Friday, October 5, 2007

DCMM: Preschool is Like a Warm, Cozy Hot Tub; Kindergarten is Like the Cold, Choppy Ocean

In the car on the way to kindergarten today, Sam said: "If you do something really bad, you don't get to go to school for a few days."


Being the astute and watchful parent that I am, I decided that Sam must have this information because this had happened in his class. So I asked and he answered. And, yes, a kid named S hit another kid in the class hard enough in the nose to make him bleed. And S was suspended. Both of these kids are in Sam's kindergarten class.

Let me repeat that: Kindergarten. They're so tiny; why do they need to brawl? And why, even though this apparently happened a few days ago, am I only hearing about it now? From Sam and not the school?

I'm not suggesting that they send home a note with the kid's name on it, but I think that parents of kindergartners should be told of assaults that occur barely a month into school. Because I want to be able to talk to my kid about bullying. And I want to talk to my kid about how to deal with another child who might up and deck him. And I want to know why it happened and what they're doing to prevent it in the future.

I want to know how to feel like my son is safe in school.

I get that there are probably privacy issues, but it feels like this school makes it impossible to know what happens in class. And I wasn't aware that in addition to asking, "What did you draw during art?" I also had to ask, "So, any casualties today?"

I'm nowhere near patient enough to homeschool. And I'm nowhere near rich enough for private school, so this is it for us. We're public school kids. And I need assurance and communication from that school.

But I also don't want to be the crazy parent that's always demanding something or complaining about something. (I'm already that mom at Jack's school.) So again I ask for your advice:

Do most public schools alert parents to stuff like this? Should I get in touch with the teacher? The principal? Should I let it go unless it happens again, and just try to talk to Sam about it? These are uncharted waters for me, and I am totally adrift. I'd appreciate your lifeboat of advice.

Jean is also in need of advice most of the time at Stimeyland.

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