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Parenting Classes

I have a friend in Louisiana.  Let's call her Mrs. Friend because I'm creative like that.  Her daughter, despite being dropped off at the entryway at least 20 minutes before the start of school each day, has been marked as tardy four times this school year.

In Mrs. Friend's school district, it's a $50 fine and MANDATORY parenting classes if Little Friend is tardy more than FIVE times in a given school year.  The school year isn't even halfway over yet.  Mrs. Friend is upset and angry. 

I should imagine that if the school building is open that someone should be there to tell Little Friend and others to get to class.  I have a lot of problems with our local elementary, but I will say that at arrival and dismissal times, there is a teacher or aide stationed at about every corner to ensure that children don't get lost and/or to avert whatever potential problems might arise when 600-odd children under 12 might be congregating.  If no one is at least reasonably watching that children are safe and where they need to be, what is happening to them?  How do we know that they are safe after we drop them off?

I'm upset for my friend.  Maybe something should have been done/brought to her attention way before.  Maybe there needs to be a change in dropoff procedures, or bla bla whatever.  But calling a kindergartener HABITUALLY TARDY, and slapping parents with a $50 fine and mandatory parenting classes?  Parenting classes??? Isn't that just going to take valuable class space away from oh, I dunno, people who beat and starve their kids or something?

Am I just hyper-freaking about too much governmental control into parenting and family life because I'm a homeschooler and I can afford to scream about it?  Is this just a normal "natural consequence" of tardiness in your district?  Suspension might be in mine after a point.  But that's usually an upper-grade thing and I've never heard of such a thing at the elementary level. I suppose it's possible; I just have never heard of such a thing before.

Naturally, I side with my friend and think she is being treated unfairly.  But perhaps this is not an unusual circumstance, and I'd like to hear what my blog friends think.


  1. I would so not pay that fine. (I wonder if that's even legally enforceable?) I mean, if I sent my kids to public school, I would already pay for the child to be educated, the uniform a lot of schools now require, all the supplies parents now have to provide, etc. I would not agree to be essentially taxed again without my approval. Taxes (including taxes disguised as fees) should only be levied with the approval of those paying them.

    I'd be marching into that principal's office and giving someone a piece of my mind!

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  3. My kids went to school in Louisanna. That was a bust. ... and they can sooooo kiss it. I would not pay the fine.... or attend class. Use the money to hire a lawyer.

    I would demand money from the school for not minding the child I dropped off 20 minutes early.

  4. Daja, I think it is legally enforceable because it is not through the school but social services? I'm not very clear on it but social workers apparently DO show up at your door if you're not careful. Also, I hear from others that schools can call you to pick up your kid when she's sick, but if you don't take her to the doctor it's an unexcused absence.

    I'm thinking someone with some deep pockets needs to hire a lawyer. Don't you wish there were an HSLDA for public-schoolers? What would our schools look like if we had a bulldog like that working for the kids?

    Andrea, I was just thinking from a safety perspective the same thing. Like... where is the kid? Do you not know? Once she enters the building, she's your responsibility. This isn't some high-schooler sneaking off and being a pain. This kid could have gotten hurt. :(

  5. I think the mum needs to make an appointment to discuss this with the principal. She drops the child off in plenty of time, so the child being late for class is not her fault. Also, like the others said, who is looking after the child during those twenty minutes? Surely the kid doesn't just roam empty halls?

  6. I wouldn't pay a single red cent. I would be calling every television station within a 200 mile radius and having them interview me AND my child. Who on earth knows what this child is doing and where they are? If they don't know where this kid is, do they know who is in the building?? No kidding- a Syracuse school had a man walk in the building, go to a bathroom and hide last spring until a child came in and he molested them. I'd be right after the school because as a parent, I am doing my job dropping my kid off early, but I'd also walk them in the bulding and to a classroom from here on out.

  7. I think it is negligent of the mother to drop her daughter off 20 minutes early. You shouldn't leave a 5 year old unsupervised that long. who is watching her? It's not the school's responsibility to babysit her for 20 minutes (or longer).

    I still walk my daughter to the door of her classroom, though she is now in second grade. I make sure the teacher is in the room. Sometimes I come in, greet the teacher, walk around and see what the class has been up to. I never leave my child (certainly I don't "drop her" at the entryway) until I am sure there is an adult to supervise her.

    That mother needs to take better care of her child.

  8. You're schools are weird. Your dept., policies are weirder. I'd be withdrawing my kid. Who are they to say anything when they obviously don't know anything about the situation. You are definitely being over~controlled by your govt! Seriously.

    Here, kids are meant to be dropped off about 20 minutes before the bell goes for first class. They are meant to be organising their stuff for the day's work & running round the playground like maniacs to burn some energy before they have to sit still for class. Very few parents would dream of walking a child to their classroom after their first week at school.

    Ok, on the whole I think our primary schools are waaaay smaller & more child friendly & certainly in my community there are very few strangers but parenting classes because a kindergartener is late to class? Those people need to get a life & leave the rest of us alone!


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