Another Example of How The Government Tries to Usurp Parental Rights

Lizzie Bennett
Activist Post

I live on an island, a small island. Islands are surrounded by the ocean. This may sound obvious, but it will become apparent why I have included that fact.

The school my daughter attends is just over a mile from the house. Twice a year the school has flood evacuation practice, this is just like fire evacuation practice but the children are told the danger is water, not flames. This also sounds obvious but bear with me.

My child is ten years old and a very aware, sound and sensible ten years old.

So, she comes home a while ago and tells me they have had flood evacuation practice. Great, with the sea so close to the playground I get that, a good storm could cover the 300 yards between the school and the ocean quite easily.

Building on it, while it’s fresh in her mind, I asked a few questions and highlighted a few important details:

  • Did she understand why it’s important not to stop and collect your belongings?
  • Did she understand that just a few inches of water can knock you off your feet so it’s important to move away as quickly and calmly as possible?
  • Did she understand that if the water catches up with them that she needs to run away from it even if the teachers say stay calm and walk?
  • Did she understand that even adults can panic and just being with teachers is not enough to guarantee her safety?
  • Did she understand that even though she can swim she must not attempt to rescue anyone if the water overcomes them?
 January 2014: The surge covered 200 yards in seconds

You know the kind of things I’m talking about. Common sense stuff we need our kids to know. After getting good answers to all of the above, I asked if the school had told her what the collection policy was for parents.

No, they hadn’t. So, the following morning into school I go and I ask the question. Here is an approximate version of the conversation:

Me: Morning. Mrs. Bennett, Shorties mom. She was telling me they had a flood drill yesterday, but she didn’t know how parents are notified so they can come and collect the children.

Them: Parents are not notified.

Me: Pardon?

Them: Parents are not notified.

Me: You’re joking?

Them: No

Me: So the school is evacuated, which is a major incident and the parents are not notified?

Them: Correct.

Me: I’m shocked. Okay, let’s try this, You evacuate the kids to the high school right?

Them: Yes.

Me: So do I just turn up to collect her or what?

Them: Oh, you can’t collect your child, not until the emergency is over.

Me: You think?

Them: No, that’s not allowed, when the emergency is over you will be allocated a time to collect your child.

Me: There are no tall buildings on this island are there?

Them: That’s correct.

Me: So the second floor of my house is not far short of the second floor of the high school, there’s just a couple of feet in it.

Them: I suppose.

Me: So you think I am going to let my child stay in a strange building, scared and wanting her mom when I have a second floor where she could be quite safe with me?

Them: It’s the rules.

Me: Whose rules?

Them: Government guidelines.

Me: And David Cameron is going to come here in person to ensure the rules are adhered to is he?

Them: (Giggling) Of course not.

Me: So when I turn up and demand you hand over my child who’s going to refuse me?

Them: Well, the head teacher of course, he won’t allow it.

Me: Get him out here….NOW

Them: He’s busy.

Me: I’ll wait, though the longer I wait the madder I will get.

A swift phone call later the head teacher appears.

Him: Morning Mrs. Bennett.

Me: Morning. I have just been told that in the event of a flood you will take the kids on foot to the local high school, which is just 200 yards from my house and that’s where they will stay until the emergency is over. Is this correct?

Him: Yes

Me: So what happens when I turn up to collect her?

Him: you will not be allowed to collect her, you will be allocated a time to collect her.

Me: Who will stop me collecting her?

Him: Well, if it came down to it I suppose I would.

Me: Really? You would stop me collecting my child?

Him: Yes

Me: How?

Him: By whatever means I had to employ.

Me: I really hope you’re stronger than you look. Let me explain something to you. If there is any kind of emergency that endangers my child I will be coming to get her. I will ask once politely for you to hand over my child. If you refuse I will quite simply take her and God help anyone who gets in my way.

Him: Mrs. Bennett, you are being unreasonable and if I may say so a little irrational.

Me: You have no idea at all what me being unreasonable looks like, I assure you this is not it. As for irrational, what is irrational is you thinking you are capable of stopping a parent getting to their child when that child is in danger. What’s the school policy on mobile phones?

Him: What?

Me: I assume you have a school policy on mobile phones?

Him: Yes, the children can have them in school but are not allowed to use them at all on school grounds.

Me: Brilliant, if you have evacuated the school she’s not on school grounds is she? I’ll buy her one today. You take the school register to the high school so you can check you have everyone I assume?

Him: of course.

Me: Great, just put her down as an unauthorized absence. Thanks for your time.

Him: I’m not quite finished Mrs. Bennett.

Me: Yes, actually you are.

Him: You cannot expect the rules to change because you disagree with them, that’s unreasonable.

Me: I don’t expect them to change, and it’s good to know that the children whose parents can’t get to them are secure, but I can get to my child, I will get to my child and I will be removing my child from your care, for you to think otherwise is not just unreasonable it’s insane. This is not a negotiation of terms it’s a statement of fact.

Him: I will be forced to stop you.

Me: Good luck with that. Do all the other parents know that they are not allowed to collect their children or does the school have a policy of only tell them if they ask?

Him: That’s not your concern.

Me: Maybe not, but it will be yours by the time school kicks out today.

Him: We live on an island, it’s surrounded by water.

Me: Most islands are I think. Your point is?

Him: Water isn’t like fire you know.

Me: I worked that out a few years back.

Him: You have no right to fire up the other parents.

Me: I have no intention of firing anyone up, I’m just going to be telling them they can’t collect their kids if there’s an emergency on the island.

Him: I would prefer that you didn’t.

Me: I’ll bet you would. Have a good day.

Okay, the offshoot of this conversation is that he will have to somehow stop upwards of fifty parents collecting their kids from the high school.

There will be those reading this that think I am unwise taking her from a place that has a defined flood policy, but the fact is that if this island floods, I mean really floods then nowhere is truly safe and I would rather my child be here with me, where we have kayaks and paddleboards and life vests than holed up in a school 200 yards down the road with none of these things.

If the area the school is in were to flood getting the kids a mile up the road to the high school, on foot would be no mean feat. The school is on the narrowest part of the island, the width of the island at this point is a mere 700 yards from shore to shore. If a severe storm came in, enough to cause flooding, then getting more than 400 children from five to eleven years old out of there is going to be a major issue. There is also a pre-school nursery on the site that caters for children from birth to five years.

I have to be honest, getting my child out of the high school is not my main concern, getting her out of the flood zone is my concern; not only does her school stand on the narrowest part of the island, it is also the lowest. The island has no hills, but it dips at the waist, where the inlet comes in from the ocean and it’s this that concerns me.

Today we had an update

I am happy to report that there have been a few changes. The coast guard now monitors the markers around the school twice a day, particularly those near the inlet behind it. Based on the predicted high tides, the weather forecast and what his experience tells him the coastguard will order an evacuation of the school on even a possibility of an inundation occurring. The children will then set off towards the high school where waiting parents can collect their children in an orderly fashion. They will be marked as collected on the school role so that they know they haven’t lost anyone.

It’s not perfect but it’s far better than the previous arrangements and far less trouble than having to beat the staff to a pulp to get my child back.

I wish it were easier to homeschool over here.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness, where this article first appeared.

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17 Comments on "Another Example of How The Government Tries to Usurp Parental Rights"

  1. When 9/11 happened, I raced to my son’s elementary school just after the 2nd Tower collapsed and withdrew him early for a “family emergency.” The school wasn’t even aware yet what had happened in NY. Shortly after I left with my son, the school went into lockdown. I removed him without telling them the real reason why precisely because of the situation you describe. I’m not waiting for their permission to be a responsible and concerned parent, thank you very much!

  2. You go girl! So sick of these snide admin types who think they own our kids and we will kiss their ass.

  3. “I’m sorry ma’am, if you overpowered me and took your child you’d be guilty of theft of government property.”

  4. This mother started by telling he child to disobey the teachers. I am familiar with such parents. They should indeed homeschool their children.

    • No where in this article did she tell her daughter to disobey teachers.She stood up for her rights as a parent.
      Problem is the schools want blind obedience by children & parents alike now or they call the cops. I think that most parents are unaware that this is policy in most public schools. This along with surprise terror drills and sequestering kids at unknown locations causing untold stress is criminal.
      Currently in first grade my grandson gets ONE 15 minute recess [in 7 hours] , they are not allowed to talk during lunch, have homework every night, and PE & art/music are once a week. If they can’t stand STILL [these are tired, hungry,thirsty 6 year olds] in the car line or on the bus for 30 plus minutes they are written up & punished. If you keep them home sick for more than a day they want a DOCTOR’s note or they send nasty threatening letters home. Family trips that do not fit into vacation schedules are forbidden unless for educational purposes and approved by the principle. Other wise CPS will come to your house. My family went to Florida every winter for the month of February to escape the snow and I was a straight A student, but schools were locally run then.
      This is not about education. Make up work can be quickly completed. It is about the federal funds that will be lost and the nanny state we live in. Yet when the crack head mother down the street fails to send her kids to school for days on end they fall thru the system despite the warning letters from others.
      If more people home schooled maybe the system would improve but it is hard with parents having to work several jobs and authorities breathing down your neck. Still better to focus on nutrition & proper/safe education than fancy houses, new cars & big screen dish net tvs, smart phones, beer & cigarettes and latest fashion.

    • Please go back to your corner, you have been a good little shill for the “corporation”. You will be paid hansomely

      • I worked 20 years teaching special education to at risk kids for small, local school districts. I am as anti-corporate as they come. Where did you learn to spell?

        Parents who tell their children to disobey the teacher most often blame the school or teacher when their child misbehaves. Your rudeness says it all about you.

        • If you can’t handle a parent who is the ultimate decision maker for their child, you, sir, have the problem. It is not your decision how a child is reared. My parents taught me to stand up to controllers like you. And, as for your credentials, they mean nothing to me. I have seen orangutans who could teach better than most of the educators I see now.

          • You clearly have no experience in education (I have 20 yrs) or knowledge of the law.

            “The term in loco parentis, Latin for “in the
            place of a parent” refers to the legal responsibility of a person or
            organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a
            parent.” This applies to teachers as a legal responsibility. When parents tell their children to not listen to the teacher, they create a conflict in the child.

            Your absurd commentary about “educators” would indicate that you are such a parent.

            Teachers, by law, are required to “control” student misbehavior.

            Most of the parents I dealt with understood the role of the teacher and were supportive, but a certain minority, who themselves had problems in school, create problems for their children. You sound like one of those parents and so we strongly suggest you homeschool your children.

            Parents to communicate to their children that their teachers are “orangutans” create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the same problems they had are relived by their children, with sad results of academic failure and the face-saving defense mechanism of shifting blame to the school.

            Schools are not always right and parents have the obligation to complain, but when you make broad condemnations of educators, you reveal your own denial of your own failure academically and burden your child with a difficult and unfair conflict.

            Teachers, by law, must act as proxy parents. It’s time your learned the law and stopped blaming teachers for doing what by law they are required to do. It’s time to grow up, Boudica.

        • Spencer James Smith | February 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Reply

          i can see how parents telling their child to disobey the teacher will most often blame the school when the child misbehaves. but there is disobeying the teacher in the class room for whatever reason, and then their is government policy stating you CAN NOT have access to YOUR OWN CHILD. i think there is a difference here.

          now being reasonable about this, i think there could be exceptions. if a school is on a lockdown because of some government set up school shooting and the kids are hiding in a class with the doors locked, fine the kids should stay in the school it would be unsafe for a parent to try and extract them.

          but in this situation if it doesnt seem that the government/school can provide any more safe circumstances for a child than their parent, then let the parent get the kid out of there. especially if this woman has kayaks and stuff like she said she does.

          • Parents have the right and, at times, duty to question administrative or academic decisions, but those parents who roundly condemn teachers and thus have a chip on their shoulder transfer this attitude to their children and cause them to fail.

            Access can be legitimately controlled in certain situations ( a shooter on school grounds, etc).

            In the case discussed, the school changed its policy, showing it not a rigid system but is open to making changes.

            These matters can be discussed calmly and without condemning the entire system.

          • Quite frankly, I didn’t need my parents telling me, to figure out that school admins were the worst of adults. The school I went to had a fake “president shot” ‘drill’ a year after I moved to a different district. Yeah, wonderful people there.

    • Nancy FamilyonBikes Sathre-Vog | February 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Reply

      In an emergency situation, it is IMPERATIVE that kids pay attention to the adults. Teachers and administrators will do everything in their power to keep kids safe. Can you imagine the chaos that would reign if every child took off running?

  5. Nancy FamilyonBikes Sathre-Vog | February 9, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Reply

    Ummm… this is absurd. Let’s elaborate on this situation. So, there is major flooding and the kids are in danger, so they’ve taken the kids to the high school. I imagine that now we have all the elementary kids and all the high school kids there, right? And junior high? Have they gone there too? I don’t know how many kids they are talking about, but given teh fact that they have both an elementary and a high school, I am guessing that we will have at least 400 kids in that building.

    And there is massive flooding so roads are closed. And one would assume that police and ambulances are busy and need to get to where they need to get to – but that’s hard, because the roads are jammed with everybody racing around like a chicken with his head cut off and it’s chaos.

    So now, in the middle of all this chaos, you want to go to the school and find your child and bring her home. That’s reasonable – until you consider that every single parent of the remaining 399 kids also want to do the same. And so we end up with a situation where we’ve got 400 (or more) kids, and 400 parents, and nobody knows where anybody is because it’s mass chaos all around.

    If you choose to send your child to school, you must trust that the school will do the best they absolutely can do in an emergency. Teachers and administrators will do everything in their power to keep the kids safe, but their ability to do that is severely hampered if hundreds of parents are racing in and demanding to get their kid.

    In an emergency, schools have a procedure to follow to account for every single child. Every. Single. One. At any given time, the teachers know precisely where every single kid is, and they need to be putting their attention on the kids. Not on silly parents who think that they are more important than other parents and that their child is more important than other children.

    If you can’t accept that, then you have no reason to send your child to school. Keep her home so you won’t possibly hurt another child in your selfishness.

  6. “Him: Mrs. Bennett, you are being unreasonable and if I may say so a little irrational.”

    Translation: We’re not using our critical thinking skills or common sense and blindly parroting.

    “Him: You cannot expect the rules to change because you disagree with them, that’s unreasonable.”

    Translation: We are unreasonable and there’s nothing you can do about it. *nah nah nah*

    “Him: You have no right to fire up the other parents.”

    Translation: You have no right to embarrass us

    “we have kayaks and paddleboards and life vests than holed up in a school 200 yards down the road with none of these things.”

    “not only does her school stand on the narrowest part of the island, it is also the lowest”

    Bingo! What I thought. Must have a good reason to be so worried.

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