I’m about to do something that terrifies me. I’m going to bad mouth the Blue Valley School District. (Just to get the courage to say that I had to fortify myself with not one but two Rice Krispy treats.)
I know this is something you are never, ever supposed to do. Once you move here, you drink the Kool Aid. Well, I’m going tell you that right now that Kool Aid is a little off, like when you mix the classic cherry-flavored Kool Aid with something called Arctic Green Apple and you think, “Wow, something’s not right there.”
Now, before you start sending me hate emails (and just so you know, I’m still recovering from all the Rolling Stone backlash, so please, no more threats to my person or property) give me a couple of sentences to explain myself. I’m not talking about the people doing the heavy lifting, the teachers. What I’m perplexed about is the higher ups in the district, and I’m not alone in this feeling.
Last week at a mom back-to-school confab featuring a cross section of awesome women, I took a deep breath and shared, “I think something is wrong with the district.” I’m not going to lie. I was a little scared what would happen after I dropped that bomb. But, surprise, surprise, a lot of moms agreed with me. We started swapping stories of recent idiocy we had experienced, and that’s when I decided to throw caution and my email account to the wind and write this column.
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Because I adore my friends, I will only share a tidbit of what I have experienced. The first foray this school year that left me feeling a little WTH? was earlier this month. My daughter’s schedule had a problem and I needed to talk to someone about the issue. (And yes, I sent an email, thus not violating the school’s golden rule of preferred communication.) Let’s just say I would have had an easier time getting a Time Warner or a Comcast representative on the phone, and when I did get a human to talk to me I was not so gently shoved off to another number (at one point I was told to call the district’s IT department — huh?) and multiple people redirected me to the school’s website!
Really, Blue Valley School District, you’re going to tell a mom of a high school sophomore to check the website? Like this is my first rodeo? Are you kidding me? Why didn’t you just say, “We don’t care and our goal is to get off the phone with you as quickly as possible”?
Oh, and about that website. It was hostile. Lot’s of all caps and yellow highlighted passages that let you know whoever wrote it and approved it thinks parents are a great big pain and time suck. (Note to Blue Valley — one of the reasons your schools perform so well is because of the parents, who care deeply about public education.)
It’s not as if I don’t know and appreciate how busy the administration is, but come on. A Blue Valley high school is not a multinational company. You can communicate with a parent. And I wasn’t doing the “I think I’m important and I want help right now” thing. All I wanted was someone to get back to me in a timely fashion.
Well, I’m not ashamed to admit to you that I finally hit the wall and went full cray. Full cray, mind you, at an In-N-Out Burger parking lot in Los Angeles. The reason being is because in California you can’t drive and talk on your phone. So, when my full cray episode exploded I turned into the closest parking lot I could find, which just happened to be an In-N-Out.
Now, going full cray at your kid’s school is a delicate operation. You can’t be the parent who is always grousing. No one will take your concerns seriously if you’re a chronic complainer — and if you have multiple kids in school you have to pace yourself. Right now, I’m in the cray sweet spot. I have one child left in school and that meant it was on like Donkey Kong.
I got out of my car, thus allowing me room for full arm gesticulation, because you can’t go cray without dramatic and robust upper body movements, and called the school. Finally, someone talked to me. Finally, my problem got worked out.
Bonus, after I got off the phone a group of folks eating lunch outside, the In-N-Out applauded. I did exactly what you would have done. I took a bow and then got a double double with cheese.