Friday, October 20, 2006

A little gripe

I had SugarPlum's and Bear's teacher conferences this week. SugarPlum's teachers all adore her. No big surprises there. She is a great kid and a focused, diligent student. Her teacher's only "complaint" was that she sometimes has to remind SP to stop reading. I told her that I have the same problem!

After those turbulent first few weeks of school, I was a little more apprehensive about my conference with Bear's teacher. Thankfully, it was very pleasant as well. He is doing so much better concentrating on his work and behaving as he should. Mrs. Kindergarten said that she has noticed a marked improvement over the past few weeks. He is really becoming such a citizen. That is a load off my mind!

Here is what has really been bothering me this week: a note (or packet of notes) from SP's P.E. teacher. Last month, the fourth grade did a PE unit on roller skating where they got to go to a local skate rink each day. It cost $9 per child. In the note home with the permission slip and money request, Mrs. PE added that if we were so inclined, they could use some "scholarships" for those students whose families couldn't afford the $9. I gladly contributed to the cause.

On Wednesday, SugarPlum handed me a stack of papers stapled together, folded in half and sealed with a sticker. She said that Mrs. PE sent it. Puzzling. I opened the packet and on top was a note from Mrs. PE thanking all of the parents who contributed to the skating "fund" for allowing all of the fourth graders to enjoy the unit. Very nice. HOWEVER, attached to this note were copies of thank you notes from each of the students who benefited from our contributions. Not from the entire fourth grade, just those students whose parents couldn't afford to pay for them to skate.

Am I crazy? Or so you also find this disturbing? I, for one, thought that this was was terribly demeaning and humiliating for those children to be singled out and have to write thank you notes. Kids can be cruel. And I know that if (and WHEN) Bitsy McSnottypants and her equally arrogant classmates find out which students benefited from their parents generosity, there will be some mean-spirited teasing going on. Some very fragile egos will be battered a little more. And that breaks my heart.

It has to be bad enough to not be able to pay for school activities. I was happy to help a couple of kids get to go skating. But at the expense of their dignity? That seems a little wrong. No, that seems a LOT wrong.

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