Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Runaway Laws and School Systems

My son has missed an exorbitant amount of school this year.  Last week he missed 4.5 days, and just this evening I realized I neglected to get an excusal note turned in within the 3 day window required by law.  If I had turned the note in by 2:45 pm this afternoon (8 or so hours ago), it would have been excused.  I wrote his principal asking for a reprieve, and he said that by law, he cannot accept my excusal note after hours.

Fortunately, though, one of the 4 days last week was excused, because I signed him out early (???).  The other three, were not excused, and therefore my son has quickly expended the 3 unexcused absences permitted by law.    Not because he was running around with riff-raff or anything, and not because I couldn't submit a note, but because I simply forgot.  Human error.  Had one of those four days not been excused, we would be facing a $300+ fine from the school district.

At the end of the day last Friday, I received an email from one of his many teachers, indicating that he should have had a project turned in by the end of the day, as the marking period was closing.  So I had to navigate how to maneuver that issue, as he had been recovering from illness, had not completed the work, and I had no idea of how to turn it in.  The policy shown to us at the beginning of the year was that the students would have equal time to turn in their work to the time that they missed.  So having missed four days of school, he should have four days upon return to complete the work.  But they were not applying their own policy, leaving us scrambling.

On Monday when he returned, he also had detention, due to missing 12 assignments in his various classes this term.  I won't say anything about the fact that not ONE teacher could let me know that he wasn't turning in assignments.  Nor will I say anything about the fact that in the beginning of the year, when he received detention for also not turning in assignments, I specifically arranged with his homeroom teacher to alert me if he should miss just 3 homeworks.

On Monday after picking him up from detention, I checked in with the office for the second time that day, to see if they had received a faxed excusal note from my son's doctor, and they had not.

Then I went home, and found out my son missed turning in another final project, and began negotiating with his teacher via email to see if he could possibly turn it in on Tuesday.  The teacher wrote back Tuesday morning saying he could indeed turn it in, but my son decided not to complete it on Monday night, believing all was lost.  So he got a D grade for the term, but overall passed the class (PRAISE GOD!).

In the mail on Tuesday afternoon, I received a form from a different doctor of my son, which required teacher input.  It was miraculously sent to me just in the nick of time, as there were only 2 days of school left.  I scrambled (again) to write his teacher, asking if he had time to fill it out, if he could request that my son give him the form, and then again return it before the end of the year (tomorrow).  My son brought home a completed form.  Let's thank God again.  I could not imagine trying to get this completed once school is out for summer.  Once I get this form submitted, I have another 6 months of waiting to see the specialist we are attempting to see.  This specialist will hopefully give us some answers as to why my son has such a difficult time remembering things related to short-term memory.  (He will take off his shoes, and then five minutes later cannot remember where they were placed.  I will ask him three times to put his backpack in its designated space {so he can find it the next morning} and it still does not get put away.)  So this was a tender mercy, that the teacher was willing to get it done right away.

It was only at 9:20 pm this evening that I realized I never followed up on the doctor's excusal note, and never turned in what I already received from the doctor last week (a two-day excusal note, rather than 4).  My son, therefore, has three days of unlawful absences, which the principal says is nothing to worry about.  "No worries," he says.  Ok.

This really is no big deal.  It's not earthquake recovery, ebola outbreak, or Christian slaughter in the Middle East.  This is seriously first world problems, and complete nonsense.  However, it goes to show that in this country, we have become a country filled with some of the most asinine sensibilities, where common sense DOES NOT RULE, and unceasing nit-picky laws have been created to make life "better" for parents and educators trumps the little common sense left.  There is no leeway for the fact that I contacted the office TWICE in regards to this excusal note, but because I missed the window, the record is marred, and if for some reason the 4th day had be unexcused, I'd have a hefty fine.  Not that it matters, but I wonder if down the road, somehow, it might.  Regardless, what we put out in this world is returned to us.  I am tempted to warn the office staff and principal that yes, there are laws that govern things, but their rigidness will likely be returned to them tenfold.  May I not be so rigid with those I interact with.

Alma described this principle.

And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?  
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish - good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.  
Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.  
For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.
 Alma 41: 12-15  
My heart is concerned for their well being.  Do those of us who are obsessed with mercilessness realize that whether in this life, or in the next, that this will be returned to us?  I have been a little unmerciful to my children this week.  I wonder if the rigidity of the administration in following the rules is a restoration of the rigidity I showed to my kids this week.  

This is a sign of the times, people.  I pray we are woken up.  I am no better than the next. 

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