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Old 03-03-2009, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 6,125,493 times
Reputation: 3481

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyan1635 View Post
My daughter's teacher and the principal at her school are upset with me because I took my daughter's writing journal home to review over the weekend. I emailed and called the school on a Friday to request the journal. Both the teacher and the principal were not there (this was during the school day when I emailed & called). When my daughter was picked up that day, I instructed her grandmother to bring me the journal to review. I sent it back Monday morning with her. I sent a note attached to the journal and also emailed the teacher about taking the journal. The principal told me it was inappropriate. Here is her reason:

Federal law controls the access of student records. Parents have a right to see records upon following proper procedures. Viewing or making copies in the presence of school employees would be appropriate. To due otherwise could compromise the records of others. That is why it is inappropriate.

I did not consider the journal to be "student records". It is just my daughter's school work and I wanted to see it. It is not ever sent home. To see it I would have to go to the school. My company is experiencing lay offs and I have had to miss a lot of work due to my kid's & my own illnesses. I was not able to take extra time off to go to the school. I do not see anything wrong with taking the journal to review it and sending it back the next day. I don't think I should have to view it in there presence. What do the other parents/teachers say?
The school is defining FERPA kind of weirdly, and possibly incorrectly. That having been said, I think it's possibly a bit much for either party to draw a line in the sand over a kindergarten journal.

For more definition of FERPA:

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyan1635 View Post
Yes I am very serious, and seriously fed up. It is a public school and I am facing the decision of having to move my daughter to a new school for next year because I just don't think I can take any more of this. I have had a previous post called Problem with Kindergarten Teacher that you can read if you want the background. We had a conference with the teacher & principal at the end of January, and since that time, my daughter gets on "blue" a whole lot more than she did before the conference. I thought everything went well at the conference, but the teacher is upset apparantly and taking it out on my child and now this as well in my opinion.

But when I ask my daughter if she likes her school, she says yes and that she doesn't want to change schools. So I am torn on what to do.
If there's a question of retribution, then that's a serious issue and needs addressed immediately. As for whether or not your daughter wants to change schools...if there's a compelling reason to do so, I don't know that I'd let a 5 or 6 year old have veto rights, or even a vote.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
427 posts, read 1,202,817 times
Reputation: 351
If your daughter is worried about changing schools take her on a tour of the other school and see if she can spend a day in the class. She is probably afraid of change, but it is better to change schools now vs. when she is older.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:18 AM
 
26,498 posts, read 44,439,204 times
Reputation: 13644
what you don't understand is that your daughter is a student at this school---
just like you are an employee at your job
if your mother when to your job and said she wanted to take home your file--would your employer let her--you know they would not

I don't know how your mother GOT the journal to take home...I think that is the issue--she was not given permission obviously--so technically whether you like it or not--what she did was not sanctioned by the school--it was wrong...
the issue is privacy of other students--maybe these are kept in a bin all lumped together--so when your grandmother went to pick it up, she COULD have read any of them--not saying she did--or taken any others--that is a definite NO-NO...
maybe students write things they don't want parents to read--some kindergarten kids have problems because of their parents...
I think you are indicating that you maybe have some control issues of your own...
but then I am retired teacher...
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:47 AM
 
247 posts, read 597,007 times
Reputation: 195
If I may reply from a teacher's perspective...

First of all, I think the reasoning you got from the principal is inappropriate and not really relevant here at all, so I would say it wasn't the right response. That said, although you did contact the teacher/school, you took it upon yourself to go get the journal after not hearing back. As a teacher, that would likely bother me too. I am not saying you should have to take off work and come to school to view it, I think the journal should be sent home upon request. The school might just be wishing that you had received word back from them first.

It's also a matter of precedent. You were considerate enough to send the journal back on Monday. If parents started taking kids' materials and were not as conscientious, kids would start missing materials when they needed them.

I believe the best education for kids comes when there is a strong connection between home and school, full disclosure, and open dialogue. But I recognize the need for policies and procedures as well. So while the school may not have handled it in the best way, there might have been a more positive reply from them if you waited until communication had been made.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:52 AM
 
2,838 posts, read 8,801,276 times
Reputation: 2852
Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
what you don't understand is that your daughter is a student at this school---
just like you are an employee at your job
if your mother when to your job and said she wanted to take home your file--would your employer let her--you know they would not

I...
No, a kindergartener is not like an employee. The teacher is actually more like an employee of the parent. If the parent does not think that teacher is doing her job, he or she can "fire" the teacher by removing the child from her care.

An employer would not give an employee's file to the employee's mother, but neither would he send a "report card" home to the said mother.

Like it or not, parents are responsible for the care and education of their children. They can choose to delegate some of that to a teacher or school, but that does not mean that they hand over all control. A parent of a child under 18 has the right and the responsibility to oversee what is going on and to make decisions accordingly.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:35 PM
 
19 posts, read 46,147 times
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mpascal, I appreciate your response since you are a teacher, and I agree with you. It would have been better if I had gotten a response first. I'm not the most patient person

But, loves2read, control issues? I don't see how wanting to see how my kindergarten child's handwriting has progressed is a control issue. I have to agree with beanandpumkin's response to you on your post regarding the employer/employee deal.

The binders are all together on a shelf, so yes, ANYONE, at ANY TIME before the school is locked for the night could walk in the room and look at any child's book. The room is not locked.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:08 PM
 
3,422 posts, read 9,378,203 times
Reputation: 1957
I agree with everyone else about the definition of a writing journal as a record being kind of a stretch.

I stuff folders for the Kinder teacher once a week. Much of the previous week's schoolwork goes into those folders. In addition to the schoolwork, there are lunchroom charge notices and IEP review notifications, etc... that also get stuffed into the folders. Those documents are stapled closed so that no one can read them. I don't see a huge privacy issue in my seeing the collage or worksheet that the kids put together. Any parent that comes in and volunteers in the classroom can see how my child or any other child writes, reads, computes, behaves, etc....

I do agree that as a teacher I would not want someone coming in and just taking a child's journal before getting the OK, but I don't see it as a privacy violation. Wanting to see your child's test scores and just opening up the teacher's data binder and scanning the list to find your child would be an example of a violation.

I would check around at other schools to see whether you like them. You might even be able to just go out of district without having to pay for private school.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:06 PM
 
901 posts, read 2,596,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
No, a kindergartener is not like an employee. The teacher is actually more like an employee of the parent. If the parent does not think that teacher is doing her job, he or she can "fire" the teacher by removing the child from her care.

An employer would not give an employee's file to the employee's mother, but neither would he send a "report card" home to the said mother.

Like it or not, parents are responsible for the care and education of their children. They can choose to delegate some of that to a teacher or school, but that does not mean that they hand over all control. A parent of a child under 18 has the right and the responsibility to oversee what is going on and to make decisions accordingly.
You are incorrect, beanand pumpkin. Parents cannot take their children out of a class unless there is a serious problem. Children often pull the "the teacher doesn't like me" card when they get in trouble. Then the parent starts asking the school to change teachers. This kind of behavior is not tolerated in my school.

I have had almost 1,000 students over my fairly short teaching career. I can honestly say that there was not one student that I truly did not like. I'm not going to lie and say that some didn't push my buttons, but I have never disliked one of my students. Regardless of their behavior, I've always wanted the best for them.

Beanandpumkin, your disdain for teachers is overwhelming. I understand that you home-school your children. I respect this and you as a parent. Still, you seem to think that every teacher is out to get their students and parents. Many, but not all, teachers went into teaching to nurture children and they really try hard to do what's best for their students. Why can't you respect that?

Anyway, to the OP. It sounds like the school is being a little extreme. However, you used some deception to acquire the journal. I don't understand why you did not wait for the teacher's response. She probably would have given you copies as it is most likely the school's policy that the journal doesn't leave the school. You were responsible and brought back the journal, but other parents may not have been as responsible in the past. So, the school or district has this policy.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,716 posts, read 30,864,595 times
Reputation: 6637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyan1635 View Post
Yes I am very serious, and seriously fed up. It is a public school and I am facing the decision of having to move my daughter to a new school for next year because I just don't think I can take any more of this. I have had a previous post called Problem with Kindergarten Teacher that you can read if you want the background. We had a conference with the teacher & principal at the end of January, and since that time, my daughter gets on "blue" a whole lot more than she did before the conference. I thought everything went well at the conference, but the teacher is upset apparantly and taking it out on my child and now this as well in my opinion.

But when I ask my daughter if she likes her school, she says yes and that she doesn't want to change schools. So I am torn on what to do.
Personally I would be on fire about it. It would be different if we were talking about an older child, like in high school or if you kept it so long it interupted her work. It seems like they may have something to hide.
I have similar issues with my daughters school, there is no openess, and alot of defensive behavior that makes me wonder what is going on when I am not around.
Personally I would CORNER the principle and have a very direct conversation with him and notify him that you WILL be looking over their shoulder whether he likes it or not.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:33 PM
 
2,838 posts, read 8,801,276 times
Reputation: 2852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam82 View Post
You are incorrect, beanand pumpkin. Parents cannot take their children out of a class unless there is a serious problem. Children often pull the "the teacher doesn't like me" card when they get in trouble. Then the parent starts asking the school to change teachers. This kind of behavior is not tolerated in my school.

I have had almost 1,000 students over my fairly short teaching career. I can honestly say that there was not one student that I truly did not like. I'm not going to lie and say that some didn't push my buttons, but I have never disliked one of my students. Regardless of their behavior, I've always wanted the best for them.

Beanandpumkin, your disdain for teachers is overwhelming. I understand that you home-school your children. I respect this and you as a parent. Still, you seem to think that every teacher is out to get their students and parents. Many, but not all, teachers went into teaching to nurture children and they really try hard to do what's best for their students. Why can't you respect that?

.
I was responding to the OP. I did not say anything about teachers being out to get students and parents. I feel that most teachers want the best for their students. I don't feel that schools are great places for children to reach their full potential, but it really does not have much to do with the teachers. I understand that they're held back by standards and such. I'm not sure why you feel that I have an overwhelming disdain for teachers. I personally choose not to delegate my children's educations to schools, but that does not mean that I do not like or respect teachers.

And yes, any parent can pull their child out of school. They can take their child out and homeschool, or send them to another school. The school does not own children, and there's nothing for them to tolerate or not tolerate in that situation.
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