Friday, February 6, 2015

An Open Letter to My Child's School Explaining Her Tardiness

Dear School Administrators,

Let me start by saying I appreciate your work.  I believe you have a job that is as difficult as it is important.  You are educating our future leaders on fewer and fewer resources each year.  When we send our two children to you each morning, I say a little prayer of gratitude and strength for you while I'm doing my victory dance for the eight joyful hours I get to spend at work uninterrupted by their needs.

That said, I was a little peeved to receive the letter yesterday about my daughter's "excessive tardies."

I realize that you must send a form letter out to all parents of students with excessive tardies as we also received one last year (ahem).  You asked for our response, so please allow me to share my thoughts:

1. Yes, these tardies have been under our supervision.  She is six, so she has not been driving herself to school late or sneaking out of the house to skip school.  My husband has been the one that has personally delivered her to the school office on these occasions.

2.  While you are highlighting the 5 days she was late, I would rather celebrate the 98 other days that she was on time.  Do you realize what a miraculous occurrence this is?  While the tone of the letter is punitive, I was pretty amazed the number was so low.  I'm giving my husband a big high five and myself a pat on the back for managing to get two strong-willed children awake, showered, dressed, fed, and to school for five months now. 

3.  You're threatening to get a social worker involved?  Great!  Please let her/him know to arrive at our house at 6:15am daily to wake up said child.  Please warn the social worker that alarm clocks, soothing music, gentle nudges, and cuddles are not effective at getting her alert.  Threats, rewards, bribes, earlier bedtimes, and engaging conversation are also no good.  Protective gear is suggested due to the threat of kicking, hitting, and scratching.  Prepare to engage in a battle of wills for at least half an hour, which will be followed by wrestling the child out of bed and getting her dressed without any cooperation from her.  Tears and screaming must be ignored in order to reach the bus stop by 7:07am so that she will not be tardy!

4.  Does she have a chronic medical condition that prevents her from attending school on a regular basis?  Hmm...well, not a diagnosed one, but see #3 and judge for yourself.  Note that we did not receive a similar letter regarding her brother.

5.  Please note the child DID attend school on these days.  It's not like the year (ahem, last year) when the kids missed 5 days for a Disney Cruise.  We do value their education.  I am the girl who had perfect attendance from kindergarten through high school graduation.  Yes, that was once a mark of pride for me, but now seems rather sad.

6.  I deal with enough guilt as a parent, woman, and person of a religious background.  Perhaps you should try talking with my daughter, who doesn't seem to have enough to motivate her into action.

Thank you for your concern.  We are with you.

A parent who is doing the best she can.

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