Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Patience, persistence, and idiocracy

I just wanted to post a little update for those of you that have been wondering and asking. Currently, I still have my kids in Seminole County Public Schools and I am still planning to present to the board.  I am up to my ears in different documents and statutes and character reference letters (Thanks to all, I do have to say.....how many people have the luxury in this world of knowing exactly how their friends feel about them AND that they feel that way strongly enough to put it in writing. If nothing else comes from this, at least I get that for my self esteem.  You guys are all awesome!!)

There has been a lot of silence lately on my part, and for many reasons. 

1. I had another baby in June <3  In some ways this makes me even more fired up and ready to go to war to prove I deserve to be a "normal" mom included in my child's school life just like the other moms; and in some ways this makes me want to pull back and consider whether I want ANY of my kids involved in a system  (This part is tough, because we selected our house for this school system) that teaches this level of exclusion and total lack of forgiveness, despite the fact that over ten years have passed since my non-violent drug arrest (in 2002) and despite the fact that I completed all that the law required of me, and that at no point in time have I EVER been legally restricted from being around kids, and my arrest didn't involve any kids....but depending on the severity, someone with a DUI or domestic violence charge will be approved as a dividend as long as it's been more than 5 years.

2. The PTA board and school staff at my daughter's current school is great, and have found ways for me to help out even though I'm not a "approved dividend" (without breaking any rules or having me around kids, which is a great compromise that should honestly be implemented county wide to accommodate parents such as myself in the event that the current discriminating policy is not changed) Anyway, I would hate to go present to the school board and have the few opportunities I currently get to help out be taken away in retaliation.

3. There is a lot of red tape, research, and organization involved. This requires spare time, which I don't always have available (you know, between all my "non-volunteering" and raising a baby and my other kids and such) I wish I had the time and energy to share all the emails back and forth with various county employees!

I have found some hope in that Pinellas County just changed their volunteer screenings from similar what Seminole's policy says to something more like the minimum required by state statute.  But, gasp, what about the safety of the children? You ask? Never fear, they will still screen the riff raff, but they changed some of the parameters so that someone like myself could actually volunteer after going 10 years without any additional arrests, instead of 25 like it was before (which was still better than Seminole, who has me on the "NEVER" list as if I were a sex offender)

4. Maybe it would just be easier to home school. There, I said it. Maybe rather than trying to fit into this community that wants to shove me as far to the outer edge of our village as it can (and board members quip #ItTakesAVillage while ignoring that a certain portion of the village exists and may be interested in helping out - Last I checked the saying wasn't "It takes most of a village" or "It takes only the good parts of a village") Maybe it would be easier to just teach my kid myself. And in all honesty? A large portion of the material she's covered so far in K, 1, and 2 is stuff she already knew from her dad and I when she started pre-K...so maybe I should just do that. I shouldn't HAVE to, but I'm beginning to wonder if my daughter will be graduated before I have accomplished anything. I'm not a fan of bureaucracy, or idiocracy, or anything else that is slow or inefficient. ;)

One of these days, all the stars will align at the right time and I'll head on down and make my first presentation.  Until then I will leave you with this question:

WHY are we talking about division when we talk about our school volunteers?

Dividend implies splitting something into pieces, or making smaller pieces. I don't think that fits with the Title I requirement for  "encouraging parent participation", which is a shame since we already don't have enough active volunteers as it is. Really, we need all the help we can get, and beggars can't be choosers. 
Is it better/more effective to get 10,000 parents to sign up and add to the total number of dividends yet not put in a single volunteer hour?  Or to deny the application of one volunteer that put in over 250 hours last year even though I am #NotAVolunteer?