Skip to comments.Mom Takes Fall, Serves Detention for Daughter ("School discipline. Parental rights")
Posted on 06/04/2005 4:54:48 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
Danielle Pelletier said she never once had to serve a detention when she attended Winslow High School more than two decades ago.
But her clean record ended Friday.
Pelletier, 39, served her first detention, reporting to Room 24 of the high school promptly at 2:15 p.m. for a one-hour stay.
The Vassalboro mother served the time in place of her daughter, who had been given the punishment because of an unexcused absence.
Pelletier requested the stand-in arrangement, she said, because she was the one who elected to pull her daughter out of class 30 minutes before the end of the school day earlier this week -- a hair-styling appointment was the reason.
The petite Pelletier, a nurse at a local hospital, took the rap to protest what she called an unjust policy.
School administrators argued to the contrary. They said the policy is sound and that Pelletier's daughter received the minimum consequence.
School discipline. Parental rights.
The Pelletier detention raised questions about both concerns.
"The whole point of this is this shouldn't be happening," Pelletier said. "I should be able to come to school and take (my daughter) out when I need to."
Winslow principal Douglas Carville and assistant principal Terry Atwood, however, said a parent's right in such instances depends on the nature of the need.
And that need, they said, is established by state law, not school policy.
State law permits an excused absence for personal illness, medical appointments, religious holiday observance, family emergencies, and pre-approved personal or educational purposes.
Pelletier's reason for missing school, the two administrators said, did not meet that criteria.
School policy, they said, has to adhere to state law.
Pelletier, though, said she does not dispute that the absence was unexcused.
What she does dispute, she said, is that one unexcused absence does not merit a punishment, and certainly not one directed at her daughter, whom she said has an exemplary student record.
She also argued that the school should have discipline policies that treat students as individuals, not as one student body.
"There are 588 students at Winslow High School and every one of them is an individual," she said. "Sometimes you have to look at that, and they don't. They don't care. They think every kid is exactly the same."
Carville and Atwood begged to differ with that assessment.
Atwood said he always considers a child's history as a student when that child violates a school rule. Those with a good history receive the minimum consequence for a first offense, he said.
At the same time, Carville said, discipline policies can only be flexible to a certain degree. Make them too flexible, he said, and you are left with rules inconsistently applied, and an inconsistently applied rule ceases to be a rule.
In the Pelletier case, however, Carville said a proper level of flexibility was shown. That is why the mother, not the daughter, served the detention, he said.
Thinking about it....The parent obviously has a time schedule...just like most of us. Sometimes stuff happens and we parents make a decison. The school and the state does not OWN our children. If the schools would worry about the REAL TROUBLE MAKERS instead of exerting their POWER, we'd be a lot better off. This is another POWER PLAY...the favorite teachers' game.
Would love to know the number of school kids who have gone to Disney World for "Educational Purposes".
That's going on Mom's permanent record now!
***Should you be able to go to school and take your child out when you need to?***
No one NEEDS to take a kid out of school to go to the beauty parlor. If everyone could take their children out for such flimsly reasons, the classes would be in chaos. It's time this ditzy mother grew up.
My child was sick and stayed home, and I forgot to call in the excuse. Explaining this to the vice principal didn't change his mind about the detention.
The zero tolerance one size fits all lazy thinking that the man exhibited was disgusting and occurs way too often today's world.
I have a very difficult time objecting to the idea that going to a hair salon is not a legitimate reason to excuse your kid from class. Schools in the modern day have a huge problem maintaining discipline and standards; letting kids go for whatever silly reason their parents might approve of would not be helpful.
Should you be able to take off from work whenever you feel the need to get your hair done?
Mom doesn't need detention. She needs parenting classes.
I think mom craves attention a little too much.
Classes WOULD be chaos? You haven't been paying attention, have you...?
We really dont know why the kid needed hjer hair done that day do we? I mean we should assume that the mother doesnt make hair appointment during school hours as a regular habit. Maybe she as in a wedding that weekend or maybe there was another reason. I would assume it was something special. If the kid isnt habitually taken from school as a regular thing I wouldnt think it was any business of the schools why she was taken out. To me an inexcused absence is one where the kid skips school and the parent doesnt know it. If the parent wishes to take a child out of school for a day thats their business. Schools dont own children.
If that is the only time that mom can get the kid into the hair stylist that fits into her schedule she damn sure needs to take the kid out of school.
It's none of the school's business why a parent takes a kid out of school unless it is effecting the kid's performance at school.
Would you feel the same way if the mom pulled the kid during a class on the positive aspects of a homosexual life style or the negative effects Christianity?
Parents can take a kid out anytime they want,period.
I am sorry, but taking your kid out of school early because of a ...hairdresser appointment is quite ridiculous. Granted, she's the parent, it her choice but how on earth are we going to instill in kids the importance of education and good attendance when they are being pulled out early on a whim, for superfluous reasons?
I take off work when I need to and when I want to. If the people who've contracted for my services don't like it, tough. Fire me. There are plenty of other businesses who require my services.
I wonder how many kids & teachers at Winslow High had 'dental appointments' a week ago Friday...the Friday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.
There's also the possibility that teachers and administrators can no longer think for themselves since they have become union members and have to follow union rules. A professional might be able to see the nuance and manage the situation accordingly, but a rank-and-file person has rules to obey...
I think you opened up a can of worms..laughs. In fact I think many women do just that. Therefore the mindset. However men have been known to leave work for a haircut.
Anybody that thinks they can, should investigate.
My sister had her kids in public school, and in the event of a public emergency...you are not allowed to take your kids out of school.
There are very specific rules for removing a kid from school.
Supposedly these are in place to protect the child, but when the school knows the parent and the parent is still denied access to the child, it's time to rethink the situation.
My sister now homeschools.
In general, absolutely. This is another good example of why the government needs to be out of the education business.
That said, some of these stupid laws come about because of irresponsible parents who don't/won't send their kids to school regularly, so all parents and choldren pay for it. Needless to say, most of these parents don't place a real high value on education themselves and keeping their kids home is more for their own convenience than anything else.
Good grief. Only 588 students and they can't make individualized decisions on this? I guess they want parents to lie about their reasons for taking their kids out of school.
Hey, @$$hats, try this one-- "I'm her parent, and I'm taking her out of school. Why? Personal reasons that are none of your business. Now, get out of my way...."
I happen to believe that such a trip is a perfectly valid reason to pull a kid out of school. In fact, I pulled mine out of school one year for a long vacation (2 extra weeks in December/January), but I made sure that I spoke to the teachers ahead of time and made arrangements to have some assignments done ahead and others immediately after. It worked out just fine. Of course, that was a private school where the school actually believes that parents are the primary authority in a child's life.
This parent wouldn't have anything to complain about if she home-schooled.
Not by accident! ;^)
You are absolutely correct, in my opinion. My daughter worked so hard in high school that I occasionally (maybe once every couple months) let her take a day off to sleep in and recuperate, just as a worker can take a vacation day at his/her will. She graduated as a National Merit Scholar. My son does not have the same dedication, so I don't extend this privilege to him.
Kids are individuals, and it's performance and productivity that count, not rigid attendance records.
No. You should be able to go to school and take your child out when you want to.
This article shows why I am against public schools.
The mother should be punished for not knowing what to say to government agents, in order to work the system.
Oh. Like the girl was actually going to learn anything useful in a public school anyhow.
I think part of the problem is that parents often lie to allow their children to miss school. If the parents don't like the policy, they can always find another school
I tend to agree with you. In this day and age, parents work and have several committments themselves. Trying to coordinate their schedule and the student's schedule with available appointments isn't always easy. If the student had a perfect record and this was the first time she had been pulled out for something "frivolous" I say good for her and good for the parents. Schools have to have some leeway. What will happen now is that the next time a parent has something of this nature, they will simply lie and say it is for a dental appointment.
"Should you be able to take off from work whenever you feel the need to get your hair done?"
Hey, this is a free country, you already can take off from work to get your hair done. Of course, you may have a lot more time to get your hair done in the future and other things, like looking for a job, filing for unemployment, browsing help wanted ads.
I agree - parental rights here should not even be questioned. The overly-judgmental nature of the majority of responses with regard to the mother, without knowing ALL of the facts, is quite disturbing.
The child is in the school at the parent's discretion, not the other way around.
I did the same thing with my son in high school. He was exhausted.
They aren't already?
Whether or not she NEEDS to take her daughter out is irrelevant.
It is her child. She has every right to make a judgment call. While I would not condone this as a matter of routine, I have made a decision or two such as this (3 boys, two out of school, one in 9th).
There are times when regardless of best planning something will interfere with the school day. SH!T happens. The school does not own me or my child. Education is the priority, but one or 2 of these absences are in a 12 year span is a big yawn.
Not if the state thinks your children belong to them and they are only on loan to you until they become taxpayers
Should you be able to take off from work whenever you feel the need to get your hair done?
As long as you have the Personal Time to do so, yes.
The State supersedes the parent's rights?
We home-school. Why? Not only to control the material taught and behavioral inputs, but so that we can plan our lives, and schedules as we want.
Now a parent can't take their own child out of school when they deem it necessary. A half hour is not a truancy problem. If I need to pick my child up a half hour early I don't owe the school any explanation. This is a case of laziness on the part of the school administration they don't bother trying to have common sense, they set up idiot rules and tell everyone they must live by them or else.
I can't tell you how many times my kids in the 5th grade turn to me concerning a rule at school and say "that is a dumb rule"! You can tell no one thought through the rule, I have to say "I know but just do it" I don't even try to defend the rule because I disagree with the rule. The kids see these idiot administrators for what they are, that could be why the kids lack respect for many of them.
Once you let the school define 'need', then they have total control.
I notice the story said 'unexcused' absence. How exactly was it unexcused? How is it an 'absence' if the girl was there all day and only left 30 minutes early?
Sometimes, the school that my girls attend have a day thats just a total waste of time (no academics), I keep them home.
The ONE time they tried to give me grief over it, I asked them:
"Do the parents that always take their kids back to Mexico for a couple of months during the school year call you every day so their children's absences are *excused*?
No one has questioned me about it since!
There is a "personal reasons" clause in there. It is a typical "broad term" and was put in there to cover odd events like this. "Personal" is the primary term which tells the school it is none of their business. The system is not entitled to your "personal" business...not matter what it is.
But what gives you the right to make that decision for the mother? It's her child, not yours or the states'.
Let's back up a minute. Mom's schedule was flexible enough that she could take her daughter out of school early. Mom's schedule was flexible enough that she could perform "stand-in" detention for the daughter. Perhaps we need to find out why this exact appointment time was so critical for the daughter?
Not only should you be able to take off from work, you should be allowed to shut down operations at LAX for several hours for your personal hair care.
As a woman I can tell you this maybe the only time she could get in for an appointment.