School Threatens Parents That Pick Their Kids Up Late

By Joshua Krause

Do you have kids? Do you have a job that you have to commute to? More importantly, do you have to drop your kids off at school every morning?

I’m sure plenty of you are raising your hands right now. We all have busy schedules, and many of you face a daily race against time to get your kids to school, and to pick them up at the end of the day; and sometimes you’re either late or early. But how would you feel if a school threatened to take your kids away for being late?

That’s what parents in Salem, Oregon are dealing with after the Swegle Elementary School told them that “Children must be picked up on time. If they are not picked up on time, we will call DHS [Department of Human Services] and you will then have to pick them up at court the next day,” and added that “Please do not drop your children off before [7:40 am]. There will not be any supervision. If children are dropped before 7:40 the staff will call the authorities.”

So there’s no supervision, but someone will be there to call the cops. How sick is that? I know that where I live the entire city turns into a giant traffic jam before school starts. I guess if you want to beat the traffic and get your kid to school early, you’re shit out of luck, and so is your kid. Check out what the horrified parents of these students had to say about this situation:

On Thursday, Chelsea Eichenauer, whose 5-year-old son Mason will attend Swegle Elementary in the fall, posted the letter, dated June 24, on her Facebook page. She included the note: “Anyone else think this is crazy?! Way too extreme!”

“My heart kind of skipped a beat a little bit, it’s pretty scary,” Eichenauer told KOIN News. “It would traumatize my little boy to death if he couldn’t come home one night.”

Eichenauer didn’t respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.

In response to Eichenauer’s Facebook post, fellow parents expressed concern. “If they would put your child through that scary of a situation (‘Oops, your bad mom is 3 minutes late. I’m taking you to the CRC center and you have to stay overnight with people you don’t know, kids you don’t know, and you can’t see your family until the morning’) think of what unimaginable things they could/would be doing to your child,” wrote one parent.

Of course, now the principal of the school is backtracking on the policy, and I suspect, pretending that he had no idea about it. He sent a phone message to parents which said:

“The school office staff sent the letter out without review and approval from the principal. The letter contained information on a variety of topics for next school year. It also included a statement about calling DHS if the parents were late picking the kids up. This was not the right message,” Remy said. “It should have said that parents should call the school if they will be late picking up their kids. If a parent calls and says they have car trouble or something, there is no problem. The school staff will supervise their child until someone picks them up. The scenario of calling DHS would only come into play in extreme cases, when the parents are not in contact with the school and the child has nowhere to go when the school staff need to go home to their own families in the evening.”

You might notice that he makes no mention of what happens if parents drop their kids off a little early. Isn’t that equally insane and worth reconsidering? Oh well, I guess they’ll still “call the authorities” if parents show up 7:39.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

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4 Comments on "School Threatens Parents That Pick Their Kids Up Late"

  1. Home School and tell the system to frak-off … problem solved.

    • Ric, they can’t tell the school to just ‘frak-off’. These are kids, not overdue library books that can be posted in through the overnight chute. The school are responding to a bigger problem in society. See my comment above.

  2. This pretty much already happens at my kids’ school here in Sydney Australia. The primary school starts at 8:40am and the gates to the school open at 8:15am and at that time the kids are supervised until classes start. In the afternoon school finishes at 3pm and supervision for kids being picked by parents lasts until 3:30pm. If you haven’t picked them up by then the school starts ringing all the family contacts to see where you are.

    What used to happen was that kids as young as 5 or 6 were being dropped off at 7:30am to stand outside the school to wait until school opened. The parents would drive off and leave them there. Unfortunately, times have changed. Teachers don’t spend a lovely relaxing morning getting their classrooms ready, tidying desks, and marking books. Hell no, they’re in meetings discussing data walls and being put under pressure by the principal to make the school look better in national testing. How do I know this? My husband is a primary school teacher and I watch him work his fingers to the bone to get all the paper work (yes paperwork) done.

    If parents don’t pick up their kids by 3:30 well of course they have to start ringing family to see where you are. Normally it’s just a traffic/train problem and the parents gets there asap, but it’s problematic for the school when they try to ring the parents: no answer, grandparents: no answer, uncles/aunties: no answer. This happens on a regular basis and it’s a real headache for the school. They have to call police, kids welfare – what else are they going to do with YOUR child? They can’t all go home and leave the kid outside the school. Believe me, teachers are not interested in hanging around school till dark waiting for you to pick up your child.

    Also there’s the good ole legal liability, the costs of which have skyrocketed over the past years here in Oz. So no one wants to watch children for too long because a) they don’t have time and b) there’s a legality in watching your children. If your child gets assaulted on school grounds you will of course ask “who was watching my child?”.

    Parents want to get to work but schools are there to educate your child, not be a child minding service. Those days are gone my friends. That’s why there is such a thing as Before/Afterschool Care, and those businesses make a huge amount of money!

    The school has reacted to all this and probably not handled the issue too well, but this is becoming a bigger problem and this is their way of reminding parents that, unless there is an emergency, make sure you have a RELIABLE back-up list of people you trust who can pick up your kids at a moments notice – and give that list to the school!

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