~ honest. sincere. embarrassing. funny. with a healthy dose of sarcasm. ~

Friday, April 7

Cause you had a bad day......(warning: long, sad, angry post ahead)

Hovering on the brink of exhaustion, desperately wanting to relax in our new place, breathe a little....enjoy a cup of tea. Instead, yesterday was very close to pushing us over the edge. It was one of the worst days that we have had in a long time. I just finished ripping down a wall of wallpaper and feel that I have blown off enough steam to sit down and write about that day.

We recieved a letter in the mail stating that because we live out of boundary for Tim's school we need to write a letter requesting that he can attend every year. We figured this letter was simply because we had just moved it was brought to their attention that we are still out of district -- so no big deal we write the letter and be done with it. Well, the next day when I dropped Tim off at school I saw another mother (who is also out of boundary) coming out of the school in tears. I am fairly close to this mother (because her daughter is in love with Tim and we just moved around the corner from them) and figured when she came over to the car to talk it had something to do with this letter. Sure enough she had just come from talking with the principal and found out the the school board as of 2007 will no longer be allowing children to attend out of boundary schools. I decided to go and talk with the principal right there as well.

Now, before I start on my tangent - some of you may be wondering why this would be such a big deal -- why not just let him go to the school that is in our district? Or, since we were moving why didn't we just buy a house in that district? I will be as gentle as possible; the school in our district is not known for the positives, there is an overpopulated student body and without sounding judgemental it's just not a good school. As for buying a place in the neighborhood -- we did look at places there but they are over priced shacks because of their location and people are buying the houses to rip them down and build new ones. We chose this school 2 years ago and we were even out of district then!! It's a small town school (think Ferris Glen :) and a good community oriented school. There is a small student body - and a special needs area of the school for medically fragile children that the rest of the students are able to socialize with, help and build friendships with. Plain and simple; I don't think there is another school in Sarnia that even compares to it. Tim has learned so much more than other children in Kindergarten in other schools...and not just academic.

Obviously, I went to the Principal and expressed my disappointment...and ended up in tears just like this other Mom. I am angry and very sad. I'll try to get my points across but believe me I'm much more convincing if you could see the frustration in my eyes over here!! (and yes, I am writing to the paper and school board and all that jazz)

- I feel stripped of my rights as a parent to decide what is right for my child. I have chosen this school for him because I know him best...how dare you tell me where I have to send my child solely based on where I live!?

- We are providing transportation - I am not asking for a bus, I am not asking for before and after school care. We drop him off everyday, we pick him up everyday -- I have never asked for special treatment.

- I can understand that the school board wants to organize the school system and find which schools need to be closed, better staffed, better equipped etc. But I don't think it is right to force children that have already been attending for years to a different school - threatening their security, friendships and routines. Why not just not accept any more new students as of 2007?

- The school that Tim attends is an under-populated school - I fear (and shared this with the principal as well) that if they lose their out of boundary students they would not have enough students to stay afloat. There are atleast 5 students in Tim's class alone (out of 15 students) -- if they lose 1/3 of their student body - there's no chance for them to remain open and that's a devastation to that community.

- I think there is a damn good reason why parents don't want to send their kids to certain schools. I said to the principal "You're not stupid, you know what goes on in certain schools" I think instead of FORCING that the schools should be IMPROVING to fight for their student body. Make us WANT to come to your school. I love teachers and think that they have one of the hardest jobs in the world -- and I believe that the right teachers can make a school desirable and effective regardless of the student population. I'm not naive I know that there are troubled kids at Tim's school, and I know that not all the teachers are going to be as great as his Kindergarten teacher is. But the school and community support is there to make it a great school!

- I pay taxes, it's a free country - I feel that as long as I am willing to drive my son to school and pick him up, and as long as there is room in the school -- I have every right to choose whatever school I want for my child!

and most importantly----- I watch Tim stroll confidently through the school yard every day when I drop him off at school. I see the big kids high fiving him, the teachers saying hi, I see the smile on his face when I pick him up everyday, and the amazing stories he tells. He loves the school, he loves the people in it. He is comfortable and secure and sure of himself there. He has friends, buddies, mentors.... and he does NOT deserve to be uprooted from the only school he's known for no other reason than money and politics.

And while I was preoccupied with my waterworks festival for the principal. Garnet was at home fighting the pipes and the electricity. It turns out that our electricity was grounded through the waterpipes (which is normal) but didn't have the proper hook up. (Even though ALL of the electrial was just upgraded within the last year....hmmm) So when Garnet went to cut the water pipe to fix the water shut off valve he was greeted with a huge arch of electricity. He then called an electrcian who was stumped by things as well. In their struggles the electricty was shut off. When it was turned back on a loud pop and the smell of burnt plastic prooved to fry some of our surge protectors. We were without water and power all day - which meant that we couldn't use our new stove (which has a horrible bad story all in itself) -- and hoping that the POP didn't destroy anything more than the surge protectors. Long story short -- Our computer was fried - (luckily only the power supply and speakers), a GFI plug upstairs and the coffee maker!

So an electrician's bill, some pipes and wires, new computer parts, a few more fast food stops than originally intended and a coffee maker means that any new 'projects' and home improvements are going to have to wait for the magical money fairy to appear....which we all know happens so often.

I realize that this post is long - so I'll stop my bitter rant about life.

Last night (after this horrible day) we were outside enjoying our new yard. I was raking, Tim was riding his bike -- I took pictures because no matter how sad or angry or frustrated I was I saw Tim's freedom, and it made it all seem ok. His smile, his happiness, the freedom to enjoy his bike and meet new friends down the street -- it all makes everything else seem worth it.
I know why we have children in our lives; to force us to remember that there's an innocence and freedom to enjoy our lives -- no matter how bad the day.

Enjoy them.


Michelle said...

wow jess, what a freaking horrible day! that is so not fair about tim's school, he seems so happy there, and it sounds like such a great place for him to be. really hoping that you will still be able to send him! perhaps you guys can try to get a whole bunch of the out of district parents to write letters/petitions together? writing to the paper is a great way to start, and you have great writing skills, so i'm sure your letter will be good!

Jessi said...

thank you michelle - i appreciate that. i'm hoping to do everything possible to keep him there....we'll see how it turns out.

vicki said...

A few years ago one of the political parties introduced an idea to change the quality of education. The idea was to give parents the freedom to shop around for the best school,and have the choice as to where their 'education' dollars would be spent.Sounds like a good idea to me.Competition sometimes improves quality and price.

Green Squiggly said...

i thought the only way you could get your kid into out-of-catchment schools was to put them in french immersion. that's what happened to me and look how i turned out :p

kelly said...

oooh - what a DAY! :( I'm so sorry to hear about tim's school - you have every right to be cheesed to the max!!!! Oh, I do hope they reconsider!
And i'm so sorry about the electrical problems. House surprises are never good, but especially frustrating when you just move in!!! I hope the days get better somehow.

Jessi said...

wow....he definitely won't be going into french immersion then, green!! ;)
actually if a school is not "closed" (meaning full to capacity of students) then out of boundary students are still welcome(or have been up until this point)....in bigger cities the schools are usaully all "closed" -- luckily because Sarnia is small enough some schools can take out of boundary kids. because of the area that his school is in -- even if all the neighborhood kids went it would still be UNDER capacity -- that's why I'm so angry about it.

thank you kelly --- hopefully you have better luck at your new house!!!