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OK. Here it is, a public school rant. A serious one and scary.........


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As most of you know, one of my jobs takes place in a local elementary school. I do not work *for* the school, but rather for a local YMCA, using the school facilities to provide before and after school care. I work a split shift, schooling my own (and a few others) in between.

 

Friday, I get to work and start setting up. While the kids were still in school (so no students in the cafeteria where I set up), a teacher came by and said " I just wanted you to know that we were on lockdown today. A dad one of our students killed the mom. The children have been given a flyer to take home. I thought you should know because when I was in your spot, I was always the last to know."

 

I was......shocked. I spoke briefly to a Custodian I know well, and she didn't know about the (supposed) murder. Her response was "So that was why we were on lockdown?"

 

After some thought, I went to the front office. I introduced myself. I told them I was the Site Director at the YMCA and would like to see a copy of the flyer being sent home with the kids. The person I talked to walked "to the back" and came back a split second later loudly asking "The Principal wants to know how you know?!". I, feeling quite defensive, told her that a teacher had told me.

 

She disappeared again and came back quickly saying "No, you can't see the flyer". I said "OK. I just wanted to know what the kids know as I will be with 20+ of the students for the next few hours."

 

8 minutes later, the assistant was in "my" cafeteria. "I think we need to talk about your request."

 

"OK. I'm feeling quite misunderstood. I just wanted to know what was being told to the students. I have 80% of my students are competent readers and if they've had a dramatic day, they are going to be talking. I wanted to know what they know/don't know so I can best supervise them.

 

Her, rather, um, sternly: We don't want you talking to them about it. They need to talk to their parents.

 

Me (in spite of the fact that I completely disagree at this point about the way this is being handled) OK.

 

My DH drives a bus for the school district, at this school. The bus drivers don't know. I tell him. Apparently students loaded his bus discussing the lockdown and a teacher came up behind them saying "YOU CAN'T TALK ABOUT THAT. TALK TO YOUR PARENTS." He has words with the teacher.

 

3 minutes later, the Principal herself is in the cafeteria. "I have been told you told her husband that I called you stupid, 2 times."

 

"Um. No. I never said that to anyone. I can't comment on what my husband has said or not, but I never said anything like that."

 

Conversation went on a bit. Got info "Dad strangled mom", "children of this dad are still on campus" and the information that the dad has not been caught!! Ultimately I told the Principal that given the day she's likely had, the issue she came to be about shouldn't be taking her time and energy. I told her that the issue with my DH sounded like the "telephone game" where something starts on one end and ends up something completely different thing emerges on the other end.

 

I *am* upset with my DH. Very. He said something(s) he shouldn't have. He made bad choices.

 

However, I have been unsettled about this whole event. What follows are some generalizations. They are opinion, based on my actual, first hand experience in this event and others.

 

Public schools have a power/information/status hierarchy. Administration is first, Teachers, Administrative Staff, Teachers Assistants, and the peons. (Cafeteria workers, custodians, YMCA/outside employees = peons). There seems to be an prevailing assumption that the top of the hierarchy is best (and sometimes only) equipped to deal appropriately with the kids. I think this dynamic exists; I think it was fully in operation when I asked to see the flyer. I don't think "they" were going to trust me (or the custodians as I mentioned) with this information.

 

I have thought long and hard about it since. I've terribly upset that the school was completely willing to allow me to operate during after school hours, into the dark hours in a building of decreasing adults with 20+ students and no information. That is unacceptable.

 

What is......strange.....is that there have been no news reports, no media, nothing. A murder like this would be big, sensationonal news here. Not as much in Houston, but here? Huge! My DH and I are wondering what the "real deal" is.

 

The flyer said that a Dad had allegedly "fatally harmed" the mom. This was intentionally worded to fly by the students (The Principal told me that).

 

Anyway, this whole thing has forced an issue in my home. While we needed the money, this job has cost us in terms of our marriage, the kids, the house, my DH's process serving job (a job he "has" to do during hours people are typically home). We've evaluated whether this job is worth it to us and decided it's not.

 

I'm resigning tomorrow, last day Friday.

 

ETA: If this did, inded, happen.........These children needed informed, equipped and competent adults to be there with them. While I agree it's a parent issue, it's also an issue with any adult these children spend hours with, especially in the school setting. I'm a firm believer in talking about "the elephant in the living room" and feel we do children a *huge* disservice when we sush them, put them off or are vague with them. My students, for example, knew something was wrong/up when I didn't take them outside (the Principal requested that I not) and it was a beautiful day. I felt everyone's integrity was insulted, including the kids. If this *did* happen, I hope trained counselors are on site Monday. If it didn't happen, I hope the school has the guts to talk about the rumors and mistakes they might have made.

Edited by Joanne
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Wow! I can see how you would be concerned. While I do understand their desire for keeping the information quiet and not having the kids discuss this, most likely the kids will, and I would think that the teachers and anyone working with or coming in contact with the kids should know this for their own, and for the children's safety. In our school district here whenever anything happens, particulary a lockdown, all personel are alerted and parents get a detailed phone call with a recording about what happened. When ds was in school we got details about a lockdown involving burlary suspects who were on the campus with guns and another about inapropriate contact between a teacher and student asking for anyone with information to contact the principal.

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Wow, what a frustrating situation.

 

I was a peon in the school district for a while to and I know what you mean about information, and who is 'privy' to it.

 

I actually started to appreciate not having any responsibility to interact with the kids, in a role that would have left me with a judgement call. Having any discussion, with the kids about these events requires a judgement call and kids often understand things different that you mean, and the 'telephone game' comes to mind too. I do think that the school acted foolishly in that you are responsible for the safety of the kids, and you needed to know what the danger was. But I do agree with them not wanting any adult other than the parents to discuss the days events with the kids. I also believe that all staff should have been briefed, with at least a few 'authorized comments, statements, calming tactics' that could be used to calm the kids. If the need arose.

 

I know you have had a few issues with this job, and while I wish you could stay for financial reasons, maybe it is time to move on. It seems like working for the school just isn't for you. I say this because, it absolutely wasn't for me. I didn't like being treated like a kid, only getting told what to do, and the hierarchy within the staff. I guess I didn't like being 'in school' as an adult, that is what it felt like to me. It reminded me of being in high school and being a teachers assistant. Evey move I made was watched and commented on. It was bazaar as a adult to be treated this way.

 

I hope you find something else fast, and maybe with more money. Maybe you can use this experience to springboard into something else. If possible, I would wait to quit until you find another job. It is often easier to get a job, if you are currently employed. People often have more confidence in an interview, if they don't really need the job they are applying for. You may want something else desperately (!) but need is different. You can also start feeling out possibilities, with your contacts at the school for other opportunities. Jobs are hard to come by right now in our area, so even if there are jobs in the paper, there are sooo many more people applying. It may take longer than usual to find something better. I know it is really hard to stay where you feel trampled on, I stayed for the school year. I wanted to quit four weeks after I started! I hated (!) going to work each day, but told my self I could do anything for xx months.

 

Good luck, working out the issues with dh.

 

If you do quit this week, I wish you the best luck finding something quick!

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I'm thinking that if I were a parent I would prefer the custodian (and every "peon") knowing what's going on - esp w/a possible murderer out there with kids in the building!!! Bus drivers should be made aware too, esp if the man's children ride a bus!

 

I understand not wanting every adult in the building discussing it, giving it their own spin....but I think making it "hush, hush" sparks curiosity, not respect.

 

It sounds like a power-trip to me. I would understand being told that you couldn't disclose anything other than what the flyer says....but being kept in the dark is ridiculous and dangerous!

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It is all too true, I know, I've been in that system, as both a teacher and as a peon. It's horrible.

 

Joanne, could you PM me what district that was in? We live outside of the area you were mentioning. We are more than likely in a different area than you, but I am just curious. We had some stuff happen at a school here, where a girl was assaulted, and the student was roaming free and the school was all "hush-hush", until the mother of the girl notified the police and the newspapers.

 

It just makes you sick, you know?

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These children needed informed, equipped and competent adults to be there with them. While I agree it's a parent issue, it's also an issue with any adult these children spend hours with, especially in the school setting. I'm a firm believer in talking about "the elephant in the living room" and feel we do children a *huge* disservice when we sush them, put them off or are vague with them. My students, for example, knew something was wrong/up when I didn't take them outside (the Principal requested that I not) and it was a beautiful day. I felt everyone's integrity was insulted, including the kids. If this *did* happen, I hope trained counselors are on site Monday. If it didn't happen, I hope the school has the guts to talk about the rumors and mistakes they might have made.

I agree, to an extent. The information should not have been guarded. That just makes it all seem sinister and under handed. However, perhaps there was a lack of info in order to keep the 'peons' from attempting to talk about the 'elephant in the living room.' IOW, it IS a parent issue and while some people feel a need to talk about it, others might think that overreaches a bit, into parental territory.

 

You should've known what had happened, the possible dangers of the situation, however I'm not sure it was the school (or the YMCA's) place to discuss this with the kids, before allowing the parents time for their own conversation.

 

Side note: Last year, a well-known couple (well-known to us anyway) died as the result of a murder-suicide. The husband shot his wife and then himself. It didn't make the papers at all, to my knowledge. Their obits. were printed (of course), but nothing about the crime. Because we are a small community, the people who write for the local paper decided it would be too hard on the kids to see their parents splashed across the paper, so nothing was written. The same thing happened this year, when a man shot and killed his granddaughter. That was covered by a larger, not as local paper, but the local paper, again, decided to keep mum as a sign of respect to the family.

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Oh absolutely. I don't blame you for quitting.

 

Once my son was being bullied. The child hit him for no reason in the hallway and I saw it. I took my son's hand and told the boy not to hit him again or we would be talking with the principal. Immediately, the boy knew he would be in trouble and made up a lie about me. He said I called him names when I did not and there was a hallway full of adults and other kids to side with me. HOWEVER, even though this child had told my son things like, "You will die tomorrow.." and so on, when I went to talk with the principal about this (we are talking 3rd grade here, BTW!), she spent half her time telling me that I should have never spoken to the child, that it was HER JOB and I should have come to HER. Honestly. Did she care about the threats? No. She told my son it was half his fault because he, "had a smart mouth sometimes."

 

You are 100% correct that you should have been informed. What your husband does is not your fault and coming to you about him is like something a child would do. The parents, students, and everyone working with those kids should have been told what happened.

 

I.hate.public.school.

 

Sorry...just LOTS of bad blood there.

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I'm thinking that if I were a parent I would prefer the custodian (and every "peon") knowing what's going on - esp w/a possible murderer out there with kids in the building!!! Bus drivers should be made aware too, esp if the man's children ride a bus!

 

I understand not wanting every adult in the building discussing it, giving it their own spin....but I think making it "hush, hush" sparks curiosity, not respect.

 

It sounds like a power-trip to me. I would understand being told that you couldn't disclose anything other than what the flyer says....but being kept in the dark is ridiculous and dangerous!

:iagree: That is appalling. The adults need to be fore-armed with information in order to put the kibosh on what will amount to a giant, sensational, game of gossip -even to say to kids, "we don't KNOW the details, please stop repeating things you've heard" - as well as being adequately informed to protect their charges.

 

For the life of me, I can't figure out how you murder your spouse, have this be "discovered", get the kids to school and disappear with any efficiency. Or, do these children actually KNOW and then were sent to school anyway?!?!

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You should've known what had happened, the possible dangers of the situation, however I'm not sure it was the school (or the YMCA's) place to discuss this with the kids, before allowing the parents time for their own conversation.

 

Except that this action/event imposed an unmanagable on everyone. The reality is you *can't* wrestle this into submission. The kids were on lockdown, knew bits and pieces of the story. The reality is that the parents can't be the first conversation; the adults around the kids at the time were.

 

I got the feeling on Friday that the Administration was trying to nail jello to a wall. The school - and the students - have had an awful, unfathomable situation confront them. Waiting until Mom and Dad are available before they can start the process of "understanding" is not practical, feasible or reality.

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For the life of me, I can't figure out how you murder your spouse, have this be "discovered", get the kids to school and disappear with any efficiency. Or, do these children actually KNOW and then were sent to school anyway?!?!

 

I was wondering this too.

 

Hopefully another, better job will come along. Your personal safety and the safety of the kids in your care was a risk, and that is unacceptable. period. If that had been an office building with a gunman on the loose in a nearby neighborhood, you would have been informed and proper procedures followed, it is only right that you have that same level of protection at the school. You said the school 'was on lockdown' meaning the man was loose and the school was no longer on lockdown, oh my. What a traumatic day for you and those kids. Hopefully the school was 'misinformed' about the situation, but either way it was handled improperly IMHO.

 

I was just thinking about this from a parent's perspective also. If that was true, then I would want a phone call so I could decide if I needed to pick up my children 'just in case'. A letter would not be good enough for me.

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You need to report this further up the chain. Holy smokes! I can't believe this is how a principal chose to handle the situation.

 

If I worked for the District, I would. But I work for the YMCA and don't feel "right" putting the YMCA out there through me on this one.

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I've witnessed this hierarchy and power trip not only in public schools, but also in small private schools. Clever of them to try to disguise it as respect for parents, I'll give them that.

 

I despise secrecy and manipulation in any situation, be it church, school, business, etc. I'm convinced this atmosphere leads to all sorts of abuses of power. It's a no win situation, and I'm glad you're getting out.

Edited by Christy B
spelling errors courtesy of my cat helping me type
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I know you have had a few issues with this job, and while I wish you could stay for financial reasons, maybe it is time to move on. It seems like working for the school just isn't for you. I say this because, it absolutely wasn't for me. I didn't like being treated like a kid, only getting told what to do, and the hierarchy within the staff. I guess I didn't like being 'in school' as an adult, that is what it felt like to me. It reminded me of being in high school and being a teachers assistant. Evey move I made was watched and commented on. It was bazaar as a adult to be treated this way.

 

I hope you find something else fast, and maybe with more money. Maybe you can use this experience to springboard into something else. If possible, I would wait to quit until you find another job. It is often easier to get a job, if you are currently employed. People often have more confidence in an interview, if they don't really need the job they are applying for. You may want something else desperately (!) but need is different.

 

I still have 2 income producing jobs if I quit this one. DH and I discussed it and me being gone so many hours has had a detrimental effect on the kids, the house, the marriage. If it were my only job, I'd agree wholeheartedly.

 

Thank you for understanding the weird culture involved in being a non Teacher in a school.

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Except that this action/event imposed an unmanagable on everyone. The reality is you *can't* wrestle this into submission. The kids were on lockdown, knew bits and pieces of the story. The reality is that the parents can't be the first conversation; the adults around the kids at the time were.

 

I got the feeling on Friday that the Administration was trying to nail jello to a wall. The school - and the students - have had an awful, unfathomable situation confront them. Waiting until Mom and Dad are available before they can start the process of "understanding" is not practical, feasible or reality.

I agree. It's all very well to say that it's the parent's job to discuss it, but in fact a lot of kids are not going to see their parents for several hours, and during that time they will be wondering, talking, and speculating with other kids. By the time they get home, they will have heard, or made up, several gory scenarios.

 

I suppose the school is scared of parents screaming about someone else talking with their children, but OTOH someone is going to be unhappy no matter what they do.

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Well this has solidified my choice to homeschool my children. iIt's a scary world out there.... and keeping my little ones home for a bit longer before exposing them to all of this just makes more sense to me.

Even if it ended up being for only a few extra years at home... it's so worth it.

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Oh my gosh!!! That is appaling that they would keep that information from you. I worked in the YMCA before/after school program for 6 years. I was an assistant site director for the last two years. Information like that is vital. We're with those kids for nearly as long as the teachers are each day. And actually, we get to know them on a more personal basis since we are not spending our hours teaching and instructing....we actually spend personal time with the kids getting to know them. They are going to talk about a lockdown in a school. The older ones WILL know whats going on, they will hear rumors about it, they will read the flyer, and they will have many many questions in the 3 or more hours before their parents arrive. They may even be frightened.

 

I cannot believe they were witholding that information from you. I know what you mean about the pricipal/staff seeming to act superior to the "lowly YMCA staff." They may hold the teaching degree but it doesnt take a rocket scientist to interact and guide children.

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No, you can't. One of my major reasons for homeschooling is that I just cannot tolerate fools (or foolish thinking) gladly.

 

I'd rather work...anywhere else.

 

That about sums up my thinking on it, too. Ridiculous. There is foolishness everywhere -- like the time . . . Oh, never mind. :lol:

 

But this whole thing just makes no sense at all, and for them to get snarky with Joanne is just icing on the cake. "Anywhere else" is right.

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If I worked for the District, I would. But I work for the YMCA and don't feel "right" putting the YMCA out there through me on this one.

 

I can understand why you feel that way but somebody else is going to take over your position and possibly be in the same situation. I'm not sure what reasons you're going to give when you resign but I think your employer should at least be given the opportunity to better protect their future employee working at that same school. I think your responsibility ends with telling your employer. The rest is on them about what to do about it. Leadership at the Y should be the one going up the chain of command, not you. Just think what would happen if something did happen after hours--who would be responsible, the school district or the Y? My guess is a backlash from angry parents would be aimed at both so the Y should be able to protect itself.

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One of my earliest school memories was of being handed a letter to take home about head lice going around in school. I was in first grade, and could read it just fine -- my classmates couldn't read it, knew that I could, and asked me what it said (probably hoping it was about a party or a field trip...). I read it aloud, and was punished because it was meant for parents, not students. It was an unfolded sheet of paper, given to everyone, not in an envelope. I was punished for not obeying the proper "chain of command" that dictated who could know what and when they could know it. Some things never change.

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If you do stay in this job for a while longer, I would find out who notifies the school of such situations--the local police department? Then someone official from the Y should contact that group and let them know that you are responsible for caring for X number of children after school and would like to be put on the notification list so that you can take reasonable safety precautions, since most things that affect the school also could affect your children.

 

Regarding the school principal, I would get very clear on what her jurisdiction is at your facility and act accordingly. She wants to know where you get your information? She will need to submit a letter requesting such details to your superior/director. She doesn't like how or what you are doing? Again, she is free to put that in writing and submit it through proper channels. She may have little say in her school's notification policies--it may well all come down to her from a district level and she has to obey whether it makes any sense or not.

 

Regarding you passing info along to your dh, if it would be a safety issue for him or the children on his bus, then I wouldn't hesitate. However, unfortunately, he needs to be aware that he is not free to spread such information to other school employees unless he wants to jeopardize his job, yours, and theirs.

 

In general, I would take a very "legal" tone when dealing with school administrators from now on. Not expecting anything from them they are not legally required to give and certainly not giving them anything that you are not legally required to provide to them.

 

The true issue of notification here is between you and the law enforcement authorities. I imagine that once you make them aware of the vulnerability of your situation, they would prefer to include you in the loop. If they tell you to get the info from the school, explain that the school has no legal requirement to share such information and has demonstrated that they will intentionally withhold it.

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I'm a bit confused. I have never dealt with the public school system, but was this a sealed letter to the parents? If not the children would already know what was going on because they would have read it themselves. Of course, they would discuss it, because such a thing would be very upsetting. If you were to be with them for several hours after school, they were bound to ask you about it. If you were uninformed, what did the principal expect you to say to the kids?

 

People should not delegate their parental authority to the government, and then get upset when someone else has to play parent for them.

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The true issue of notification here is between you and the law enforcement authorities. I imagine that once you make them aware of the vulnerability of your situation, they would prefer to include you in the loop. If they tell you to get the info from the school, explain that the school has no legal requirement to share such information and has demonstrated that they will intentionally withhold it.

 

I appreciate the removed, aloof and clinical approach suggested in your post. What I was asking for (though I don't believe I should even have had to ask) was to read what was given to each and every student.

 

I'm a bit confused. I have never dealt with the public school system, but was this a sealed letter to the parents? If not the children would already know what was going on because they would have read it themselves. Of course, they would discuss it, because such a thing would be very upsetting. If you were to be with them for several hours after school, they were bound to ask you about it. If you were uninformed, what did the principal expect you to say to the kids?

 

 

This was a flyer, printed on bright yellow paper, given to the kids "for their folder", unsealed and accessible.

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Link to the news event:

 

http://www.click2houston.com/news/18460557/detail.html#-

 

I'm turning in my resignation in a couple of hours.

 

January 12, 2009

 

 

To Before and After School Supervisory Personnel,

 

With this letter, I submit my resignation as Site Director effective Friday, January 16, 2009. Due to policy, protocol and procedure executed by my Site School, I no longer feel able to adequately administer an appropriate YMCA Before and After School Program.

 

During my remaining days, I will finish all paperwork, ready the Site for downtown YMCA’s inspection, keep storage areas tidy and attempt to assist with as smooth of a transition for the students as possible.

 

Sincerely,

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I'm thinking that if I were a parent I would prefer the custodian (and every "peon") knowing what's going on - esp w/a possible murderer out there with kids in the building!!! Bus drivers should be made aware too, esp if the man's children ride a bus!

 

I understand not wanting every adult in the building discussing it, giving it their own spin....but I think making it "hush, hush" sparks curiosity, not respect.

 

It sounds like a power-trip to me. I would understand being told that you couldn't disclose anything other than what the flyer says....but being kept in the dark is ridiculous and dangerous!

:iagree:I believe taht since Joanne works with the children, she should be able to talk to them about it. I could see a bus driver or custodian being told not to talk to them about it, as their job does not entail as much interaction with the children. They should still know about it, at least.

 

I don't know why the children of the involved parents were still at school. That is bizarre to me. They should have had emergency contact, social worker or police pick them up.

 

Joanne, :grouphug: what an ordeal!

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You know, regardless of what the school thought it was doing or not doing by withholding this information from you (and I agree it's a personal and child safety issue, completely unacceptable), some kid would have mentioned this or pulled out the flyer and you would have wound up in the office looking for more information anyway, right?

 

Aargh.

 

Why was there no police presence in the building?

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Except that this action/event imposed an unmanagable on everyone. The reality is you *can't* wrestle this into submission. The kids were on lockdown, knew bits and pieces of the story. The reality is that the parents can't be the first conversation; the adults around the kids at the time were.

 

I got the feeling on Friday that the Administration was trying to nail jello to a wall. The school - and the students - have had an awful, unfathomable situation confront them. Waiting until Mom and Dad are available before they can start the process of "understanding" is not practical, feasible or reality.

They should not have released any specifics to the students at all. A vague, 'we've had reports of a possibly dangerous situation' would have sufficed. When it comes to life and death, the adults need enough information to keep the children safe and the children need enough information to make them understand there is a possible danger.

 

That idea, that the school must do damage control, before Mom and Dad have even been notified is what causes MANY of the problems people HAVE with public schools. They step in and decide, this is our place, this is what we should do, WE know what is best.

 

Frankly, I would be ticked off if someone else decided to discuss a death/murder/etc, with my child, without my permission.

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Frankly, I would be ticked off if someone else decided to discuss a death/murder/etc, with my child, without my permission.

 

But the kids are going to talk no matter what they do. Even without the flyer some kids will know bits of information. The children involved were their that day! Rumors will get around and the adults need to be informed so they can deal effectively with the inevitable. When your drop your child off to a school they are acting "en loco parentis". This would be one of the reasons I homeschool. I don't like the idea that while on school grounds my child becomes a ward of the state.

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I don't understand why they didn't shut the school down post-lockdown. Come get your kid. Period.

 

 

well......it sounds like the murdering boyfriend killed the mom, then killed himself. The question is how the kids got to school? if he was on premise dropping them off, or the school was on lockdown when the kids alerted the staff, and then they went off lockdown when the guy was found dead? not enough details.

 

either way, i'm w/ cadam about the school/ward/etc, and w/ Joanne and others about the secrecy/information handling of the school.

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This makes no sense to me. If she was killed sometime Thursday night while the kids slept,,and a maintenance worker found her Friday, then either the boys woke up and went to school on their own, or someone shuffled them off to school while dealing with her body. I can't imagine sending kids to school after that!!

What a horrible situation all around.

 

 

that depends on when Friday the guy found her, and when the boyfriend killed himself. It sounds like the kids got to school before the guy was killed/ bodies found. but I agree we don't have enough info for the situation top make sense :D

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But the kids are going to talk no matter what they do. Even without the flyer some kids will know bits of information. The children involved were their that day! Rumors will get around and the adults need to be informed so they can deal effectively with the inevitable. When your drop your child off to a school they are acting "en loco parentis". This would be one of the reasons I homeschool. I don't like the idea that while on school grounds my child becomes a ward of the state.

I don't expect them to keep the kids from talking. My issue starts with the idea of a flyer (a flyer, a FLYER?!?) being given to kids to explain the situation. Murder, death, loss of a loved one, is not an issue to be dealt with like a kegger at AlphaK's house. It is a serious issue. The school made their first mistake there (IMO).

 

Whether or not the adults need to deal with the issue of the rumor, or the issue of gossip are two different things. The kids will talk, I totally understand that, but the adults/school, are not there as onsight therapists (or at least, they shouldn't be). Deal with kids gossiping.

 

Our local school deals with this sort of issue in a completely different manner. For instance, my son's beloved K. teacher was diagnosed with Cancer last year. Mrs. P had been teaching long enough to have returning college students. She is very loved, all of the kids know her. The school's first step was a SEALED letter, delivered BY MAIL, to all of the parents (of course, Mrs. P gave her permission). That letter explained the prognosis (good), the treatment, the expected absence, and where we could send letters, cards, flowers, etc. In that envelope, and in another SEALED letter home, were permission slips. Those slips were asking for permission to have Mrs. P explain to the kids, herself, what was going on. As her treatment progressed, the parents were kept well abreast of all activity.

 

IMO, that is how you deal with a 'crisis' situation in a school. You always ask the parents first. You do not go to the children without Mom and Dad's permission. Information is gotton to the parents, with some attempt to keep it from kids.

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Side note: Last year, a well-known couple (well-known to us anyway) died as the result of a murder-suicide. The husband shot his wife and then himself. It didn't make the papers at all, to my knowledge. Their obits. were printed (of course), but nothing about the crime. Because we are a small community, the people who write for the local paper decided it would be too hard on the kids to see their parents splashed across the paper, so nothing was written. The same thing happened this year, when a man shot and killed his granddaughter. That was covered by a larger, not as local paper, but the local paper, again, decided to keep mum as a sign of respect to the family.

 

I think this is very ethical--not everyone needs to know about every murder or murder-suicide, and the children do suffer greatly from seeing ths stuff plastered all over the news. Also, people are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

 

OTOH, schools are difficult to deal with when it comes to this. However, I think they sometimes have legitimate concerns about upsetting parents and about litigation. Sad, but true. But, think also about the worry and fear it could strike into the hearts of some children to learn that a dad killed the mom of someone they know, especially if their parents had an argument that very day or soon after.

 

I think that Joane SHOULD have been told something, however, even if she was not supposed to discuss it; those caring for dc disucssing it need to know. Also, bus drivers.

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I was just thinking about this from a parent's perspective also. If that was true, then I would want a phone call so I could decide if I needed to pick up my children 'just in case'. A letter would not be good enough for me.

 

I agree. I also am careful how I handle this with my dc, knowing each of them well and that each of them will react individually. When the little girl down the street was diagnosed with cancer, and later when she passed away, each of my dc responded and grieved in their own way, and I would have been upset had someone with different beliefs explained it to my dc, because that would have added more confusion to the picture.

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I've witnessed this hierarchy and power trip not only in public schools, but also in small private schools. Clever of them to try to disguise it as respect for parents, I'll give them that.

 

I despise secrecy and manipulation in any situation, be it church, school, business, etc. I'm convinced this atmosphere leads to all sorts of abuses of power. It's a no win situation, and I'm glad you're getting out.

 

I also agree with this, even though as a parent I wouldn't want just anyone explaining it to my dc, as I posted already. But this is one of the reasons we homeschool.

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that depends on when Friday the guy found her, and when the boyfriend killed himself. It sounds like the kids got to school before the guy was killed/ bodies found. but I agree we don't have enough info for the situation top make sense :D

 

Right. The boyfriend could have still been there when the dc woke up, got them ready and sent them off to school (very creepy.) There are so many explanations and we don't know.

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....like a kegger at AlphaK's house.

 

:lol:

 

 

 

Whether or not the adults need to deal with the issue of the rumor, or the issue of gossip are two different things. The kids will talk, I totally understand that, but the adults/school, are not there as onsight therapists (or at least, they shouldn't be). Deal with kids gossiping.

 

depending on the size of the student body andteacher/ student ratios i think this is almost impossible, even in an effective school situation. i'm betting any sealed letters sent home would be opened quickly anyway.

 

... As her treatment progressed, the parents were kept well abreast of all activity.

 

IMO, that is how you deal with a 'crisis' situation in a school. You always ask the parents first. You do not go to the children without Mom and Dad's permission. Information is gotton to the parents, with some attempt to keep it from kids.

 

except that part of turning your children over to the school is that you DO relinquish a lot of parental rights *while they have your children* --they ARE given permission to act in a crisis situation when it comes to informing the children in their care. They CAN seek immediate medical care if they can't reach you immediately or don't have time for even a phone call. They CAN allow CPS to talk w/ your children w/o ever informing you. Etc. Etc. Etc. In this case, there was no time to receive diagnosis or mail letters.

 

I'm guessing from the weird way they were handling the situation that the information was already out of their control and spreading thru the school like wildfire, and this was their attempt at damage control to walk the line of the children already know/ inform the parents.

 

i don't have a problem in general w/ a flyer being sent out for mass communication {even on something like this}, and since I haven't read it i won't pass judgment about that. But i do agree w/ joanne and others about the way the info was disseminated to the adults in charge of the children.

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If you click on the article link, you'll see above it that there is a newscast video http://www.click2houston.com/news/18460557/detail.html#video that you can watch. One of the family members (her father) said that the ex-boyfriend told the kids that they couldn't talk to their mom because she was sick.

 

Joanne, I think they should have let you know. The school administration handled this poorly.

Edited by PollyOR
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