Friday, July 13, 2012

I Raised My Hand and Got Selected

The coworker that is the most rotten to me used to be a good friend. In fact, a crew of us would head out to lunch almost daily and have a fun time together. He could be very funny and told lots of stories that left us in stitches. He would talk about the time spent in the Navy and said the biggest lesson he learned from the military is what Navy stands for… Never Again Volunteer Yourself.

That memory is what popped into my head first when I received an email from the superintendent of our school district informing me that my application was approved and I had a position on the committee to study the problems at our middle school.

I have blogged in the past about the issues that Sugar had at school this year. There was the time in December when another student chased her down in the playground and sat on her until Sugar’s friends pulled her off. Then in June I found out there was a group of girls that had been tormenting Sugar for months before school. Then there were the communication issues about lockdowns and student suicide that infuriated me.

There has been a lot of press in my state about my small town and the school board and middle school. There are endless Letters to the Editor that describe a hostile work environment. All of the letters that I have seen have been written by one specific teacher, who no longer teaches at the school. I can’t say I don’t believe her, because I don’t know her and I really don’t know the details of what she’s gone through. However, I’m somewhat familiar with the way unions work and I know that teachers in this state belong to a union. If there was a hostile environment in the school, why aren’t other teachers coming forward and why isn’t the union doing anything about it?

I’ve also seen many, many comments on Facebook and in the local papers about the principal. It would be an understatement to say that the man is not well-liked. In fact, there’s a rallying cry to see him fired. Again, I keep my mind open. I don’t know much about him or what he does around the school. I hear complaints that all he does is direct traffic before and after school, and spends his workday holed up in his office. I will say that I have seen him at some of the school activities I’ve attended, walking through the hallways, interacting with parents and students. Given that the entire town dislikes him and says he’s not very involved, it could be just a fluke that I’ve seen him around a lot. I honestly don’t know enough about him to form an educated opinion.

Unlike other times when I’ve been pissed off about something, I put my money where my mouth is. Everyone in the district received an email a few weeks ago that invited parents to take part in this committee. I filled the application out immediately, but almost didn’t get it turned in on time. Given that I had recently exchanged emails with the superintendent describing my feelings about the communications coming out of the middle school, I never expected to be chosen for the committee.

My initial reaction was shock.

Then I thought WHAT THE FUCK?

Then I thought, yup, I’m probably the only parent stupid enough to sign up for this mess. I was room mother for Sugar’s first grade class… I know just how much parents participate!

I emailed my friend the super back (we are now on a first name basis) and confirmed my spot and asked how many people would be on the committee. For all I knew, I could be the only person on the committee! I mean, I know I’m fat and all, but definitely not large enough to be an entire committee. She responded immediately and thanked me for volunteering and said there would be 25 people on the committee. The committee would be made up of parents, teachers and support staff. Further internet research tonight shows that there will be only six parents on the committee, two from each town that sends students to the middle school.

Of course I’m bitching about having been picked, but on the inside, I am pleased. I might not be the mother that volunteers for field trips, but I am present and participating in every other activity that goes on. I send food in for the class parties, I donate money and goods for every single charity drive, I sell stupid shit for fundraisers, my girls are always prepared with completed homework assignments and we attack special projects with gusto. I may not be present at the school every day, but no one could argue that I am not involved.

I look forward to time spent on this committee. I think it will be interesting to see what the issues really are and to somehow make a difference in the education of my children. If this committee ends up being nothing more than a shitshow put on to get people thinking the administration is concerned about the school I’m getting NAVY tattooed across my forehead. Only you and I will really know what that means. 

Ice Princess

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