General Question

Pazza's avatar

Can I cancel an agreement with a school?

Asked by Pazza (3163 points ) November 15th, 2012

When my daughter started secondary school, I signed a parent teacher agreement that I would work in partnership with the school towards my daughters education.

This agreement points to the school policies, and, although all the policies are not written on the agreement, the document basically states that my daughter agrees to abide by these policies, and that I, in a round-about way agree to the school enforcing those policies (ie – detentions after school and detentions at dinnertime). My daughter also signs as does a representative of the school.

Anyway, I’m currently in a bit of a wrangle with the school because they informed me via text, 1 day before an after school detention, that they would be detaining my daughter in detention.

1. I didn’t receive the text (they say they sent it)
2. I’ve informed the school that my daughter is not to attend a detention without my express permission.
3. My daughter (naughty naughty) didn’t inform me about the impending detention the night before.

To cut a long story short, I had a lengthy conversation with the school, and basically informed them that in future they need my express permission before detaining my daughter. They said they didn’t need to get my permission for dinnertime detentions and pointed out that I’d signed the agreement mentioned above.

So, my question.

If I inform the school I no longer agree, is the agreement dissolved / null & void?

My assumption is:
1. That an agreement is not a contract.
2. that I can ‘step out’ of the agreement if I so wish.
3. Even if it is a contract, there is no time limit specified, and no mention of any penalties for breaching or ‘stepping out’ of it.

All opinions welcome as are legal definitions etc.

Lastly, although I cut the story short, I informed the school that in future, permission asked for, that I would have no problems with detentions, provided I thought they were justified. I informed them that I had dealt with the situation myself by grounding my daughter for hiding the detention, and leading me into a conflict with the school, and also made her write a written apology to the teacher for disrupting the class.

The school have informed me that they don’t really agree with my wishes, and are wanting my daughter to finish the detention tomorrow dinnertime, I said not without my express permission and I’m not giving it out of principle, and in any case, I’ve already dealt with the matter.

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61 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

Well, one thing’s for sure: I hate when people do anything “on principal” rather than for a justifiable reason. That just means you’re doing it as an exercise in flexing your muscle. It just seems hostile and it may not help your mission of getting along better with the school.

gailcalled's avatar

When my daughter started secondary school, I signed a parent teacher agreement that I would work in partnership with the school towards my daughters education.

This agreement points to the school policies, and, although all the policies are not written on the agreement, the document basically states that my daughter agrees to abide by these policies.

You and your daughter signed the agreement with no coercion, I presume. Thus, you are morally obligated to keep your side of the bargain, aren’t you?

If you decide when and how to abrogate the agreement, why can’t every other parent?

Your naughty naughty daughter may be too young to be able to report her misdemeanors to you. The cutesy description helps no one.

The issue of not having received the text from the school is valid. The school might be willing to leave you a voice mail in future. They are more reliable.

How old is your daughter? What are you trying to teach her?

“Contract”: contract is an agreement entered into voluntarily by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing,

Sunny2's avatar

Perhaps you should find another school for your daughter before she is booted out. If you don’t follow the rules you agreed to, they have sufficient reason to do that.

JLeslie's avatar

Does the school require you to sign this agreement if your daughter attends that school? If so that would be an important point, because dissolving the agreement would mean you would have to change schools. If it is not a requirment I do think you could easily write a letter saying you no longer give your permission. In some schools near me for instance a parent can sign to give a school permission to use corporal punishment, and I would assume a parent can change their mind about it, and do a new form stating they can’t. But, that is public school, I don’t know how the private schools work.

What confuses me is if your daughter did something to warrant punishment, why are you against the detention? Do you feel she didn’t do anything wrong?

I do think it is important you are informed she will be staying late so you don’t worry where she is. However, the couple times I remember getting detention I don’t even remember telling my parents? I might remember incorrectly though. You say dinnertime, how late in the day is it? I think generally parents should support the punishment a school doles out, unless there is extreme unfairness, harshness, or a parent truly believes their child is completely innocent.

What grade is she in? 6th, 8th, 9th? Secondary start can be used to mean several different ages.

janbb's avatar

It seems to me that if your child is attending that school and is assigned detention, you don’t get the option to opt in or out. If you want to approve or disapprove of everything that is done, maybe you need to homeschool her.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Find out if they have made any changes to their policy since you signed the agreement, and then state that you only agreed to the older policy, not the new one, and then state that you now hold the agreement to be void.

Pazza's avatar

@gailcalled
She’s 16 the end of next March.
I try to teach her on a regular basis that she should be respectful to the teachers, and not disrupt the class, as this is only detrimental to her own education.
I also tell her that the school ultimately is a service, and that on a base level, I employ them to educate her, but that this does not give her a right to be disrespectful to the teachers, as at the end of the day, they are trying to help and are also human beings.

@ninjacolin
lol, hate is a strong word….
I agree about the hostility, and that I really should try to avoid it, but my beef with the school is that in my opinion (rightly or wrongly), the school is not an authority, and out of respect for me, the least I expect is to be informed of the reasons for the detention, and to be asked permission.

When I was in school, the reason for a detention was to punish for rule breaking etc, but, I had to take a letter home which contained the reasons for the detention, and my parents signature was required to show that I had told them and that they gave there consent to the punishment.

I don’t see why this can’t be the case now.

As for flexing muscle, that is on part of it, as I informed the school that, although I signed the agreement, if the school is informing me that that gives them the authority to detain without my consent, then I no longer agree.

I also told them that I had dealt with the matter, and that she wasn’t going unpunished.

My feeling is that the school still wants to further punish my daughter, I see no ultimate reason for this, other than the school trying to flex its own muscles?

And as I’ve told them, next time round, reasons and permission granted, after school detentions are not a problem.

@Sunny2
The school ultimately is fine, and my daughter (although not a model student) is not completely unruly or a regular pain in the bum. And to be fair, her attitudes towards other students and teachers for the most part make me proud.

The agreement wasn’t mandatory (as far as I understand it), and that, although I signed the original agreement when she first started secondary school at 11, last year, I got another one in September just before she took her ‘options’ (UK school), I didn’t sign the latest one.

Also, the detention was dished out to a few students for being too chatty in class, so it wasn’t really an expulsion type incident.

JLeslie's avatar

I just saw you had your daughter write an apology for disrupting class, so I guess you agree she had done something wrong.

Honestly, I cannot understand why you disagree with the school giving her detention. She is 16. She needs to deal with rules and consequences outside of what her parents dictate. I don’t understand your take on this at all.

However, if it is not a requirement to sign the agreement, I feel fairly sure you can dissolve the agreement.

Pazza's avatar

@JLeslie
I don’t think it was mandatory.
Also, I’ve asked for a meeting with the school, so that we can come to an agreement about how to move forward. ie; what I expect from them before a detention is dished out etc.
They are happy to have the meeting.

Its a public school, and I think I will be writing a formal letter stating that as a minimum I need to be informed of the reasons for punishment etc, so that I can back the school up if need be. My personal opinion is that too many parents leave it up to the school to discipline their children with no input from themselves, and that ultimately, kids think they can get away with murder in school if they think their parents won’t find out.

The school knows, I know, and lets sort it out together, but with me being the ultimate authority over my daughter.

Shippy's avatar

It sounds to me as if the school is carrying out its correct function in disciplining the ‘children’ in the correct manner. If you disagree on the reason for the detention, not the detention itself, then you would ask for an appointment to discuss with the board or teachers as to why whatever your child did, was deemed punishable.

To take the matter ‘home’ so to speak and ground her? Just seems like an odd way to approach a school matter. Also they have no rights on her home time, and cannot expect you to carry out punishments at home. I didn’t read all the answers so sorry if repeating.

glacial's avatar

“I also tell her that the school ultimately is a service, and that on a base level, I employ them to educate her…” ”... in my opinion (rightly or wrongly), the school is not an authority,...”

This is kind of a recipe for disaster. Your daughter is likely to continue test this until she finds out whether or not you are right, not least because her schoolmates will have been told the opposite by their parents. Good luck to you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

When I got detentions for talking, in a public HS, I just took the detention…whether the detention was given in fairness or not. I may or may not have informed my mom (I think I did), but certainly the school did not.

Your daughter is 16 years old. It’s time she starts fighting her own battles. Part of fighting her own battles is deciphering which situations are worth battling.

Really, I’m not sure why you are even getting involved here.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza I’m not a parent, but I think at the age of 16 you are making it more complicated than it needs to be. She disrupted class, it isn’t something that is going to lead to criminal behavior, why is it made into such a big deal? I agree you should be informed, but I think unless your daughter is getting detention frequently, just let her take the punishment and not have her mother in everything. There is something to be said for her to learn her lesson that the school does not tolerate that behavior. If everything is about mommy finding out, then her only worry is if mom finds out. Once free of you then what? She needs to accept consequences by others outside of her parents. When she starts a job she will have to follow those rules or be written up, possibly fired. She is old enough to start dealing with consequences and rules outside of her parent’s control. Just my opinion.

marinelife's avatar

You (or your attorney) can write a letter to the school rescinding your signature and your agreement to abide by the school rules in future, but you can’t grandfather the past.

In other words, your daughter did her act and received her punishment while the agreement was in effect. Therefore, you are bound to abide by it. You should allow your daughter to serve the detention.

bolwerk's avatar

If you need to know whether it’s an enforceable contract or a statement of good faith or memorandum of understanding or whatever, you should speak to a lawyer. Law on this can easily vary state to state or by whether the school is public or private (assuming you are in USA here).

I’m gonna guess the law is on their side somehow. Even if it’s not a contract, they probably have rights to do the stupid things they’re doing set down in state law somewhere, especially if it’s a public school.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Public schools don’t need your permission to give your daughter detention. What you signed was an agreement not to be the kind of parent who undercuts the lessons that you’ve sent your daughter to school to learn. I don’t know why you’d want to back out of that.

flutherother's avatar

Schools are there to educate and they can’t do that without discipline. This is one of the lessons your daughter should be learning from school, and I wouldn’t undermine it.

Pazza's avatar

All points and opinions taken on bored guys. I respect them all. Thanks.
And if any of my posts come across arse’y, it’s not my intention.

My position is, that the the next time the school wants to give a detention, that once they have informed me of why she is deserving of the detention, and that I give my permission (which is the vast majority of cases will be given), she will indeed be suffering the detention.

My problem is, that I don’t believe the base level of common courtesy from the school is a text message. A phone call yes, a text no. With that in mind, the situation started as follows.

Ellie is late home from school.
My wife texts Ellie – “where are you?”
Text comes back – “got detention”
Wife – “what for?”
Ellie – “nothing”

Wife phones me at work.
I phone Ellie. no answer.
I phone school – “Is my daughter in detention?”
school – “no, she’s down as having an after school french lesson”
me – “she may be telling me a porky pie, she says she’s in detention?”
school – “I’ll find out, hold on”
school – “she is in detention”
me – “why wasn’t I informed?”
school – “oh? you should have had a phone call from the school”
me – “no phone call”
school – “oh, I think the school leaves it up to the child to inform the parents?”
me – “she didn’t tell me?”
school – “hold-on…...... hello, the school policy is to send out a text message”
me – “I had no text?”
school – “hold-on…...... hello, the system says a text was sent”
me – “hold-on…...... I had no text!”
school – “well, she’s in detention for an hour, then she’ll be on her way home”
me – “can you send her home immediately please?”
school – “I’ll ask such’n’such a teacher hold-on”
me – “no, can you inform the teacher that she is to be sent home immediately”
school – “ok. we’ll call when she’s left.”
me – “thank you. Buy now.”

All pleasant, other than my abruptness to inform the school that the secretary was not to ask the teacher permission to send my daughter home, but was to inform him that she must be sent home immediately.

The reason for that was, that its winter, I was in work, and my daughter has to walk through a very poorly lit wooded lane to get home. This wooded lane is known to be used for prostitution at night. So I wanted my daughter home before it got dark. She usually walks home with friends, but on this occasion I couldn’t be certain any of them were in detention with her, hence my initial reaction to send her home immediately, this was my main concern at the time, followed close second by the fact I had not been informed.

I informed the school also that in future, she is not to be detained without my express permission, thus hopefully preventing my daughter from hiding future detentions, and removing the possibility of the school from misplacing a sent text message.

I was informed that she had left the school, great.
On returning home Ellie told me that she had to finish the detention at dinnertime the next day. I had just informed the school ‘not to be detained without my express permission’.

Teachers are human too, and my initial reaction (rightly or wrongly) was to assume that the teacher had thought to himself, “that’s ok, I’ll get you tomorrow at dinnertime! (when I don’t need parental consent)”. I’m fully aware that this was a complete guess at the teachers intentions, but on the phone to the school, I had also told them that although I had taken Ellie out of detention (for the reason explained above), she was not going unpunished and that she was grounded and was going to be writing a letter of apology to the teacher.

So to summarize:
I wasn’t informed,
I feared for the safety of my child,
I brought her home,
She was still punished.

I received a further call from the school apologizing for the missing text (great).
I informed the teacher of the schools intention to finish the punishment the next day at dinnertime, the teacher asked my permission for this, which I explained was not necessary as I’d carried it out myself and informed the teacher of the punishment. I saw no need for further punishment.

The teacher disagreed (fair enough), but I reiterated it was not necessary. The teacher then reminded me of the agreement! (a low blow in my opinion, and attempt at authoritarian one-up-manship). I said fine, then I no longer agree to the terms of the agreement, and that my new terms were that my express permission was required to detain my daughter.

The teacher then said, well we don’t really need your permission to detain her in school hours, ie; dinnertime detention. I said fine, if your going to get pedantic, all’s that will happen is that I will leave work early tomorrow, pick Ellie up at the start of dinner, and drop her off at the end ready for the next class. The teacher said, well, its school policy not to let the children off school premisses during school hours, I said, fine, if your going to be pedantic, policies are rules, and those rules don’t apply to me as a parent.

I can fully see the conflict I was getting into, and that my ego was getting heavily involved, but at the end of the day, I’d sorted the punishment out, and was happy for future punishments to be dished out by the school provided I was properly informed, I really don’t see the point in the school further punishing ‘my child’?????

The school already has an 8 foot fence all around it to keep the pedophiles out?????
And they have a biometrics system for getting food at dinnertime (my daughter does not participate).

My opinion (rightly or wrongly, or deluded) is that the schools seem to be pushing for a power grab, its already like she’s ‘their daughter’ and not mine in school hours?????

I am the ultimate authority over my daughter not the school surely?????
She is not 16 yet. and its my responsibility, not the schools, but with the help of the school as a public service to prepare my daughter for adulthood surely?????

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Pazza's avatar

@flutherother
With respect,
she has leaned it.
and I don’t understand how I have undermined the schools discipline?

She didn’t get away with anything, and believe me, she has shit-ten tonight.
And tomorrow she has an apology to administer. And I will be ringing the school to make sure, or further punishment will be administered.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
JLeslie's avatar

Ok, I would be pissed the school is so disorganized and unaware of what is going on, but not annoyed about the detention. I definitely would not make detention a power play, I would simply tell the school I support the detention, but worry about my daughter’s safety walking home. Is there a compromise for what time of day the detention is given since she must walk through a dangerous place. Maybe the answer is when she receives detention she does not walk home and she must wait for you or a family member or friend to pick her up. It is up to you to make sure she is aware she cannot walk through that area during dark hours and she must be sure to arrange transport in cases like these.

I am pretty sure what you signed is more of an advisory of what the school does, rather than like a hard core contract. You are signing that you are aware of their policies now. That’s my guess.

flutherother's avatar

“I informed the school that in future, permission asked for, that I would have no problems with detentions, provided I thought they were justified.”

I think this tends to undermine the school’s discipline in your daughter’s eyes particularly. The poor communication is another matter, but you should be able to sort this out with the school.

Pazza's avatar

@SavoirFaire
who says they don’t need my permission?
please show me the law (not a statute requiring consent to be enforceable by law).
Sorry to be pedantic.

My problem is I know the difference between LEGAL and lawful, LEGAL FICTION, CORPORATION and flesh and blood living under common law human being.

This tends to add fuel to my wrangalings with CORPORATIONS more commonly know as schools.

I digress mildly.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza Don’t take this the wrong way, because I respect that we are talking about how you raise and care for your daughter, but do you tend to be very controlling and angry? You seem to have a lot of “shoulds” which is common among people who are easily angered. This is not about laws, it’s just detention for a teenager, the school might be very willing to work with your concerns about her safety, that is one thing, whether she should have detention is separate. I know my mom would have been annoyed she had to go out of her way to pick me up if I was unable to walk home because of the late hour and that would have been an added thing I felt badly about, putting others out because I misbehaved. Nothing wrong with a kid feeling badly about that.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s a public school. It sounds as if you are looking for special treatment. Special treatment comes with a private school (if the type to give into whims of parents), or homeschool.

No public school in my region asks permission of the parent(s) for handing out detentions. Nor do they inform the parent they’ve given out a detention in any way. That is up to the individual student to do.

Your daughter needs to abide by the school rules. You grounded your daughter? That’s your discipline, not the school’s. Why should they care how you’re handling this matter at home?

I still see no reason why you are getting involved in this at all.

Pazza's avatar

@flutherother
Fair point, but I know my own child, and she is more afraid now that I’ve been on to the school.
I have also reiterated why she is in school, and that she should be respectful to all whilst there, and I know she understands this. I’m 100% certain she won’t see it as a license to misbehave, and once the meeting with the school is set up, she will be attending, and will know the school will still be able to dish out punishments.

At the end of the day, the only way the school will not be able to administer a punishment, is if I’m certain Ellie is being unfairly treated, or if I’m certain she hasn’t done anything wrong.

All’s I’m saying is that I am the ultimate judge, not the school.

The school needs to understand this, but they give me the impression that the want full control. Not happening.

SpatzieLover's avatar

All’s I’m saying is that I am the ultimate judge, not the school.

The school needs to understand this, but they give me the impression that the want full control. Not happening.

You enrolled your daughter in a public school. Schools have policies, procedures and rules. Each teacher has to abide by these, as do the students.

A teacher felt your daughter deserved a detention. This is most likely how the teacher enforces the rules of his/her class. Period. End of story.

Pazza's avatar

@JLeslie
Are you a psychologist? lol.
No, I’m not easily angered, I have a very long fuse, but I also feel passionately about parents being the ultimate authority over their children.

Do you?

@SpatzieLover
Why should they care?
Because its my daughter, not the governments!

Policies are rules. They apply to my daughter because I consent to them, and that means they can’t be bent, ie; the parent intervening in a punishment.

What if the school policy handed down by government was that when punished, a child had to sit in the corner of the class in a monkey suit with a banana skin on their head all day?
At what point is enough, enough?

Would you just say, well, rues is rules. Period. End of story?

Ps. Do you have any kids?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Pazza I homeschool my son. I went to public school. As I stated above, when I got a detention, even when they were given to me unfairly, I just did the detention.

Some teachers give out detentions like candy. One of the homeroom/study hall teachers in my HS kept the book in his pocket and would quietly hand out detentions to students without giving any warning.

As far as I’m concerned detentions are harmless.

Your daughter is the school’s student every weekday. You are attempting to override the school’s rules. This will not bode well for your daughter in the long run. She needs to learn how to handle this on her own, IMO.

You are being incredibly defensive over this. I felt @JLeslie‘s opinion was dead on. Look at this situation from a logical position, not an emotional one.

flutherother's avatar

You have ultimate responsibility for your daughter’s welfare but the school has a responsibility to ensure things run smoothly and that requires discipline. You seem very distrustful of the teachers and yet you have entrusted your daughter’s education to them. I don’t really understand your position. Your daughter’s education should be the number one priority. It will be for the school I am sure.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza You are the ultimate authority barring any heinous abuse of course, that is a given. The school is not usurping your authority by giving detention, this is where you miss I think. allowing another adult or authority figure to instruct and discipline your child without your specific permission about every little incident does not mean you have lost authority and final say over your children. I think it was @SpatzieLover who mentioned above that even if sometimes the school seemed to dole out a detention unfairly, we just accepted it. Detention is not suspension or expulsion. If a teacher read a situation a little wrong and gave detention to a group of kids, so be it, assuming it is not happening every day, there does not need to be parental interference. This is what happens in life. In this case your daughter did do something wrong so you have even less ground to stand on.

How does your daughter read the situation? I’m curious, because in the end that would be what matters right? Does she want out of the detention so she is glad you are battling the school? Does she wish you would just stop it and let her do her detention and let it be over with? Does she show overall respect for the teachers and has learned her lesson? The lesson is what matters, not whether you were the one in ultimate control of the lesson.

Shippy's avatar

@Pazza The duty of a school is to teach children to abide by the laws of institutions and society in general. Your authority is minimized in the process of teaching a child, and also teaching respect during the course of their day. Can you imagine the bedlam if all parents had to be asked if the school can carry out it’s correct functions each day in terms of discipline? I am even surprised they inform teachers. In my school day my parents didn’t know if I was in detention or not.

When your daughter gets older still, she will be involved with more institutions like work and or groups and they too have rules and laws unto themselves. Most parents have back up plans for days that do not run smoothly i.e. a child cannot get home, or gets sick at school and needs to be collected at a different time.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Pazza The specific citation for the law will depend on where you live. I seem to recall—though perhaps erroneously—that you are in England. If so, it’s the Education Act of 2011 that has precedence these days.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Pazza I’ve been watching in the shadows, if you don’t agree the the public schools RULES.

You can home school her or enter her in a private school.

Acting out in public or private school will be dealt with by the school. If you want to deal with the acting out yourself – home school her.

Pazza's avatar

@SpatzieLover
“As far as I’m concerned detentions are harmless.”

Your fully entitled to your opinion (or should I call it an inalienable right?).
I just happen to disagree.

@flutherother
Its a UK school.
Are you UK based?

Its a bit fuzzy, the school is the best in the area that I live, my daughter lives with me and not her mum (we separated when she was a baby).

And yes, I entrusted the school, but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. I maintain my position of being ultimate authority over my daughter.

I have no problems with the school educating my daughter. I just simply believe they overstepped their authority.

The way I see it, the only authority the school has, is that which is granted by me. If I want to remove my daughter from the school, I know that’s my prerogative, I also know that the school can tell me where to go, but that it would be harder for them (rules is rules).

The reason for my defensiveness is as I’ve previously stated:

I wasn’t informed,
I feared for the safety of my child,
I brought her home,
She was still punished.
The school knows this.
The school knows they won’t have problems disciplining in future provided my terms are met.

Our these terms ridiculous?
1 – I am to be informed.
2 – my express permission is required for detention. (detention will be given if justified).

Out of all the comments, I haven’t seen any good reasons why these wishes shouldn’t be respected?

I’d like to think that if one came up, I’d take it on board?
Unless I missed something.

@JLeslie
Finally. Many thanks.
My daughter would much rather do the time and me stay out of it. That’s fine, no child wants the embarrassment of an interfering parent, especially not in school.

And yes she does show overall respect to the teachers and her fellow students.
Example – Her friends in school were all ganging up on a student who self harm’s, and were bullying, they tried to get Ellie to do the same. Long story short, she stood her ground, told them all they were going too far, and that although they think Ellie should also ostracize the girl in question and no longer speak to her, Ellie stated that the girl had done nothing to her, and obviously had some serious issues. She risked being ostracized herself for a matter of principle and decency.

My interpretation of Ellie’s reading of the situation is as I’ve intermated earlier, is that she knows what she has done wrong, and will endeavor in her teenage ways to behave in the appropriate manor in school, which is what I drum into her on a regular basis.

And yes, I wholeheartedly agree, in the end, as long as she’s grows up respecting other people that’s all that matters.

Agree, the lesson is what matters, but again, since it is the lesson that matters, I believe as her father, I can over-ride the school if I see fit, and the situation that occurred, in my opinion warranted that over-ride

Also, the teachers always comment on her reports about how respectful she is. (she’s just a bit of a chatterbox…....)

poisonedantidote's avatar

Personally I think your terms are perfectly reasonable, I would go as far as saying they are the minimum you should expect.

I would also like to add, that detention simply does not work. I was given detention every single day for 3 years, over a topic that I refused to apologize for. Detention only finally ended when I went on to a higher level of education with different teachers. After more than 500 hours of detention, I did not feel any different about anything. All it does is delay life and cause inconvenience, it does not change people one bit, at least in my opinion.

Giving students detention, specially past the age of 10, is just a good way of making sure they see you as an enemy, and end up keying your car when you are not looking. It makes the student less likely to be compliant and less likely to learn.

Pazza's avatar

@Tropical_Willie
I have to work. 4 kids, 1 wage.
No money for private school.
No time for home school.
I will continue utilizing the public service if you don’t mind.
And I will continue to inform them when I think they’ve crossed the line.
Rules can be changed.

Again to address some points above, in my day, a letter was sent out stating the reason for a detention, and a signature was required by the parents to give consent. I see no problem with that system.

Detention nowadays is like a telling-off, in my day, it was a ‘big fuck-off’ incident, and many a student including myself shuddered at the prospect of their parents finding out that they would be getting ditto!.

Acting out can be dealt with by the school, but there has to be a line. Where is that line?
For me they crossed it, I told them. Simples.
Ultimately, who do they work for?

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza I guess what I would say lastly is why override when it is not that big of a deal? And, you said yourself mostly you would agree with the detention. Choose your battles. You could easily become the annoying parent. The parent the school does not want to deal with so they ignore your daughter misbehaving when it would be best for her they didn’t.

Hopefully, your meeting with the school will go well, and I am a little overzealous in my evaluation of your attitude about the whole situation. My only advice is give the school a chance, don’t assume they are trying to control you. This is about you and them at this point in my opinion, not your daughter. Power struggle. You can be the example for your daughter of how to solve disagreements with this if the school is indeed reasonable, you can show her keeping your heels dug in is not necessary when there is communication.

If the policy of the school is to not notify parents when a child is given detention I think you will have to live with that or fight it a different way.

Let us know how the meeting goes.

Pazza's avatar

@SavoirFaire
Sorry. Being pedantic again.
Act = statute
My understanding of a statute = A legislative rule of society given the force of law by consent of the governed.

My understanding of a society = The dominant members of a community who come together to communicate and deliberate for some common purpose.

This is the crux of my problem, and my stance on the education system.

I, and my daughter, are not members of the law society, the rules of that society do not apply without consent. A school ultimately is a corporation, within that system, the people working believe my daughter is a legal fiction bound by policies.

Anyway, schools have to abide by policies handed down by the master corporation or government in power as they are better known. Bigger corporations still influence government policy by funding said government, hence, the stupid situation where in the UK, schools and hospitals have chocolate vending machines and biometric scans, and then wonder why the kids a hypo, and the patients are getting worse.

Im rambling I know, but, in the US kids are getting tased and pepper sprayed in schools for not ‘complying’ with private security officers with no ‘oaths of office’.

Ultimately, I want my daughter to grow up respectful of other people, to live under the common law principles of loss and harm, but to not blindly comply with every tom dick and harry that says they have authority over her.

In my daughters school they already have “exclusion zones” where kids are put in a glass walled room until they calm down?

In my day, you just got taken out of the class and had you ear chewed off.

Example, 3rd year seniors, I said jokingly to one of the teachers, “why are you always showing off to the girls sir?” Not realising the implications, I was marched out of the classroom for a severe telling off.

Needless to say it never happened again. And no need for a detention.

On another occasion, I was in scouts, my parents had entrusted my safety with them, and they also had rules…...........

I called my make a dick-head whilst on parade, and a new overlord heard me. she frogmarched me back to the scout hut, and made me bite the corner off of a bar of soap. (so-as to wash my mouth out).

She did not inform my father.
She didn’t believe she had to.
I was an institution with policies.

Never-the-less, my dad gave the woman a severe talking too when I told him what happened, and he also rollocked me for swearing.

I think this is the lesson I’m trying to teach my daughter.
It makes sense to me.

Yes, you can chastise my child to a degree, but there is a line, and don’t cross it!.

Pazza's avatar

@JLeslie
“This is about you and them at this point in my opinion, not your daughter. Power struggle”
Yes.

“You can be the example for your daughter of how to solve disagreements with this if the school is indeed reasonable, you can show her keeping your heels dug in is not necessary when there is communication.”
Yes.
My intention is to communicate with the school. I’ve always had a good relationship with them. Ellie knows this.

“If the policy of the school is to not notify parents when a child is given detention I think you will have to live with that or fight it a different way.”
My intention is to state to the school my wishes about the minimum protocol I believe necessary to move forward. I’m fully aware they can refuse, and I do not wish to get into a fight with them. Ellie has til next summer, then she’s in the big wide world.

What ever happens, I will endeavor to conduct myself with respect towards the school and all its staff. the situation above is not something that happens all the time, nor does my daughter receive many school punishments. I simply felt that line had been crossed.

Pazza's avatar

@poisonedantidote
I was beginning to think it was just me lol…...

@SavoirFaire
Thanks for the input. I shall be taking a look at that act.

Pazza's avatar

Off to beddington.
Thanks for all the input and opinions.

Laterz.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Sunny2's avatar

I thought it was a mother talking. Is it a father?

Kropotkin's avatar

I think you were too calm and polite in dealing with the school—at least be passive aggressive with them.

I also think you should have supported your daughter more. “Disrupting class” is pure nonsense and doesn’t justify what amounts to false imprisonment. Most schools by their nature are regimented, authoritarian and hierarchical. The fascistic nature of these schools create environments that are conducive to aggression and dysfunctionality, while suppressing any “undesirable” and dissenting behaviour through ridiculous punishments and shaming.

This nature of the school institution distorts the educational role that teachers are meant to play, and instead places them more as glorified prison guards, constantly suppressing behaviours they deem to undermine their authority. It’s something of a vicious cycle; the very authoritarianism deemed necessary to suppress and punish “disruptive” behaviours is also the cause of those behaviours.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Sunny2 See this where he says “My Wife”

Sunny2's avatar

Oops. Reading too fast again. Sorry. I think my comments stand regardless..

Pazza's avatar

@Sunny2 – LOL. Pazza is just a nick-name I had when I was a kid based on my surname.
But I think I probably am a bit crazy (but not feminine!....)

My understanding is that:
Any government agency speaks ‘legalise’ not English.
A society is not the countries community as a whole, but the dominant members of a community. Any group of people can form a society, and have its own set of rules. The law society for instance is a society that has rules and its own language known as legalese.
If you look into the freeman movement it may become clearer.

Anyway, this leads me to the problem I have with school. The people who work there all think that statutes and policies apply to everyone, and that everyone should abide by them.
The problem is, that statutes apply to ‘PERSONS’ and ‘LEARNERS’ the word person and learner have specific definitions in legalese, and defining any individual as a person or learner gives them specific rights and duties under statute legislation. Also I’m not trying to emphasise the words by typing them in capitals, the fact that they are in capital also gives them specific definitions within the LEGAL system. I don’t profess to know them all, but what I do know, is that LEGAL and lawful are as different as chalk and cheese.

So I have a problem and get very vexed when a government institution tries to tell me that the have more say over what happens with my daughter than I do.

@Kropotkin – A lot more was said in the phone conversations I had with the school, I had another call from one of the schools year-heads whom I get on with very well, she said the school still wanted Ellie to finish the detention the next day at dinner, I said sorry not happening. She said, well to be blunt/honest (words to that effect) that the school doesn’t need my consent to detain my daughter in school hours. I said fine, if your going to play that game, alls that will happen, is that I will leave work early, pick Ellie up at the beginning of dinner, and drop her off after dinner ready for the afternoon lessons. She said its not school policy (i love that word!) to allow ‘learners’ (i hate that word!) off school premises during school hours!, to which I replied “this is not nazi germany you know!”, as if the school was a prison camp that owned children during school hours??????. I said, you already have an 8 foot fence all round the school to make it look like a prison camp…..

Anyway,
She apologised for the non informance (the missing text), and also asked my permission to detain my daughter the next day at dinner to which I replied, no, because I’ve already dealt with the situation, as I’ve already told you, my daughter is to write a letter of apology to the teacher of the class she disrupted and deliver it in person (a more constructive punishment I thought).

The last thing I left the school with was that my daughter was not to be detained in future without my express permission, she wasn’t happy and gave me the distinct impression that they would be administering punishment the next day at dinner. I left them with the distinct impression that I would take the matter further if they did.

Later that evening I had a lengthly conversation with my daughter once I’d calmed down, and explained the whole situation with her, and said that I was leaving up to her whether or not she submitted to the detention.

On arriving home the next night after work, Ellie had delivered the letter in person which was greeted with a smile by the teacher, and that non of the other teachers had spoken to her about the matter or even mentioned the dinnertime detention.

Lastly, agree with your statement about disrupting the class, the only reason I gave my daughter a verbal spanking over that issue, is that, at the end of the day, whilst she is disrupting the class she isn’t listening. From that perspective I think it’s a mater of respect for the teacher, but in mitigation, if the teacher isn’t keeping the children interested, then this is what is going to happen.

Can I ask why you hold the opinions you hold?
And what brought you to them?

chyna's avatar

You seem to be blaming everyone else for your daughter disrupting class. Now it is the teachers fault she isn’t keeping the children interested? Children should be taught accountablility from an early age. You seem to be showing her that you will step in and get her out of trouble and make excuses for her. I absolutely know you will not agree with me on this accessment of your situation, but I’m just telling how it sounds to an outsider.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Pazza “My feeling is that the school still wants to further punish my daughter, I see no ultimate reason for this, other than the school trying to flex its own muscles?”

Some thoughts:

Sorry if this has been addressed already but your daughter should see the school as the executor of your will in such matters. If she can always defer to you to get out of school trouble, it makes you seem like a scapegoat and the school as a false authority undeserving of her full respect.

You say there’s a deep dark alley full of monsters to cross on the way home and you don’t want her out late. That’s a fairly legit concern. I hate monsters myself. But if that’s the case, you should let the school handle punishment in some other way outside of afterschool detentions rather than taking their jobs away as school-misfit-punishers.

Teachers/principals/school boards etc.. have a lot of education in the matter of punishment for childhood misdeeds. Feel free to monitor their punishment methods of course, but you should really be able to trust their education and experience in these matters. If you don’t trust them, then get her out of that school. But if they have the skills to deal punishments appropriately on their own then you should trust them. They probably want to do it because they truly believe they have a child-specific strategy that can help your child.

Your daughter stands to benefit from respecting the school as an authority under your approval and command. Rather than as a problem that she can be saved from by crying to papa.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Pazza For as long as I remember, I’ve had a somewhat questioning and sceptical predisposition in regard to authority and its various forms, whether it’s the way an institution is organised or how individuals conduct themselves and believe they have power to dominate and order others around. Around my mid to late teens, I became aware of various research in sociology and psychology regarding authoritarian institutions and personality types and I also became attracted to anarchism as a political philosophy.

I guess I’ve always had some romantic attraction to more radical concepts of freedom and autonomy and found the sort of institutional contraints we put on ourselves to be suppressive of our humanness.

In regard to schooling. I think the strict regimentation and the lack of personal autonomy to be absolutely harmful. The teacher-“learner” relationship is an insult that I regard to be little better than that of a master-slave, or a boss-employee. What our schools are doing is destroying the souls of children and suppressing natural inquisitiveness. They are reproducing submissive, uncritical consumers who learn to defer to authority and accept forms of social domination with little to no questioning and little to no dissent—in fact many even support and rationalise it. It’s a bit like the Stockholm Syndrome writ large.

Education should be a much more informal and autonomous experience. Homework should be abolished. The priggish, extra-judicial punishments should be abolished. Teachers should be referred to by their first name and not be given any special powers to discipline or punish. Exams should be abolished. Education should be open, informal, voluntary and a shared experience where solidarity and cooperation are encouraged and children and teachers all learn from each other without the ridiculous confines of curricula, timetables and priggish domination.

The UK and other nations would do well in emulating the Finnish model, and I think even they’re not radical enough.

The sad irony is, your daughter will probably have to at least show the outward appearance of submission and accept the irrationalities and insanities of the system in order to “succeed” academically.

Pazza's avatar

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/video/schoolboy-dunce-jacket-row-182600800.html

It would appear that the schools in some areas are trying to move the line.

(my apologies for the advert at the beginning….....)

@Kropotkin – I meet a lot of ‘sheeple’ these days. My sentiments exactly.
Fortunately, my daughter is in her last year. I don’t see many problems between now and her finishing school. However, my youngest 3 are just embarking on their journey through de-educational madness, and if the above link is anything to go by, I may be in for a bumpy ride.

It is very sad that to survive in society, conformance now seems to equal acceptance.
The sheep no longer need a sheep dog, they round themselves up.

A thought I had a couple of months ago caused me to come up with the following question for people to ask themselves,

“do you ever feel like the black sheep at the edge of the herd with a white coat on afraid to take it off?”

I fear that not many do.
And I fear the ones that do, are indeed too afraid to take it off.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Sheeple

noun

1 A portmanteau of “sheep” and “people” used by conspiracy theorists when they lose a debate.

Dave: “And that concludes my proof that 1 + 1 = 2.”
Alan: “Whatever. Math is for sheeple.”

2 Two words combined in a desperate attempt to sound clever, most often thrown around by people who fit the definition of the very thing they’re railing against.

“I can’t believe you sheeple don’t even realize that the government is putting fluoride in the water to turn us all into Communists! I’m the only intelligent person here. All of you people who think you are intelligent are deluding yourselves. But not me. I really am intelligent. You can tell because I called you all sheeple.”

Shippy's avatar

Unfortunately you are teaching your daughter to question authority. That can lead to major issues particularly if the parent also has issues with authority.

I don’t say that in a nasty way, just for you to ponder on. I respect that you are bringing up kids alone, it is not easy. :)

Kropotkin's avatar

@Pazza This article on why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as mentally ill should go further in explaining not only the perceptions of the teachers you’ve had to deal with, but also some of the very responses that you’ve had to your question!

Pazza's avatar

Solitary Confinement? Parents concerned over school’s use of Isolation Booth

@JLeslie – Had a conversation with the year head I mentioned further up.
The up-shot of which, was that the school and I have come to an understanding.
That understanding is that the school will inform me by phone when they want to give my daughter a detention. The year head also informed me that she had sent a memo out to all of my daughters teachers to that affect.

So it would seem the school can by-pass its own policies and come to a compromise with a parent.

@Shippy – Unfortunately for whom?
Sorry if this is a bit sharp, but your damb straight I’m teaching my daughter to question authority.

Its a lack of questioning of authority that gives rise to unethical behaviour in the future, “its not my fault, I was just following orders”, “if I hadn’t have done as I was told, I’d have lost my job”

My father used to be a long distance driver driving a heavy goods vehical up and down the country, the company regularly pushed him to drive more than his legal limit of hours which is registered on a ‘tachograph’ in the vehicals cab. Had he been caught, it would have been him, and not the firm that committed a crime. Fortunately for other road users, my father regularly questioned his seniors and refused. He was regularly threatened that if he didn’t do as asked, there were plenty of other drivers who would. My father was amongst a very few individuals that stood their ground, and fortunately he found another job and left.

The guy who was pushing drivers to drive over their hours would probably argue that if he didn’t push the drivers, the goods would not be delivered and they would loose work, and ultimately fold. A fair point you might say, right up until the point that one of the drivers careeres off the road and wipes out a family traveling home one evening.

I find it very unfortunate that the system we all have to use to survive puts monetary gain above human life. This is entirely backward to me.

So yes, I teach my daughter to be respectful, and when asked to contribute to her local community, whether that be the school, at home, at her freinds, or at work when she leaves school and finds employment, that she does as asked for the good, and betterment of that community and herself as tribes do, but when doing so, to recognise when she is being asked to do something questionable, or unethical, and question the reasons as to why she is being asked to do what she is being asked, and if that is detrimental to the community, to flat out refuse.

Shippy's avatar

To question laws and community at large is good. I have done it most of my life and have always been in trouble for it. When I was diagnosed as bipolar on my Psychiatrists writing note pad, it has there stormy relationships, aggressive behavior constantly questions authority.

I really did well in my industry for always swimming against the tide. I created new rules which they used in new sales models. But when legislation hit the financial industry my new wave thinking was ordered. Since rule breaking then became a subject of “crime”. We were so closely monitored that any new or innovative thinking was stamped out. This was for the protection of the public and quite rightly so.

When I was at school I was a cheeky shit. But a good person, I had a good heart and most of it was done out of fun or standing up for myself (for various reasons I won’t go into here).

I took the punishment. Even if my mom thought I was a perfect kid, I knew I had to take the punishment. This develops a balanced way of looking at life. It creates logic and reasoning. Like a criminal that steals a bag, he might be hungry and helping his kids, but he still takes the punishment. Society is not here to serve our flighty ways, we should be thinking of how we can better serve society. Or be examples to people or to even just one person.

Remember you wont always be around, our gift to our children is to create strong individuals who can take what life dishes out, sometimes in crazy ways, and deal with it. There are fine lines sure, and its a huge topic. But its detention not a life sentence in prison for a crime a person did not commit.

I just see (and not meaning you) more and more lawless kids daily. They are all over the place. They have no respect for elders. They think they can say what they wish. Behave how they want. When our youth is like this, I feel sad for the country at large.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Pazza you’re link above about isolation booths is about special needs children & how some school districts are being questioned in regards to “treatment methods” ....I know this well, as it’s something I help fight against.

Once again, this has nothing to do with your question at hand which is about you daughter serving out a detention.

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