Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Zombie Forms

I thought that when we'd turned in forms 3300 and 3231 that we'd have successfully registered the kids for school. But then I had a phone call from the kids' elementary schools saying that their dental form wasn't acceptable and they graciously offered us an extension to get that filled out, which we did at the very end of August. So then I thought that for real we'd finally completed the registration process. It may have taken us two months to do but at least we'd done it!

But, no.

To quote myself in a rather saucy email I sent to the principal this evening:
I will probably have nightmares about these forms for the rest of my life. They're like zombie forms that keep reappearing to eat my brainz every time I think I've put them to rest.  
How can I make them go away?!?!
You see, this afternoon Rachel brought home a letter for me. A letter that says Rachel's file was audited and the auditor found "no certificate or documentation" of immunization. A letter that says my child may be "excluded from school...if this information is not received." A letter that says that "any parent or guardian who intentionally does not comply with the Code section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 12 months."

And—you guys—flames on the side of my face!

We have ten days to deliver the form (or...face imprisonment?!) which won't be a problem because I have a photocopy of the form sitting right here in front of me. The infuriating part is that on August 1 I accompanied Rachel to her school for the back-to-school morning. We explored the school a bit, found her classroom, met her teacher, and then went to the new student registration desk, which was set up in the media lab (formerly known as the library, I'm sure). We stood in line there. I gave a nice woman forms 3300 and 3231. She made copies, put them in a folder, and said we were good to go.

So we went.

And our forms were lost.

I'm trying hard to not laugh (or cry) over this because I went through the very same thing at Benjamin and Miriam's back-to-school day. I took their forms to the office. The person at the desk took one set of forms and handed the other set back to me and said I was good to go.

"No, no," I insisted. "I need to hand these forms in as well."

"That's your copy," desk worker explained. "I'll keep this one on file."

"I think you're going to need the papers I have as well."

"What for? We only need one copy."

"Two different kids," I said, putting my hands on their heads. "Two sets of forms."

"OH! These aren't copies! These are originals! Oh, I'll make copies right now!"

Sheesh. At least those forms weren't lost (although, as I already mentioned, we had the whole dental form mix up (thanks to the county health department)).

I feel like somehow as I've been bumbling along this process I've managed to uncover every incompetent individual at work in Gwinnett county. I'm wild with fury (Andrew 100% thinks I'm overreacting, I'm sure) but—you guys!—this is not that difficult. It's not.

So why am I still dealing with these forms months later?!

And how did no one at the middle school catch this months ago?! Like, her file was flagged for August 8th—that was our deadline for turning these forms in. Do I hear anything from the school such as, "We still haven't gotten those forms from you?" Do I get a phone call from the school saying, "If you don't turn in these forms right away we can't allow Rachel to continue to attend"?

No. I hear nothing until I hear GIVE US THESE FORMS OR WE WILL PUT YOU IN JAIL.

And it's just this sort of thing that drove me away from the elementary school as well (no offense, elementary school). Y'all are too high strung for me.

For example, this is the school's "procedure for students returned by bus because no one was home to meet them or students not picked up at school by 3:00 P.M.":
1. First incident: School contacts parents, guardians or emergency contacts to pick up the child.
2. Second incident: School contacts parents, guardians or emergency contacts to pick up the child. School contacts Gwinnett County Public School (GCPS) Office of Safety and Security. A GCPS School Resources Officers (SRO) will contact parents or guardians and explain that Division of Family and Children Service (DFACS) will be contacted the next time the student is returned to school or picked up late.
3. Third incident: School contacts DFACS.
Doesn't that seem a little...extreme (especially given the horrendous traffic of the metro Atlanta area)? I mean, take a chill pill. I could see a parent easily having three emergencies come up* (and given how difficult the school makes it to inform them in a change of plans...I mean, come on). So, I don't like that. Nope, nope, nope. 

Especially because this is fifteen minutes. School lets out at 2:45. 

I just...stop it. Children are important, but things come up. Like. Just. Stop. 

And then there were the sickening workbooks my children had to fill out on attendance. I wish I had kept them but they were too quickly recycled. Let's just say that more than once the workbook told my children that missing school for any reason (other than a fever of over 101°F or vomiting or a visible, contagious rash or pink eye) is illegal. I think Benjamin's booklet even had a little teddy bear proclaiming, "Your parents could go to jail!" but that might just be my imagination running wild with my memory.

They specifically called out "mental health days." You can't just miss school because you don't feel like going. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And I get that. I do. I mean, I'm all for sending my kids to school (I mean, until I suddenly begin homeschooling them, but whatever...they've had perfect attendance so far even through a stomach bug, so...) but reeeeelaaaaax

At the very least, stop threatening to send me to jail all the time.

Send your child to school or go to jail!

Pick your child up on time or go we'll take them away!

Turn in this form (which you already turned in and which we lost) or go to jail!

Like, really—who hurt you?

Can we deescalate this situation at all? Can we offer just a smidge of, I dunno, grace or forgiveness? Can we all just simmer down?!

And, for heaven's sake, can we file forms 330 and 3231 correctly this time?!

* In Spanish Fork the emergency might have been, "Awwww, man! I totally forgot it was early release day...again! It's every Monday! How do I keep doing this?!" because I think I did that at least three times and left my poor kindergarten baby wasting away in the office. But they didn't put me in jail for it or take my child away. They laughed it off and let me continue being the wonderful (seriously flawed) mother that I am.


  1. I still think you should video yourself handing in the form, documentary style, "Here I am standing at the registration desk at XXX school. Here I am handing this lady (read her name tag) the form that I am handing in for the second time, since I already handed it in on August 1. Here I am informing said representative of XXX school that I am posting this video to youtube today so that it is correctly dated for all the world to see, so that if the forms are lost again, I have proof positive that I handed the forms in to (read her name) on this day, say the date." If they can be ridiculous, so can you.

  2. So they always overreact. My kids schools started making attendance part of their grade and now whenever I have to pull them for orthodontist appointments they freak...and when I try to get them to play hooky, they freak. It is worse than jail threats. It doesn't surprise me Rachel got flagged. There is those boosters they have to get before 7th grade. Grace got flagged as well. She'd gotten them, I just hadn't turned a form in...because good grief, I have other things to worry about.

  3. I think we need to revolt, then, if school systems are ALWAYS overreacting like this. I understand there are real problems they are trying to mitigate, but I feel like they have a bit of overreach. I think we should be petitioning for family rights (like in some European countries how your employer can't NOT give you time off if your child has a break from school and you'd like to take a family trip, for example...I heard that was a thing somewhere (but did not take the time to look it up just now), except, perhaps I'd like to see schools being equally flexible). I understand that children who go to school tend to do things like...graduate...but I also feel like we could be a TEENSY bit less threatening about the whole thing because children who develop a good relationship with their parents tend to not turn out to be psychopaths (and we could use a few less of those in the world). Maybe if we let kids (and parents) relax and enjoy each other we'd all be better off...just saying. :)

    Anyway, Andrew dropped the forms off on his way to work this morning and we were told they were "take it from here." But, like WHERE will they take them from here? All the way to the finish line? I dunno about that...

    1. I hope he filmed it. I hope you emailed the principal and said, "The forms were just delivered for the SECOND TIME. How can we be assured that the second time the forms will actually be filed correctly so this doesn't happen again? if you can assume the worst, and threaten us with legal action if we did not turn in the forms, then why can we not assume the worst, that you will lost them again as you did the first time? Where is our reassurance that you will indeed deal with the forms in the appropriate manner?"

  4. I guess I need to join my friend Ann's group of "Raging Grannies."