How old is old enough?

So, we live in a small town with about 2,000 people. I love our town because of this. I wanted to raise my kids in a smallish town that's still close enough to large cities to go the movies, grocery stores, cultural events, etc, without driving 2 hours to do so. I also wanted to raise them in a small town so that they could play in the backyard, and now the front yard that Zachary is a little older, without being so paranoid about the large city issues. Now, that's not to say I think that NOTHING could happen in a small town, but when you look at the police blotter 99% of the police calls are domestics. So at least it's not kidnapping, B & E, drugs, etc.

One of the problems that comes with living in a small town, however, is the lack of funding for school things, such as bussing. We live about 10 blocks from school. Over 2 major roads and several turns. Being that we live "in town" the school board has determind that any student in town doesn't need bussing, they can walk. And the kindergardeners can walk because "there are enough older kids around to watch out for them".

Um, no. My kindergardner will NOT walk to school. I was an older kid once upon a time, and I didn't watch out for the younger kids. And boys are even worse about that kind of thing. We don't really know anyone within the schools either that he could walk with. So, since the beginning of school, I've been taking him everyone morning. In the afternoon though, because it's only 1/2 day kindy, he rides the bus home due to the fact there is no other kids around (and truthfully, they have the buses available).

Today was a 1/2 day for the entire school. Which means for Zachary--no bussing. The school sent home a sheet about 2 weeks ago asking us to check the means for our children to get home during this time and to sign it. I did. Returned it the following day so as not to forget. I would be picking Zachary up today.

I got there before school ended. Parked in the back lot (where the HUGE sign says to pick up kids at), and waited. Kids came out. Got into cars. Left.

No Zachary.

I figured, maybe I should haul E inside and go find him. I reminded him this morning that I was picking him up, but while I feel the school and his teacher should tell him where student pick up is, we haven't seen that much initiative from the school this year. So I trekked inside, E in tow.

I round the curve to his classroom and have to go past the office. I hear Zachary sobbing and his teacher standing over him yelling "WHY DIDN"T YOU GET ON THE BUS LIKE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO?" OMG. I about lost it. I said, to her back because she was facing Zachary and not aware of my presence yet..."Because he's a townie. He's not supposed to ride the bus today. That's why I'm here to pick him up". She immediately looked abashed and started back-pedaling and of course, blaming me for telling her that he would ride the bus. Um, no. Read your sheet again. Seriously, what's the point of filling them out if you're not going to use them!!! So I grab Zachary and start to try calming him. Teacher explains:

"It's been a rough morning and things have been very busy and unsettled because of the parent/teacher conferences etc."

"Zachary is getting sick. Must be having a bad day because of it"

"It's a good thing the kids have a couple days off, we could all use the break from each other. "

I'm mad. Not only did you let my son go out the front doors, if the buses hadn't been leaving you would have made him get on the bus! Pay attention people! They think it's okay for him to walk home because "other kids will watch him" when the freaking teachers and aides don't even pay attention??

I feel sometimes like I'm being overprotective, but seriously, shouldn't some kind of precaution be taken for kindergardners? I don't know like walking out with them to get on the busses? Or directing them to the back doors for their parents?

I know that when Chuck was a kindergardner he ended up missing the bus for screwing around and tried walking home. An older high school girl from his neighborhood stopped and picked him up. In todays day and age though, even in a small town, that doesn't make me very comfortable at all to have a 5 year old walking around where no one knows where he is or what he's doing! Chuck and I have worked opposite shifts for 5 years so that our children are protected somewhat, I expect that when they go to school they will also protect my child. Apparently not.


XOXOXO said...

Um, yeah, that is bullshit!! I would go in to the principle with that first thing....

how dare she treat your son that way. He was doing what he was told by his Mother, and she has no right to scream at him....ever!

Hannah said...

I would definitely complain about the teacher, that is just awful!! I feel sick thinking about it, I really do.

But WOW I am shocked at the way things are done over there! Here, the parents of the younger children (age 5, 6 and even 7) park in the carpark (or walk to school) and then wait outside their child's classroom for the bell to ring. Children are told if their mum or dad is not outside the classroom, they should come back in and wait inside for them. There wouldn't be many kids (if any) who are expected to walk to the parking lot and find their parents' car! We don't have any school buses at our school. I walk Ethan to school most mornings, and walk to pick him up most afternoons. The odd time I'll drive (especially if I have Tyler with me). But I would not let him walk on his own until he was older. And then, he'd be walking with the Walking School Bus, which has 2 parents rostered on each day. They walk to school and have special yellow vests on, they pick up kids from their front gates on the way to school, and drop them all off at their classrooms when they get there. Anyway, that's our system and it's a safe one. Perhaps suggest Walking School Buses to the school? They are really taking off here in NZ.

I'm shocked that a teacher was screaming at Zachary, that's jut sooooo wrong. I would be really angry about that if I were you. Definitely complain - it's a total no-no!

Anonymous said...

Wow.. you should file a complaint against that teacher, as that was very wrong for her to do that to Zachary. Hes trying so hard to do right thing. She have no rights to destroy that.

Julie Q said...

In our school district, in elementary school, you must go inside and sign your child out. Elementary is up to 5th grade. It's been that way since my big kids went to elementary school. Then they are called down to the office on the intercom.

I really wouldn't blame the teacher if the school policy is to just them walk out of the building not knowing if their parent was there yet or not.

I understand your frustration with the teacher. I had a similiar thing happen on the first day of school. But, I had to tell myself it must be hard for a teacher to deal with 30 children and keep everything straight.

noname said...

I would take this as far and as high as I could! It's irresponsible for the teacher to not know where to send her kids! It's the schools responsibility to ensure their saftey. Her giving excuses isn't the right thing to do. She should have apologized withOUT the excuse to show she was taking responsibility for the lack of her actions.

She should have never been yeling at him either!! Any teacher worth their salt would know that yelling at a 5 year old only adds to their confusion and creates fear. How incredibly horrifying for him!

I get the small town thing. Ours is a very small town and the way they do things is absolutely mind boggling at times. There are definite perks, but there's a lot of pot holes, too.

Complain in writing and in person/on the phone. Take it up with the teacher and principal. I'd go to the school board and or Super also. This shouldn't have happened and can't be allowed to happen again.



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