absences at that point. There are more steps if things continue, but I only know about that part because my daughter hit 11 absences last year. They didn’t do the meeting, so I’m glad to say that just maybe they have a little sense about second graders and how much they get sick.

    Still, it was annoying when they sent me that notice over my kindergartner’s fourth absence. Kindergarten is not even legally required here in California, so if I get to that many absences, I’ll be telling them just where they can put it. Kindergartners get sick a lot, all those new germs!

  65. @pentamom– if the lawsuits were all reasonable, then I can see saying that the school officials be reasonable in their butt-covering. But we know too well on FRK that the lawsuits are rarely reasonable.

    Same reason there are stupid warning labels (don’t use toaster in the bath tub, don’t iron shirt while wearing, etc).

    I don’t agree with it, but I understand why schools (which are almost never flush with extra funds) would be very careful about putting themselves outhere for stupid lawsuits.

    Case in point– one of my local schools is now in a lawsuit because a student wore an offensive item to school. The teacher told him to leave, the student argued, the teacher raised his voice, and now the student’s parents are suing the school (and the teacher) for disrupting the student’s learning experience. This is not a reasonable lawsuit, IMHO.

  66. Micki, that actually sucks. I’m so sorry to hear that you don’t have an option you would’ve had. (Which isn’t criticizing people who don’t choose it, etc. etc. etc.)

  67. Micki,

    It’s all about money, and the only way the school gets it is if the student is in attendance. In my state the school use to get money for sick days, although even that’s ended do to budget.

    I know of single very low income mom’s homeschooling there children. You give up a lot but what you win in the end is amazing. Not to mention the freedom. Please if you want to homeschool figure it out. Use the Summer and breaks and find the homeschool meetings so you can meet people see if you can find another family or group of families who would help with “child care’ if part of the problem is you work.

  68. Duh!

    I used to stay after school and my Dad would pick me up later at a predetermined time. I waited by the school gates. No cellphones in those days, no phone at home either, he expected me to be there. if an emergency happened and he didn’t turn up then I always had enough spare change to catch a bus home.

    I did this from age 11 through 16. Come to think of it, I use to ride buses alone from about age 7 onwards.

  69. @pentamom, no offense taken at all! I love to hear other peoples opinions and experiences, it often gives me ideas and opens me up to new possibilities. I admire that you are able to homeschool your family, it must be a challenging and rewarding experience! With my munchkin, I am very fortunate, she is a sponge, always ready to learn, and so school doesn’t always stop with the end of the school day.

    Funny thing, she doesn’t even realize she is learning when we do our emperiments, or catch bugs, or google her questions. I just follow along where she leads, and try to point her towards the resources to find the answers.

    Parenting is the most fun job I ever had! And part of it is thanks to this blog and similar resources that helped me let go of the continual worry that ‘I was doing it wrong.’ Now I just figure if my kid seems well adjusted and is bright and well-behaved (mostly), I am probably doing all right. 🙂

  70. @socalledauthor, my point is that you can actually imagine someone trying to dry their cellphone in the microwave. In fact, you don’t have to “imagine” it — people ARE that stupid, and stupid enough to sue if they hurt themselves or damage something in doing it.

    I can’t imagine what could happen to a 15 year old kid standing outside for 10 minutes in the Florida sunshine at a school in a decent neighborhood at 4 o’clock *that couldn’t have happened to him at 3 o’clock.*

    Sensitivity to lawsuits based on the fact that people are both trigger-happy and stupid is understandable; stupid rules based on fears of lawsuits that could only occur in a world that doesn’t even exist is abdication of rationality and responsibility.

  71. […] here to see the original: Frustrated in Florida Ads By CbproAds Share and […]

  72. What if the kid had to take the city bus home (like I did in high school)? I guess that’s now the city’s problem, not the school’s.

    I’m getting more and more frightened of sending my children to school. I’ve always joked that I got a good education despite school, but at least we weren’t overwhelmed by silly rules *all* the time.

  73. @Jen Connelly: Heh. I was supposed to take the CTA bus, and I often used to WALK rather than waste my money on that. I think it was 3.5 miles to my house from school.

  74. This boggles the mind. My daughter’s school has a work out room, it and the gym are both open until the school is locked up. While you can’t get into the school from about an hour after classes are over, the kids that are already in the school are welcome to stay.

    The school isn’t locked by the janitors until they are done cleaning… about 7:30 at night! Nobody monitors anything except that the school is empty before it is locked for the night.

  75. @Dee

    Yes, well, I lived 40 blocks from school. A little too far to walk. I did once walk half way home in the freezing cold when my dad took off with the car on a day my mom was supposed to pick me up. I had given all my bus money away to friends at lunch, lol. I was so not prepared to walk home. It was 20F out and in a skirt with no hat or gloves and a not so very warm jacket.

    But, I didn’t particularly complain. It builds character.

    I actually got into a debate on another site with a woman who thought it was cruel for her neighbor to make her 2 boys walk to school when the windchill was 0F and there was snow on the ground (they were in kind. and 6th grades). All I could think of was 20 years ago that was considered character building and good exercise. Now most of the people responding considered it neglect and abuse since she had a car and could have driven them (it was just a few blocks). Sigh. God forbid anyone has to walk any more.

  76. Ridiculous. When I was on high school, it was fun to come to the high school afterhours when no school officials were there (there was probably a policy that took liability away from the school at that point, but that’s how it should be. My time, my choices, my consequences.). Even now at the high school the gate to the track is left open in case people of the community want to come run or something.

    I was also the little girl who read at a high school level. I got to go to Disneyland. No problems I recall. When I taught and kids went on a trip, I prepared a reasonable homework folder for them, including a writing assignment to tell me about the trip. That last one provided writing gems.

    I also had a student who lived four doors down from the school in a quiet neighborhood. The mother was incapable of rising from bed, and I soon refrained from marking the kid absent until noon. He was a brilliant child, but he wasn’t allowed to walk down the block to the school without the protection of his lazy mother.

    There was another student whose mother was visited by the cops on multiple occasions for not bringing her daughter to school. Why? She was a single mom who didn’t always have the time or energy to drop her daughter off. Never mind she was in a bussing area–buses were too dangerous, full of bullies. So to convenience mom and protect daughter, daughter was chronically absent. To top it off, mom blamed the school for daughter’s bad grades.

    So I’m saying there are worse situations of absenteeism than Disneyland.

  77. To get to high school, my mom dropped me off at the commuter rail station. I took the train to a bus, and a bus to school, going from the south side to downtown Chicago. I did this in all weather, often by myself, from the time I was a freshman. My school (a private college prep school that drew people from all over the Chicago area) could not have existed if students were not allowed to leave on their own. Most of us commuted – many of us had an hour or more on public transit. Somehow, we all lived.

  78. @Emiky, Well, hopefully my daughters school will also feel this way. Due to some conflicts in scheduling, instead of Disney World, we have decided to take a cruise, (my husband, 8 year old daughter, and I) to the Carribean next winter. Either early December or early February seem to have the best rates, so we will see how my daughter’s school reacts.

    But if they report me to the courts for having a truant child…I will fight to the bitter end on that one. 🙂

  79. I remember when they created an after school wait for your ride room at my high school in Jacksonville, FL. It was after a kid died waiting outside his school when some nutjob did a driveby shooting.

  80. When I was an editor for the state teacher certification exams used in Florida, the word “Florida” became a very bad word for those of us working on the tests. Stupidity, bureaucracy, lack of logic, errors errors everywhere that couldn’t be corrected because they’d already been approved by Florida’s state board of education, unreasonable deadlines, lack of clear communication, on and on the list went.

  81. “A trip to Disneyland wasn’t considered an excused absence in 1975 and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s not an excused absence now.”

    But at the same time, it’s not universal. Our public school district in PA does allow excused absences for “family travel.” It may not be a result of changing times that Micki’s district doesn’t allow it, but it’s not definitely not the case that not allowing kids time off for family travel is beyond the pale for public education in general.

    I think this was also the case in my PA school in the 70’s — there was an occasion where my parents didn’t want me to go on an overnight trip with my class for whatever reason, but thought it would be an absolute waste of time for me to sit there for two days doing nothing with the few other kids who weren’t going, so they said we were “going on a trip” to get me excused completely. I don’t even think we did go anywhere.

  82. […] handle recess in the cold (see this), or waiting outside the high school to be picked up (see this), or babysitting, even at age 14 (see this), and who can’t possibly handle sleepovers (see […]

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