So in my last post I talked of the idiotic rule my son was caught breaking at school. That blog was mostly a bitch session I posted on Facebook. Today I sent the school’s principal and vice principal an email voicing my annoyance and outrage. I also emailed the school district superintendent along with the district board members. I honesty think absolutely nothing will come out of this except a nice little email from some or all of the above. And when I say a nice email I really mean one that is the school district’s go-to “kiss our ass” reply. I’m totally convinced they have at least 7 of them on file for parents like me. (I have already received 2 over the years…one for each of my son’s older brothers.)
I will say, I grasp tightly to a shred of hope that I will totally wake someone in authority up and they will realize the stupidity of the district and the ticky-tacky little neighborhoods that fill the schools with their offspring. Yes, at one point I was one of them (resident and participant of one of the ticky-tacky little neighborhoods I spoke of).
But things change.
I would love to pull my children out of this district but that would only hurt them. It is truly a potentially wonderful place for them. However, for years I have been irritated, annoyed, pissed off, and stressed out over the constant battle for control and what I believe is bullying by a sad few in authority. I will not move my children…but by golly I’m going to write the hell out of it!
So to follow up to my last blog I am going to post the emails I sent to the school and school district. I WANTED to use all kinds of profanity and scare tactics but I’ve been told that’s not lady-like. And as we know…I am quite a lady.
To the District
I’m a parent in the CUSD. Last week I feel my son, Tristan Baker, a 5th grader at Maple Creek, was, in my opinion, treated unfairly. It is actually a minor issue to some. But, for me, it has set me over the edge and I cannot stay quiet and compliant as many think I should. I’m honestly fed up with some of the things going on within your district. For years I’ve watched and observed. I see a school district all dressed up in awards, championships, and money. These things easily distract the masses from what is really brewing beneath the surface of a perfect school district. Underneath it all I see entitlement (staff, students, parents), control, manipulation, as well as passive aggressiveness Rules are necessary and supported if they are there for the better of everyone. Unfortunately, the kids and parents are putting up with rules and philosophies that have more to do with making the schools and administrators look perfect and successful than with providing the absolute best education for the kids. I’m sure you are aware of these rules. I’m not the first to complain about the silliness and sexist rules regarding hair length for boys along with the dress code. Girls may have long hair over their ears, past their collar and even touching their eyebrows but my sons may not. How is this justified? My boys may not wear shorts past the proper dates, but their female classmates may wear skirts of the same length anytime of the school year. Is this really necessary or fair? So much time is wasted on keeping the students within these lines that so much good stuff is missed. I suggest teachers that feel compelled to turn in a student for violating these specific rules instead take the five minutes it takes to write them up and use it to build up the child. Talk with the kid. Listen to him or her. Show them that they matter just by being given the time. This little change could really make your district BE what it APPEARS.
I would love to see some changes. I don’t quite know how to get that done other than voice my opinion. An opinion that has been brewing for many years. I appreciate your time and attention. Attached is the email I sent to the principal at Maple Creek, and to the Maple Creek GIS. I believe it is self explanatory Please feel free to contact me with any feedback. I will take it with an open mind.
Janelle Allee Baker
To the school and attached to the district’s email above
I’m writing in regards to the “Early Violation” write up my son, Tristan Baker, received Friday, October 19, 2012. I am aware with the school policy is that there are no children allowed on campus prior to 7:55 a.m. This is understandable. The school district is not there to baby-sit. I believe the rule was implemented because of a need.
But here is where I have a problem. My son’s warning note was written up that he violated school policy by being there one minute early. The document was written at 7:54 a.m. Tristan was driven to school by another parent he carpools with. The boys were dropped off and had taken their backpacks to their classrooms and were heading out to the blacktop to play. From what I hear, my son was “caught” on campus at 7:54 by Mr. B and sent to the office to receive his written warning home. Tristan wasn’t doing anything but behaving and beginning another ordinary day at school. He wasn’t running. He wasn’t hollering. He wasn’t fiddling around. BUT, he was ONE MINUTE early.
My son spent quite a while in the office waiting to have his violation filled out. He missed out on running around, like a little boys should, before class. From what I understand, he was almost late to class because of this.
I’ve explained pretty much what has happened at your school. But let me explain how it appears on this side of the fence. Please note, this is only my opinion as Tristan’s mother. Other parents are free to agree with me, as they have, but I’m only sharing with you my thoughts. All input from others has been shelved.
Is it at all possible that Mr. B’s clock was off one minute? Or, even one second? Is there no room for grace?
Although this may appear to be a minor and quite annoying issue that the staff at Maple Creek deals with on a daily basis it comes off quite different to me. It’s controlling and manipulative. As a parent I have spent most of my time choosing my battles. Are some things worth making a big deal over? Absolutely. Issues that involve safety, health, respect. But minor incidences can be a waste of time and energy. I’m sure as an educator you understand this. If teachers and administration spent all of their time with the little battles that don’t hurt anyone or anything they would never have time or energy to appreciate the little good things…like happy students, well behaved and well rounded kids, boys and girls eager to be at school to learn in the classroom as well as on the playground.
My children are so lucky to be at a top rated school. A safe school. A clean school. A school where the teachers and administration are not overwhelmed by violence, unconcerned parents, and constant behavior issues. I’m not saying that this never happens…but look around Fresno County…Maple Creek is one heck of a school.
Back to choosing battles. I have chosen to battle this for a reason. It might seem minor to some. But I’ve honestly had it with CUSD as well as Maple Creek, and Mr. B. I’ve sat back and observed him through the years. I’ve said a lot of stuff under my breath. I’ve sent him a little piece of my mind on the back of some form of parental warning he sent home with my other son. My conclusion is that this man is a bully. I don’t care how fun and jazzy and hyper and positive he is on the baseball field or the football field or even the class room. All of that is wiped away when a child is made to feel powerless. It’s happened to my older son, and now Tristan.
Yes, Tristan was powerless. Why? Well he sure didn’t drive himself to school. He arrived early by one minute because his friends’ father was kind enough to help us out and apparently no one told him to synch his watch with Maple Creek’s clock. Tristan had no control over this. He’s a child. His job is to be a child and learn and play. He is expected to behave and be respectful. He was doing this.
I think if this one minute early problem is out of control you should skip over the child and go straight for the parent. Find out who the child is, and approach the parent. Leave the child out. Or may I suggest keeping the school’s gates locked. This would easily alert the children and parents that the school is not ready to be entered. But, unfortunately I don’t think that would be possible. Isn’t there a CUSD policy that no school is completely fenced in as to keep the children from feeling imprisoned and controlled? In my opinion what is going on with this situation, as well as all of the other tedious CUSD policies (dress code, hair length, etc ) IS control. The children as well as many parents constantly worry about silly rules. There are so many tiny infractions constantly being thrown out as a sad form of manipulation that it shadows all of the hype built up around the “fantastic” stuff going on at Maple Creek. I no longer care about your ranking within the district for test scores. I am not a bit impressed with all of the money raised to purchase an overpriced sign out in front of the school. I see no need for golf carts for staff to haul themselves around as if they are more important than others. I’m sick of the arrogance and superiority Maple Creek exudes. All of these things that the administration, the district, the parents who fall victim to following the crowd is overshadowed by the passive aggressive disrespect given on a daily basis to the kids.
I cannot speak for the other parents, but this is my tipping point.
Mr. B could have used his good judgment of character, noted that the boys were behaving themselves and just shrugged of the last 60 seconds. He could have not wasted his time, my son’s time, my time, and well, now yours.
What’s my point in all of this?
My point is this: Maple Creek has wonderful students who absolutely love coming to school. Maple Creek has an amazing staff that all work hard for these students and play a huge part of why they are so wonderful. STEP BACK…ENJOY THIS…TAKE IT IN…STOP WASTING PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY ON FINDING PROBLEMS AND MAKING ISSUES.
I suggest the staff (mainly the administration) go on a field trip not too far from Maple Creek. Visit a neighboring school district. Step out of the “White Picket Fence World” and into a school with some REAL problems. Heartbreaking problems.
Then think about if that one minute was really worth the trouble.
Janelle Allee Baker
ALRIGHT…. now that that is off my chest I feel a whole lot better.