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Mom Takes Fall, Serves Detention for Daughter ("School discipline. Parental rights")
Morning Sentinel ^ | Saturday, June 04, 2005 | Colin Hickey

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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Maine
KEYWORDS: cary; daniellepelletier; education; parentalrights; schooldiscipline
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To: fight_truth_decay

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.


21 posted on 06/04/2005 5:31:14 AM PDT by edweena
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To: em2vn
They should rename this site Slave Republic. There are too many people here who think that the mother needs a "legitimate" reason for taking her child 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...."

22 posted on 06/04/2005 5:35:12 AM PDT by freebilly (Go Santa Cruz Baseball! Win CCS!)
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To: Sacajaweau
"Would love to know the number of school kids who have gone to Disney World for "Educational Purposes"."

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.

23 posted on 06/04/2005 5:36:12 AM PDT by sweetliberty (Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.)
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To: AntiGuv
One person's priority is another person's leisure. My parents pulled me out of school so I could spend a day going shopping and to the movies with my dad, who I hadn't seen in a month due to business travel. I still turned out okay. It's up to the parent to decide what is important for the child. The school should discipline disruptive behavior, but their own disciplinary policies should not override parental decisions.

This parent wouldn't have anything to complain about if she home-schooled.

24 posted on 06/04/2005 5:36:22 AM PDT by highimpact (Hard work. I just say it to scare away the Liberals.)
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To: fight_truth_decay
I think you opened up a can of worms.

Not by accident! ;^)

25 posted on 06/04/2005 5:36:25 AM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: em2vn

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.


26 posted on 06/04/2005 5:39:38 AM PDT by edweena
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To: fight_truth_decay
Should you be able to go to school and take your child out when you need to?

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.

27 posted on 06/04/2005 5:39:56 AM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (I am not a romantic, I don't hero worship and no, as a matter of fact, I don't have a heart.)
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To: fight_truth_decay
The poor kid was all ready a looser for missing the last half-hour of a school day. The knowledge that would of been imparted upon her that half hour could of been the most important lesson she could of learned through out her entire High School career. Now she will never know the meaning of life. Yes this poor child is the looser.

The mother should be punished for not knowing what to say to government agents, in order to work the system.

28 posted on 06/04/2005 5:40:41 AM PDT by Mark was here (My tag line was about to be censored.)
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To: fight_truth_decay

Oh. Like the girl was actually going to learn anything useful in a public school anyhow.


29 posted on 06/04/2005 5:43:03 AM PDT by Seruzawa (If you agree with the French raise your hand - If you are French raise both hands.)
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To: AntiGuv

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


30 posted on 06/04/2005 5:43:10 AM PDT by HapaxLegamenon
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To: em2vn

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.


31 posted on 06/04/2005 5:45:17 AM PDT by onevoter
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To: AntiGuv

"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.


32 posted on 06/04/2005 5:47:22 AM PDT by Rockiesrider
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To: freebilly
Hear, hear!

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.

33 posted on 06/04/2005 5:49:07 AM PDT by liberty_lvr (Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear
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.

So the school is only following the law set forth in the State of Maine. So is it the school's fault-under Carvell and Atwood?

34 posted on 06/04/2005 5:49:12 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: edweena

I did the same thing with my son in high school. He was exhausted.


35 posted on 06/04/2005 5:49:38 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: kitkat
the classes would be in chaos

They aren't already?

36 posted on 06/04/2005 5:50:10 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (DOC - 81 MM Mortars, Wpns Co. 2/3 KMCAS 86-89)
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To: kitkat

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.


37 posted on 06/04/2005 5:50:51 AM PDT by Protect the Bill of Rights
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To: fight_truth_decay
Should you be able to go to school and take your child out when you need to?

Not if the state thinks your children belong to them and they are only on loan to you until they become taxpayers

38 posted on 06/04/2005 5:51:27 AM PDT by Popman ("I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." Patrick Henry)
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To: AntiGuv

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.


39 posted on 06/04/2005 5:52:19 AM PDT by Protect the Bill of Rights
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To: All
And that need, they said, is established by state law...

The State supersedes the parent's rights?

40 posted on 06/04/2005 5:52:43 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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