You know how I’m always
preaching advising that mothers
should not criticize other mothers because we’re all struggling in our own way,
even if the persona we present publicly is a mixture of Mary Poppins and June
Cleaver? (Not Roseanne, like
|Don't make me judge you . . .|
Well fasten your seatbelts, readers; I’m about to get all Judgy McJudgerson on you’re a$$es.
On Wednesday, February 8 an article entitled “School Tardiness Sends Waterford Parents to Court” appeared in our local paper, the Loudoun Times-Mirror. (I know that was a week ago. Pipe down. I've got a family to raise.)
Hmmmm, I thought. I am a former educator and currently a parent. I am going to read this article. Then I’m going to extrapolate my unsolicited opinion for my unsuspecting readers to enjoy.
You can read the article in its entirety here.
My favorite parts of the article read as follows:
Mark Denicore leaves early for work each morning from his home in Waterford. His wife, Amy, is in charge of getting their three children ready and out the door for school. With three children, all under age 10, it can be challenging to get them ready all at once and make it to school on time.
What is every parent’s early-morning routine challenge has now turned into a legal battle and a potential life-changing event for the family.
On January 31, the Denicores were served with a summons to appear in court on a Class 3 misdemeanor for their daughter Sophie’s excessive tardiness.
The Denicores admit they’re not perfect parents. Their three children have been late to school 85 times since September, but the majority of the time they missed the opening bell by only a few minutes.
[Just for the sake of clarification, two children have been late 29 times and one has been late 27 times.]
"The three children have only missed less than three hours each of school since September," Mark Denicore said.
Amy Denicore is a stay-at-home mom and either drives their children to school or allows them to walk the few blocks to Waterford Elementary."
Although he and his wife had been warned of the constant tardies, they didn’t feel the school system would take it to this extreme.
So. Much. Judging. To Do.
- I, too, have three children under the age of 10. I have been known to miss the bus once or twice. I have been on the receiving end of the bus driver's smug look and forced smile as I apologized for making her wait. In fact, you can read all about one of my parenting misadventures here! I completely understand being late every once in a while. Kids can’t find their shoes. They won’t get out of bed on time. They forget to wear underwear. (No? Just in my household?) Sh*t happens; I get it. But 29 times?
- This family lives within walking distance of the school. Here’s a tip: leave the house earlier. Yes. It really is that simple.
- What lesson are you teaching your children when you treat their chronic tardiness as if it is perfectly acceptable? That when you have a real job and you’re expected to show up on time, the rules don’t apply to you? Those rules are for other people? Mark Denicore is a lawyer. What happens when he is late to court, I wonder.
- For those who are critical of the school system for spending the time and money on taking the Denicores to court . . . the Denicores forced their hand. After numerous warnings and lengthy correspondence from Loudoun County schools, the children were still late. The school system was left with no alternative but to enforce their guidelines.
- As a former teacher, I can attest to the fact that it is disruptive to the entire class to have students show up late. It is disrespectful to the teacher and to the other 20-some students who made the effort to be punctual. Further, I guarantee that teachers and administrators have spent an excessive amount of time on paperwork documenting the Denicores' breach of the rules. That’s right, folks. Teaching is more than just making photo-copies and sharpening pencils. Surprise!
- Granted, I got all my information from the newspaper, but as far as I can tell, there are NO extenuating circumstances that prevent the Denicores from getting their children to school on time. Mom’s not sick. Dad’s not overseas. It's called laziness. That's right! I said it!
- Yes, getting kids out of the house in the morning can be a lot like nailing jello to the wall, but millions of parents get it done every day. So can you.
Dear Denicores, no one is saying you’re bad parents. I’m sure you love them, feed them, and provide them shelter and other basic needs. There are children all over the world who would gladly trade their fly-ridden, dehydrated, naked lot in life for the "only less than three hours" of the free education we are fortunate enough to have in this country. Please give your children’s education the respect it deserves and stop making light of it. Teach your children to be respectful of time, structure, and basic societal expectations, because eventually they’re going to grow into adults who believe that rules don’t apply to them. Be forewarned: when one of your offspring parks in the handicapped spot when it is not a necessity simply because rules do not apply to him, I will key his car.
Thank you for your time,
(hehe. Get it?!)