ANSWERS: 7
  • To whom it may concern, My husband and I would like to express our extreme disappointment with the handling of our son’s recent ‘injury’ by the staff of Oakbrook Elementary. First of all, we are deeply insulted that no attempt was made to contact either parent to find out what had happened. If you’d like to know, our son was tickled. Small red spots broke out around his eyes, and if you had called us, you would have learned that he and his mother share this trait; when we strain, blood veins in our cheeks burst and leave small spots, and as a young child I had this happen frequently and my pediatrician explained it to my parents. Peter’s skin is quite fair, and so the spots appear quite bright, but they fade quickly over the course of a day. If you think that our son does not have upstanding parents, it would perhaps help you to realize that our son’s father is a member of the United States Army, and his mother is in fact a substitute teacher in this very school district. Secondly, my son was interviewed by a police officer without either of his parents present. Somehow, we doubt that this is legal, and will be doing our best to research this. Either way, it is simply incomprehensible to us why it would be acceptable to interview a five year old child without a parent being aware of the interview taking place. We would think that leading questions could be easily be asked of such a young child, and that it would be necessary to have an advocate of the child present for such a situation. Certainly one could not consider the interviewer nor the accusing party an advocate of the child. At the very least, an impartial party should have been present to both record the interview and moderate the discussion. After the interview was made, the police officer politely called me to inform me of the interview, which I appreciated, and then explained to me that it was necessary for him to file a report with the proper authorities. This we found a bit odd, especially when the officer expressed to me that our son was not upset and that the officer did not feel that our son had been abused in any way, but that a series of injuries from home led him to be required to report this injury. Both other ’injuries’ were also because of roughhousing, and neither required medical attention or even a bandage, although the school nurse did make an excessive production of his sprained ankle. Our son frequently comes home from school with scrapes and bruises from playing with his friends during recess, and I have never felt that it was a ‘series of worrisome events’ that necessitated a phone call to the police or child protective services, nor have we questioned his teachers’ ability to properly care for him, although we are beginning to. He a young boy, and within a reasonable measure, young boys tend to play rough and end up with various bumps, bruises, and scrapes. Then, two social workers came to our home. Both were very polite, and when they took a look at our ‘file’ and asked what had happened, they expressed their embarrassment at being called out for roughhousing, and apologized to us for taking up our time and left within a few minutes - after Peter gave them a tour of his bedroom. The social workers, as required by law, reported the incident to the military. As you may remember from the top of the letter, my husband is in the Army. My husband and I were then called to Fort --------, which, by the way, is some 2 hours distant away from our home and therefore we did not work that day and spent a good deal of money on our transportation to and from the base. We were then interviewed by a family advocate of the military, and our ’case’ will be brought before a council to decide if the allegations are substantiated. If you follow the logic, a report of excessive tickling has brought my husband’s military career into a state of jeopardy. Perhaps a phone call could have prevented this. After all this, both my husband and I decided to let the matter alone and keep our complaints of how poorly the school handled this incident to ourselves; although our disgust of the situation is great and our dislike for Peter’s teachers is even greater, the school year is coming to a close. However, then we learned from our son that the school guidance counselor had taken it upon herself to also speak with Peter, a week later on Friday, and again, apparently we not supposed to be involved in our son’s life because no phone call was made to our home. By the way, we would have appreciated a phone call. Or an email. Or a letter. And yet, we let it go, because we did not want to make an excessive problem for our son in his last few days of school. We are looking forward to him being able to claim that he has not missed a single day of school this year. However, on Monday afternoon he came home to tell us that he was having lunch with the guidance counselor the next day. Concerned with a seeming excess of attention and a complete lack of communication between the school and ourselves, we finally called the school. My husband spoke with the guidance counselor, and she informed him that it was not necessary to call the parents when he was being interviewed by police officers. When my husband asked what a good course of action would be to prevent such far-flung repercussions from playing rough, and suggested that perhaps he call the school whenever Peter had a scrape or bump, she told him that it would be best if we didn’t send our children to school with marks on them. Additionally, the guidance counselor informed my husband that she was not at liberty to speak with him concerning our son. How that is even possible we do not know, we would think that a guidance counselor would be gratified by a parent’s concern and speak with the parent to help facilitate a better understanding of the situation as well as a common course of action concerning the care of a child. In any case, following the suggestion of your own guidance counselor, we suggest that you not send our child home with marks on him, or we will simply turn this matter around, and call the police and Child Protective Services. Let me just finish my letter by explaining to you, whoever you are, that we expect a phone call to take place before any other sort of interviewing or counseling or any other abnormal activity takes place with our son. Furthermore, we expect that such a thing will not take place unless one or both of his parents are present. Additionally, we suggest that you review your criteria for reporting to government agencies, as it may have further reaching results than you may realize. Even though you did not call us, this whole thing should have stopped at that police officer, who simply could have said, “ I don’t think this needs to be reported, Peter seems fine to me.” We’d like to also inform you, out of politeness, that we are sending a copy of this letter to each of the members of the Board of Trustees of the School District, Child Protective Services, the guidance counselor and police officer my son was interviewed by, the clinical social worker of the Family Advocacy Program for the Army who interviewed us, our state representative, and the Superintendent of Education of the State of South Carolina.
  • BRAVO...I am a resident of SC also, and i think you should give them a piece of your mind. As well as a personal appearence to "voice" how you feel about this appauling behavior by our "system". Privacy in this country has NO meaning anymore, and especially when it comes to children, peoples lives are ruined because of stupid acusations made by unqualified people.
  • Well done. The only thing I would change is the "To Whom It May Concern," as you probably want to direct the letter to the school district or certain individuals in particular.
  • I think its a good letter and you made a good point very well, I think young Peter is lucky to have such good parents. However, schools have got to look after the kids, some sadly are not as well treated as Peter and they have to be sure. In this case they went over the top, but so many times in the UK we end up saying "why didn't somebody do something?" "why didn't anyone notice" :-( Its best to be on the safe side, I'm sure you are great parents, but sadly some people are not.
  • Holy crap!! It is totally outrageous what this school did to you and your family. In addition to who Wide Awake Phoenix told you to cc, I think you should add NBC, ABC, CBS & FOX.
  • Nice letter, but I wouldn't send it just yet. You and your husband should consult with a lawyer. These people constantly overstep their bounds over what amounts to ''Boys being boys.'' It's worth a consultation fee, worst case he'll just write a better letter (the letterhead alone will add some 'juice'), best case you will recieve damages. Don't take this lightly, you now are ''in the system'' and unfairly at that. Only a lawyer can clear every little trace and for the turmoil and pain you have and will suffer, money would ease the pain (perhaps funding tuition at a more worthy school).
  • It's a good letter, one i would definitely forward to all mentioned there-in. I can totally understand your being p*sd off big time and I think most parents in the same situation would feel the same. I wish you well with sorting the d*ckheads out and hope you get some good results or at least an apology :)

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