Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homeschooler Discrimination?

This is cool and crummy all at once.

My friend and I used to play school all the time. We’d argue over who would be the teacher. We both thought we knew everything.

Now I’m a homeschooling mom. My friend teaches English as a Second Language across the street at the elementary school because she’s a hoity-toity world traveler and learned her some Spanish when she lived in Mexico.

A couple of weeks ago my 8-year-old son went across the street to help her out by reading to her students and making them feel at ease (a.k.a. peer mentoring). He was only there for half an hour and loved it. The kids loved it. Ambre said he did great.

Too bad the principal (Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas) told Ambre my son can’t come back. She thinks it may be a liability issue, but we’re STILL waiting to find out his reason. I really want to write to him and tell him how much my son loved helping out, how much Ambre liked having help and how much the kids enjoyed having him there. And tell him I’m happy to sign a release saying if my son gets hurt in his school I won’t sue. The McLoughlins are not litigious people.

Raise your hand if you think this is Homeschooler Discrimination. I guess I can see where they wouldn't want a homeschooled kid running around, making all the other kids want to be homeschooled. Why can't they just sneak him in the back door and pay off the ESL kids to keep quiet about his wonderful existence?

4/17/12 Schools are always bitching about needing money for every freaking thing under sun, so why don't they take the free help? Joel will be 11 when the next school year starts. Should I try this again or just leave them alone?


  1. Write the letter. They really are probably worried that if something happened you would sue the school. People are way too sue-happy these days (especially out here!).

  2. It is most likely that he doesn't want anyone to realize how much more competent the home schooled children compared to his students. I teach at a public school and I encourage EVERYONE who has the means to home school. Public schools are inefficient, and teach to the lowest common denominator. Teachers and administration advance according to the "peter principle" which means they are promoted to their highest level of incompetence. I'd let the matter go - His loss. You're child can gain the same mentor experience in church or boy scouts.

  3. Without all the facts, I don't think it's fair to answer that, however, I find it very hard to believe that this is the reason for his decision. In fact, he may be acting on district policy. Schools have become much more conscious about security. I can't even get into my kids schools without identifying myself and being buzzed in. The school has to be responsible for every child in that school, which is one of the many reasons they take attendance. They need to know what kids are in that school at all times. What authority does the school have over a child that is not enrolled there? Frankly, as a parent of children enrolled in the public school system, I want to know the school knows all the children at the school, especially considering one of my children has special needs. In addition, there are liability issues that are tied in with the insurance company that I'm sure covers the school district for things such as injury, etc. I could go on, just off the top of my head, but I think chalking it up to simple "home school discrimination" is not fair. It is a complex issue.

    However, I can see how you are upset and confused by this decision. If it is important to you, I think you should make an appointment to speak to the principal about it. Let him give his side of the story. I'm sure there is much more to the matter than the simple reason he gave your friend.

  4. dang, schmidty (the world has gone to schmidt, hasn't it?) ... tell it like it is, buddy! i'm just waiting for the snotty Anonymous comment that "we can't ALL be lucky and rich enough to homeschool, stay at home with our kids and/or send our kids to private school"

  5. debbie ...actually he gave her ZERO reason ... yet. we're still working on it. he's too busy this coming week with standardized testing. i like your points, though. i like picturing my kid as a rogue vigilante running amok through the school!

  6. I'm not sure a letter with a promise not to sue will do anyone any good (will it hold up in court in the event that some wild stupid accident happens?). They are probably worried about accounting for him while he's there and/or your relying on your adult friend to watch out for Joel while he's there helping, thereby taking away a piece of her attention that she's paid to pay to the kids under her direct care. But you guys pay taxes so techincally this is a moot point, because even though he's not attending the school, your dollars pay for it....

    If it were an adult volunteer, I think this wouldn't be as big of an issue. Which is kind of scarier, because they don't run background checks on everyone working with kids in the public school system.

    Nobody wins.


  7. Perhaps if the teacher had their homework first and found out if it would be permitted this whole issue would be moot and your son's feeling would have been spared. The blame lies with her. Leave it alone, the school had enough problems to deal with.

  8. Previous Anonymous: you have a good point. There are enough volunteer opps in this town and we are lucky to have the time to take part in them. I certainly don't want to fight with the school across the street; we'd much rather make friends than enemies. We are definitely not crazy, fightin' homeschoolers.

  9. p.s. you can usually shut me up with a simple answer to my "why" question; that's all i want. then i'm reasonable after that.

  10. Well, I can get where they have enough going on with the kids under their charge without having more, but yes, an explanation is warranted.

    LOL on the "we can't all be rich and homeschool" type comments. I'm not very nice to those people.

    I agree the teacher should have checked it out first. Even with kids in ps, sometimes siblings are not permitted in school when you come to volunteer, etc.

  11. (1) Wouldn't you love to know who Anonymous was?
    (2) A friend of mine couldn't get comments to work so I'm posting this for her without a name, just in case!
    "I can't post a comment on the blog today for some reason, but I'll just say the current principal has some serious issues with homeschoolers, apparently. I called last week to talk to him, trying to decide whether we're going to send J. to kindergarten next year to relieve the insane scheduling stress of all of R.'s and L.'s appointments a bit. He "never got a chance" (his words) to call me back, so I took J. to kindergarten roundup several days later and talked to him there. He made it quite clear in a less-than-5 minute conversation that he had no desire to deal with us - and it's not as though I was asking a lot of him, basically just wanting to get an idea of what they teach in K to be sure that J. wouldn't be bored to tears."


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