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 Adventures in Picking-Up Kids

January 27, 2017

bang-headSo the Big One is in junior high now. Today was the first time I needed to get her early from school. She’s going to church camp this weekend, so I need to get her early so they can hit the road and beat the darkness up to the mountains.

In elementary school the early pick-up process is simple. I’d show up, tell the ladies up front that I needed my kid, they filled out the slip and then I’d go retrieve the kid from class.

I assumed that junior high would be a fairly similar procedure. Allow me to share with you how the process actually went:

I entered the main office and was greeted by a friendly woman, who directed me out the side office door around to the attendance clerk. I go out the door, around the building and back inside. As I enter I smile politely at the first woman who greeted me –basically I make a big loop around her desk area.

It’s cool, I get it. The attendance clerk greets me. I explain that I need to pick up my daughter and the conversation goes like this after I spelled the Big One’s name, etc:

ATTENDANCE CLERK:  “Ohhhhh, so you didn’t give her a note to bring in this morning before school?”

FIXITMOMMY:  “Umm, no. I apologize. I wasn’t sure of the procedure. This is my first time!”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Ooooooo-kkkkkkkkkkkkk well, next time she needs to bring a letter from home to me before school so I can give her the slip and she will just come here when you come to pick her up.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Ok, that’s great information to know. Was it shared at any of the Parent Orientations? I went to three of them and don’t remember hearing about this process.”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “No, we don’t talk about it there.”

FIXITMOMMY: “OK, well my daughter is at lunch so what’s the best way for me to get her?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “UMMM, let me see. She’s in English right now, so I’ll call the teacher.”

FIXITMOMMY:  After looking at my watch again and confirming that it’s 11:15, “Actually I think she is at lunch still. Doesn’t lunch go until 11:25?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Let me tell you how it works. She is still in 4th period. She’s there now, then she has lunch and then goes back to English for 5th period.”  (they have a two-hour English block in 6th grade)

FIXITMOMMY: “Oh, okay. Is it a minimum day schedule or assembly or some special schedule today?”

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “No, it’s just a regular day. I’ll call Ms. Duncan now.”

FIXITMOMMY: “OOOOOOO –KKKKKKKKKKKKK”  {Now I am thinking to myself… note I did not verbalize this outloud – YAY for me! – I know how the schedule works, my kid is at lunch. After lunch she has her two-hour English block, but what do I know I am just the stupid mom here.}

ATTENDANCE CLERK: Muttering to herself, “nobody answered….. I’ll go find her myself.”

At this point, the Counselor is listening in. The attendance clerk goes to the Counselor to tell her that she has to go find my child.  And then the Counselor comes over to chat with me.

COUNSELOR: “Ohh, somebody didn’t follow procedures.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Nope, I guess I didn’t.”

COUNSELOR: {hands me a ½ sheet of paper with all the attendance info on it, including the procedure} “Do you have one of these?”

FIXITMOMMY: {looking at a paper that I have never seen before} “No, actually I do not. Umm, were they handed out at any of the Orientations? I went to three of them.”

COUNSELOR: “No, we really should have the attendance clerk there to give a presentation to parents.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Yes, that IS the type of information that really should be provided to parents at the orientation. Was this sent home the first week or school or some other time?”

COUNSELOR: “No, I don’t think we send it home.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Okay, well, I am glad that now I know the procedure. I think the attendance lady went to look for my daughter in English. My daughter is in 6th grade, she is at lunch still.”

COUNSELOR: “Well yes, she would still be at lunch. Ohhhhhhhhhh, ummmmmmm maybe you should just sign the visitor log and go find your daughter.”

FIXITMOMMY:  “Sounds like a plan. Thank you for the information”

I sign the log, get my handy dandy visitor sticker and exit the office to go face 6th grade lunch. As I get out the door, the attendance clerk is walking back towards me, without my child. I just smiled.

ATTENDANCE CLERK: “Ohhh, I guess she was at lunch after all….. BUT I found her! She’s on her way up.”

Y’all I am sorry it took everything ounce of energy I had to simply smile, and say thank you as my child arrived and I escorted her out of the school gate.

I understand that working with 1,000+ junior high kids every day has to be draining and difficult. But seriously? You don’t know the schedule? You can’t look at the clock? You can’t share helpful information with parents? You can’t listen and consider that maybe, just maybe the parent is correct about where her kid is??? Oh well, it’s all part of the adventure I guess!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Large permalink
    January 27, 2017 5:09 pm

    You would think they would know their own schedules. Love the way they admit to never telling parents or sending the notice home on attendance policy, yet expect you to know procedures. Oy!
    I quit substituting as an aide for middle and high school because no one ever seem to know where I should go or where to find the student I was to work with. How they know for sure who is or isn’t there is beyond comprehension. Elementary shools are much better at knowing what is going on with their students.

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