10.15.2008

What Would YOU Do?

Sheridan's class went on a field trip last Tuesday. I didn't find out about it until Friday afternoon ... when Sheridan casually mentioned something about going in her teacher's blue car.


"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?", I asked Sheridan in my calmest of angry voices, not wanting to scream at her for reasons she doesn't understand.

"We went in my teacher's blue car for a Golu visit", she says in her high pitched squeaky voice.

"And where was this Golu visit?", I asked.

"At somebody's house. I don't know who it was", she said.


No notice home to let me know that she was going on a field trip. No permission slip to ask me if it's okay for her to leave the school grounds. No information about the transportation to "said" location. No idea that my daughter would be riding in the back of some teacher's car with no car seat, no seat belt, no parental supervision.

Um yeah, I'm beyond angry. I'm livid, irate, and completely incapable of words to describe my unbelievable exasperation. What if something happened? What if...

I spoke with the head teacher at Sheridan's school yesterday and told her how upset I was to learn about their field trip from my three year old daughter. I let her know that we don't let Sheridan ride without a car seat. I also told her that as her mother I demand to know when she will not be on the preschool's grounds. It's not exactly as if driving here is safe.

Her response, "Well we didn't let them ride in the front seat. They were in the back with another teacher."

My retort, "Well that's still not acceptable. The next time you have a field trip I will either accompany you or send my driver to take her in her car seat. Otherwise, she's not allowed to go. And that's how we do things in our household."

I walked away shaking. I really like the school, but this is one area where they made a very bad decision. I've heard from other parents that this has happened several times in years past, and usually an expat parent or two has had some choice words for the director. Surprisingly, this year, I'm one of the few parents who actually care that this happened. Must be the American in me.

Oh I hope this is the last time... I shudder to think what I will say or do if there is ever a next time.

44 comments:

Robin said...

The driving around (without a carseat!) in strange cars would definitely have flipped me out. The not knowing about the field trip at all would have flipped me out a few years ago, but after the first few times I got used to it. At least here in my town (in Israel, for those who don't know me) it's always on foot to someplace right in the neighborhood (and only very rarely). Still can't get used to the whole "no permission slip" thing though. At least once they get to elementary school here (which means day-long field trips with coach buses) they do send letters home and require written permission.

Simple Answer said...

No way. Uh-uh. Not okay. Nope. You were right, they were wrong. I'm proud of you. I think I would've drawn blood.

Mom24 said...

Oh my golly, when I read your first sentence I literally got chills. I guess you're not in Kansas Toto, right? I'm so glad you spoke up. Don't let anyone convince you that's OK, it's not OK.

I love that--my calmest of angry voice--that's right about when my kids realize oops, I said something wrong here, I think I'll clam up now.

It would take me a while to get over this one. I certainly hope they don't put you in a horrible position and do it again.

Danie said...

If that had happened in the US, I would've been angry. Happening in India...I would have come unhinged completely. Completely unacceptable.

Kat said...

Oh, wow. I can't imagine not letting parents know that you are going to go somewhere! I am livid right there with you.

Wep said...

OMG that is so unbelievably wrong. You should report them!

trashalou said...

I would have been livid too but I guess it is one of those cultural things. At least you have outlined your expectations now (fingers crossed it doesn't happen again - I hate bloodshed)

trashalou said...

I would have been livid too but I guess it is one of those cultural things. At least you have outlined your expectations now (fingers crossed it doesn't happen again - I hate bloodshed)

Tanya said...

I would have been livid too. Our kids have always worn seatbelts even when we moved to Samoa where babies are often seen being carried in the front seat by the driver...scarey considering the non existent driving skills! By the time we moved to Singapore the boys were teenagers and still putting their seat belts on even in the back seat of a taxi (thats if they had ones that worked). Now we are in Cambodia our youngest who still lives with us (big brother has moved back to NZ to go to uni and get a job) still puts his seatbelt on unconsciously...we all do....even though noone else seems to expats included! Common sense. as for a school outing without informing the parents where do i even begin!!!! you did the right thing i would have gone balistic!

Owens Family Adventures said...

OH HELL TO THE NO!!! I would be livid as well. That is your child and you have the right.....the ABSOLUTE RIGHT to know where she is and who she is with. Man oh man, I'm mad for you! hmph!
dawn

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh I would have reacted just the same way. And let me tell you as a school secretary, so would a few parents here in Okieland, if we were to do that here!

I imagine the road conditions are not dis-similar to Turkey, a country I know well. There getting a driving license is basically a bribe, they are terrifying drivers and ambulances take an hour to show!

Donna said...

I still remember when my first son's preschool in Kazakhstan decided to put a little pool in next to the front door of the school. They couldn't understand why the American moms were so upset - it's just a little pool, they said... and we're always watching the kids, so nothing could happen... We fought for a pool cover, and though they thought we were crazy, they put one in, because they didn't want to lose our tuition.

Stick to what you know is right. Even if you have to go beyond your quietest angry voice and yell a little.

jewelstreet said...

That is just plain nuts! How unsafe! I don't know if I could trust them again.

Hyphen Mama said...

WOW--that would have infuriated me. I don't let my daughter ride in friend's parent's cars WITH a car seat. And that's in Suburbia.

Is this a cultural thing? Are Americans the only ones who are this freaky about our kids?

I'm not sure I'd trust that it wouldn't happen again, but I'm REALLY glad you voiced your ground rules!

Kathryn said...

Holy crap! That would completely freak me out. Where did they go? Whose house was it? Why didn't they ask first? How can they have your child leave the school grounds without your permission? So crazy!
You absolutely did the right thing!

Michelle said...

Yeah, that's totally not okay. America is usually over-the-top about safety and what-not when it comes to school, but it's for good reason. I can't imagine what would have happened if there was an accident! How would you have been notified??

That's so frustrating for you.

P.S. I'm also frustrated at my son's school for their lack of communication today. It's in my blog for today, too.

The Mom said...

HOLY COW! You did the right thing, what if something had happened, you would have NO idea where your child was! I am livid for you and I'm shocked they were so blase about the whole thing!

Suzanne said...

It is a cultural thing I'm sure and you did exactly the right thing by letting them know YOUR standards.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Kim said...

My heart was in my throat reading this.. I would think it is def a cultural thing, but it does not give them the right to do stuff like that without your permission..

Jogging In Circles

Jen said...

I totally agree with you. You should know at all time where your children are and if some one is going to take your child somewhere they should get your permission. I hope that it doesn't happen again.

Also, thanks for the birthday wish.

Kelly said...

Jill, I would have reacted the exact same way...I can't believe the head teacher just blew off your concerns!!

What did your husband say about this?

Joyce said...

Hi...I totally support your feelings and your response. How awful!

Just yesterday I took a day off from work so that I can drive Trinity (my 2 1/2 year old) to a local field trip to a pumpkin patch. She just started at that school, so I really did not know the other parents that well to allow another parent to drive my child. Or the fact that they would install her carseat the same way I would. Hearing your story made me completely ill.

Michelle said...

Is that typical for over there? To just go on field trips like that w/out the parents knowing? Maybe they didn't think it was a big deal since that is how they do things, but I'm with you! I would have done the same thing!

CC said...

I jound your blog via BATW and I'm so happy I did. If you're not a writer, you should be..your blog is just wonderful and I have so enjoyed my visit. I hope you don't mind if I come back to visit..and follow your story.
P.S. I am from Texas
CC
lacenribbonroses.blogspot.com/

mary said...

Oh my God! I find it shocking that you were the only parent who said anyhing. I hope it doesn't happen again!

Nifty Adventures into Denmark said...

Stumbled upon your blog. What an amazing journey you are on. I can't wait to read more. Yikes, I would have done the same thing.

Shannon said...

Totally NOT ok!!!! What the....??!??! That just boggles my mind... maybe more so the fact that the head teacher was so nonchalant about it. Like YOU were overreacting or something. Whoa.


AND thank you so much for my birthday greetings yesterday! :())

C said...

Oh, I don't blame you one bit! I would be BEYOND pissed. Everything that you mentioned is completely not okay, and nor is the fact that they went to someone's house that you didn't know! Ridiculous. I get that there are cultural differences and all, but being an international school, they should take that into consideration and do things a little differently.

~Christy

C said...

Oh, I don't blame you one bit! I would be BEYOND pissed. Everything that you mentioned is completely not okay, and nor is the fact that they went to someone's house that you didn't know! Ridiculous. I get that there are cultural differences and all, but being an international school, they should take that into consideration and do things a little differently.

~Christy

Diane Mandy said...

That is really unbelievable! What will you do if it happens again?

Tenakim said...

Wow, is the school run by Americans? That would so NOT go down, here!

Mamasphere said...

I would have been FURIOS! Especially since they've had experience with upset parents in the past.

It doesn't matter what the heck they think of your expectations- it's their job to abide by them. How frickin hard is it to notify you of a field trip?!

Brasilians think car seats are pointless, and I have to fight tooth and nail to use one when I'm there. It's such a battle with the grandparents, but one I'm willing to fight. MY kids, MY rules. Period.

Well, now they know. I hope they also know what's best for them and tell you ahead of time next time.

Rhea said...

I would be LIVID. That's totally unacceptable.

Here we have to sign at least two forms before our kids can leave the school for a field trip...and parents are brought in as chaperons.

Eve Grey said...

I am SOOO with you on this. I go mental when other people (in-laws, bless their hearts) take the kids in the car without their car seats or booster seats. Yes, I am AWARE we didn't have them as kids. It's called PROGRESS. It's called studies on the hundreds of deaths and head injuries on unrestrained children. Whew. Fire coming out my ears right now!

Andrea said...

I would likely have completely lost it, thought about removing them from school.. the whole bit. I would definitely be giving them a piece of my mind.

I'm so glad nothing happened. You have to stand up for your kids, it's not like they are old enough to say wait, I'm not supposed to do this!

Kudos Momma Bear :)

karey m. said...

eek. my heart is racing a bit.

it's funny, isn't it? when we're faced with the american in us? and i say that meaning we're products of information. we know EXACTLY what will happen in an accident if a babe isn't buckled properly. because we're told over and over and over and over again {with photos!} so that we fully understand the information.

other cultures, i've found, don't get bombarded with the same info. you know? does that make sense?

i think it's why everyone here smokes non-stop. lung cancer? what are the odds of that?

women rarely get mammograms. breast cancer? what are the odds of that?

and most babes sit in their mom's lap. in the front seat of the car.

baby airbags are all the rage. didn't you know?

sorry about this...ugh.

angie said...

I would definitely have been beyond irate. So scary when you think of what ifs.......and you didn't even know she wasn't at school!

mommaof4wife2r said...

i'm fairly easy going about stuff...but, NO FLIPPING WAY!!! strangers houses and no car seats and no warning or approval. yikes. get out the crazy glue and glue me down b4 i lose it!

WheresMyAngels said...

Yeah, I would have alot of issues with that.

Tara R. said...

I can totally understand your anger. I would have been livid too. Totally unsatisfactory.

Heidi said...

I think you have read it like 40 times before I could say it, but What tha ....? Girl, I would be just like you. I don't even know what to say.

ElfTea said...

WTF: I would have done the same thing. Depending how much my child learned at the school or how much I needed ($) to keep them in that school I would have taken them out once I found out it happened before. You did fine. The other parents might not know what happened...

-Bridget said...

Holy cow! That's nuts! It still amazes me what some find acceptable, no matter what part of the world you are in. But that is beyond bad judgement. I hope they heard your instructions loud and clear and there won't be a next time.

Sydney said...

Frustration totally justified. Unbelievable.
(note to self... remember this story next time daycare forgets to send a daily report home)

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