Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Angry Parent Guy

Son called me yesterday to tell me that he got home OK, as he does every afternoon. I asked about his homework and such, and he told me that he had it covered. Then he took a deep breath and blurted out, "I have something to tell you." As anyone over the age of, say, eight knows, this is never a good introduction.

"I think I got in trouble today, and I might be expelled, and the teacher said I may go to jail, and I'm so frustrated and mad... [dissolves to tears]"

"It can't be that bad. What happened?" I knew it couldn't be that bad, because the school hadn't called me, and they are pretty good about calling whenever anything untoward happens.

He told me that his social studies teacher had sent some of the kids out into the hallway to work on a mural for a class project. The kid who had the important information for the project was absent, so they could only get so far. Son and "Corey" were walking around the mural to see it from another angle when Son bumped into one of the fire alarms. This is a brand new school building, so there are still a few kinks in the system. The alarm sounded.

A teacher in the class right next to the alarm came out of her room, muttered something like, "Stupid alarm," then Fonzie-slapped it. The alarm shut off. That teacher retreated into her room.

Son's teacher came out into the hall and shouted, "What happened?"

Son said, "I bumped up against the alarm, and it went off." The other kids confirmed that this was what happened.

The teacher started shrieking at him that alarms don't do that sort of thing, and that he would likely be expelled for his crime, and that the fire department would likely come to talk to him and take him to jail, etc. She must have been a sight to see.

Son was pretty taken aback by this. When she told him to get back into the classroom and take his seat, he saw that the other kids in the class were staring at him. The teacher then told the class that they had to pack up their projects and spend the rest of the class reading from the textbook. Additionally, some unfortunate few (looking at Son as she says this) will no longer be allowed to take part in the Medieval/Viking Faire in a few weeks. Of course, they call blamed Son for their misfortunes. Son was devastated. He loves medieval and Renaissance things, and he has been looking forward to this event for weeks.

At some point during the remainder of the class, the principal's office called the teacher. At the end of the class, Son went up to the teacher's desk and asked, "Am I going to be in trouble?" She looked at him, didn't answer, and then pointedly looked away. This was the last period of the day, so this takes us back to him getting home and calling me.

I was irked. My mom is an elementary school teacher, and because I know what some of her experiences have been, I'm very sympathetic to teachers, and I tend to cut them a lot of slack. This teacher, though, went over the line and needs a bit of a talking-to.

GPop went in to discuss the matter with the principal and assistant principal today. They told him that there were maintenance crews working on the sprinkler system and that the alarm system had been wonky all day yesterday and all day today. They promised to talk to that teacher. By interesting coincidence, that teacher wasn't present during Son's class today. I don't know the outcome yet, but my expectation is a public apology to Son, and an explanation IN FRONT OF THE CLASS that he had nothing to do with the fire alarm and didn't cause any trouble.


Angry Professor said...

Poor little guy. Did I mention that I don't like your school district? I don't like it.

GDad said...

There was an article in the main Capital City newspaper yesterday that our district was going to have to cut staff and double certain student fees.

In addition, they're cutting busing for high school students, which is going to be a serious hassle, given that Son won't be able to drive until at least midway through his sophomore year.

The citizenry won't approve additional taxes to raise the money, and more and more apartments and less-expensive housing developments are going up, which (I'm guessing) draws in more people with kids than it proportionally raises revenues from taxes.

I'm thinking private high school or seeing if I can put the boy into the school district whose borders start about a mile away. You can see that our bike route passed into the other district if you go back to my post titled "Neophilic Luddism."

GirlyWarrior said...

Power tripping teachers piss me off. I'm glad the administration has their head screwed on a little better. I hope the teacher is reprimanded as much as Son was, tit for tat.

Wikinite said...

I would say there is a valuable life lesson for son here. Namely, that some peoples opinions aren't worth shit, and more importantly their approval isn't worth persuing. I wouldn't demand an apology. The teacher's opinion clearly means nothing, and son shouldn't worry about trying to get her approval.

GDad said...

Wikinite, welcome!

My main reason for wanting a public apology is that the other children in the class seem to thing that Son actually did this thing, and that the teacher's ire toward the class was a legitimate response to Son's behavior. Neither of those is true, so I want the teacher to admit her transgression in front of the class so that the other kids don't convict my son in the court of public opinion - at least not for untrue things.

gay CME guy said...

This behavior is completely unacceptable from the teacher. A public apology should merely be the starting point. She is not only teaching social studies, she is an authority figure setting an example for impressionable young minds. I'd go for blood.