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I Must Get Out of the Car to Pick Up My 8-year-old, And I Am Disabled
August 26, 2016
This situation is so infuriating, I am at a loss for advice to give that doesn’t involve hissing. Maybe you have some?
Dear Free-Range Kids: My daughter “M” just started 3rd grade at a school she has attended since preschool. It has 200 students K-8 so everyone knows everyone. There is one main building that has a field surrounded by a fence and then sidewalks that lead to the parking lot.
Last year after lots of debate, signing a waiver, and basically being told I was a bad mom, the teacher finally agreed to allow M to be released from the classroom at the end of the day without an adult and go across the field and meet me at a predetermined place. This allowed me to be able to pick her up without having to get out of my car, and since I use a wheelchair a lot of the time this is a big deal.
After doing this pick-up method without a single incident last year, I figured this year it wouldn’t be an issue.
Boy was I wrong! Her teacher is new this year and returning to teaching after 16 yrs of homeschooling her kids. I explained to her what worked last year and my physical limitations.
She absolutely refused to release M without a face-to-face hand-off. When I again explained that that wouldn’t work her solution was that M could stay 15 mins after school everyday and when she (the teacher) walked other kids to the after-school program, M could meet me at a drop-off area and get in the car. The only problem is that it is not an area where I can park and wait, so I have to keep making circles. And if I’m not there the exact second she is, the teacher makes M check into the aftercare program and I have to go in to check her out. So more walking!
Yesterday I went ahead and started to walk up to the class because I was in a hurry and I didn’t think M had been taken to aftercare yet. As I was walking to the class I thought I heard her calling. Turns out she’d already been taken to aftercare so I walked all the way back and checked her out. She told me then that she had indeed yelled to try and stop me and was going to run out to catch me, on to a secure sidewalk area not a road, but was stopped and told she had to wait inside. She was upset because she knows how hard this is on me but said the teacher didn’t care. This is part of an email I sent the teacher: . I’m curious what you consider to be unsafe about releasing my daughter from the classroom on her own? There is NOT a school rule that says kids can not be released from class on their own. I would never do anything to put M’s safety in jeopardy, but I also think one of the best ways to keep her safe is to allow her to do low-risk activities in a controlled environment…. It may seem like a silly little thing but it was important to her and took a big burden off of me. So now this year I’m stuck trying to explain to her that it’s not that she did anything wrong or that I don’t trust her. . After all that do you think she said, “Ok, that makes sense, let’s try that”?! Of course not. I got yet another email that talked about school safety. I feel like my kid is being held hostage.
The mom added that she would make a bigger ruckus except that her daughter loves this school and gets some financial aid, so she feels she can’t be too squeaky a wheel (chair!). Any other advice? – L