You know that thing with family? The thing where you can say your mother/sister/brother/cousin is a bitch/a big fat loser/an asshole/stupid, but let anyone else say it and oh, HELL NO.
Well, I have that same thing when it comes to our school district or my small town. I get my hackles up when I hear an outsider make disparaging remarks. I defend the school vehemently. I get angry. The giant chip on my shoulder grows to enormous proportions. I guess it’s because, in a way, I feel like it’s not just the school or town that is being insulted, but me. I feel like, since I choose to live here, when people look down on it, they are really saying that I must be somehow lesser, as well. I know this, and still it pisses me of, since it’s not their damned business anyway.
But there are plenty of days that I have my own gripes about things, and hoo-boy – this is one of them. Of course, something always triggers a rant, and mine would be the letter I got last night, which is my first thing.
Thing the first:
I came home to a letter last night that stated that my son’s report card was being held because of overdue library fines. OK, I get it – you have to have some leverage to recoup those huge fines racked up by kids and parents who don’t give a shit (though presumable, if they don’t care about their fines, they might not care about the report card, either). Anyway, my problem here is that 1) he paid the fine weeks ago – as soon as he realized the book was late and returned it. And 2) The fine? Thirty cents. THIRTY CENTS! They paid 42 cents for a stamp, plus the cost of the envelope, the paper, and the time it took someone to create the letter and fine report, then held his report card for a thirty cent fine. WHICH WAS ALREADY PAID! And the icing on this one? Included in the letter was someone else’s library fine report. A kid with the same first name, though spelled completely differently, and a last name at the complete other end of the alphabet. Which makes me wonder about their filing system.
Thing the second:
Speaking of report cards, they were supposed to receive them on January 26th or 27th. And they got them on February 5th. What the fuck? I feel bad for the kids whose parents were waiting at the door on the 26th, looking for the report card and then nagging the poor kid ever since – are you sure you didn’t get it? Are you telling me the truth?
Thing the third:
I have already talked about this, but how can we forget that they make huge, HUGE mistakes in their attendance records, and then refer people to social services because of those mistakes. I love that. I still get letters from that agency, giving me “support” and shit. I know it’s a good program, but I do not need it. And thus feel a little, no a LOT, offended by the whole thing. And by law – even though they know it was a mistake – they have to continue to monitor my child’s attendance. It’s like I’m on probation or something. And he was recently sick and missed a day, and then missed part of a day for a dentist’s appointment. And even though I know it’s totally OK, I find myself feeling guiltier than that time Aunt Twin caught me all Michael Phelps-like on her back porch and cried. And that’s saying something, because when your sweet aunt cries about “the pot”, that’s guilt.
Thing the fourth:
The only thing that made me more furious than the whole social services thing was calling to talk to the principal to talk about it and being told (via her secretary) that it “wasn’t [her] job.” Which leads me to…
Thing the fifth:
The fact that the principal is never, EVER, available to speak with you. And never returns your calls. Because she is a big, old, nasty bitch.
Thing the sixth:
Their truancy calls –oh my god. Last week the boy was home sick and that night, I got an automated call that said, and I quote, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” I was so very tempted to send in my excuse all, “please excuse the boy for being absent on Rhode Island slash slash yip Rhode Island. He was home sick.” And then, when he was out for a dentist appointment on Thursday morning, I got, “This is to notify you that your child was absent on Rhode Island slash CH slash staffer Rhode Island. Please send an excuse.” What? The? Fuck? Is up with all the Rhode Island?? Although, Rapunzel go the best one. They once sent her a message saying that her son, FRACKLE FRACK was absent. Do I even need to tell you that her son is very much NOT named Frackle Frack?? I didn’t think so.
Thing the seventh:
Again with the calls. When there’s a delay or cancellation, they call and tell you via a recorded message Which is great. Especially when they call the night before. But not so much when they call at FIVE FUCKING A.M. Now, I am getting up at 5:15 anyway, but that extra 15 minutes is precious. And also – a lot of people don’t get up at the buttcrack, so I am sure they aren’t wild about it either. And really, this is western Pennsylvania – the radio and TV stations live to report school closings and delay. This is BIG NEWS in the PA winter. I am sure I will find out one way or another. Please don’t call me at five.
Thing the eighth:
Oh My God, those fucking PSSAs. I have ranted and raved about them for years now. And I hate them with a passion. PSSA stands for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. It’s a standardized test used “to measure a student’s attainment of the academic standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards”. Which is just bullshitspeak for “used to determine which schools are getting more funding” Basically, what this means is good PSSA scores = more money for the school. And as we all know, if there’s money involved, there’s going to be bullshit. So the schools waste a whole lot of time teaching the kids to take this test, instead of actually teaching them stuff. This is a huge big issue for me and I think I’ll have to save it for its own entry or this one will go on forever. Thanks, Dumbya!
Thing the ninth:
Hedge just told me that the elementary school sent home a note saying that if the kids are going to bring in invitations to pass out, they have to be sent to the principal so she can review and approve them. Don’t get me wrong – I fully support the rule that of there isn’t one for everyone in the child’s class, then they can’t do it. That’s fine. But I think having the principal review and approve each invitation is a bit excessive. Or at least odd. Although I told Hedge that she should totally send one ion for approval for a strippers and blow party.
Thing the tenth:
Yesterday, they sent home order forms for the yearbooks, telling us how much they were and when to return them. The problem? We had a fundraiser a few months ago when we were told that if we sold a certain number of crappy items, we would receive a free yearbook. I wanted no parts of the fundraiser, because I’d rather just pay for the damned thing, but the boy was determined to earn it, and by god he did. He sold more than enough. So, say it with me now – What the Fuck?