Friday, April 3 - The Need to Know

People are inquisitive. It just can't be helped. It is a part of human nature. But sometimes they want to know too much, or ask inappropriate or probing questions in public.

We have all these laws now that are supposed to assure people their privacy - like the HIPPA regulations. You know the line you have to stand behind at the pharmacy so you don't hear the person in front of you talk to the pharmacist about their drugs.

Schools abide by these rules, or are supposed to. But here's what I find unnerving - our nurse insists on sending sick students (8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds) to the office while she makes a confidential call to a parent, yet she will come right out and ask you about your health issues in a room where other people are privy to your conversation. There could be other teachers, students or parents in the room, but she doesn't seem to notice.

It is most uncomfortable.

But there are times that there is definitely a need to know certain things.

For instance, parents often question me when I tell them that they have to sign their child out of school at the end of the day. I have to explain to them that - God forbid there should be a bus accident, we have to know who is and who isn't on the bus for safety reasons.

Or when a class is going outside or holding class in another room. Especially at the end of the day and students are being picked up early. It is very frustrating to have to make several calls around the building looking for a child when their parent is standing right in front of you, only to find out that their class is outside or in the computer lab or some other room and hasn't let the office know.

Then there is the need to know when a substitute or teacher is leaving the building. This is not only for safety reasons but there might be an occasion where we need coverage in another class. Or, there might be an emergency phone call for them.

Most people will offer the reason for leaving, but they really don't have to. All they have to do is remember to sign out. We also ask that they sign in and out for the day. There is a valid reason for it and it does go beyond being nosy.

I must admit, that sometimes I might ask where they're going in the case of the student aide that makes a fairly regular trip to Dunkin' Donuts or McDonalds and I'm craving a cup of coffee or sweet tea. Or if they didn't sign out and we were looking for them, we might ask where they were. Again, most of the time the answer comes easily, but there are times when we are simply told "the principal knew I was going out".

And this is when it becomes frustrating, because the principal doesn't always remember or get to share with us these things before they happen. So the teacher gets pissed because they feel their privacy has been invaded, and we get pissed because the rules are there for the reasons above.

I don't give a flying leap where you've been. And I don't give a flying leap that you had permission to go. If you don't want to be questioned then play by the rules.

All I ask is that you remember to sign in and out so I don't have to send a fireman back in the building to look for you.

Oh, and don't send me your sick, lice infested kids to watch while you make a confidential phone call unless you're going to afford me the same amount of privacy.

1 comment:

dana said...

Before I got to the last sentence, I was thinking the same thing: do NOT bring ME your sickness and why can't she make a "confidential" phone call in front of the kid! HE knows he's sick, and he knows who she's talking to.

It sounds like moving around inside of school is like moving around inside of Pelican Bay prison.

Are we guarding the children, or guarding the public FROM the children?

Call in some of your "Joizie" friends to patrol the hallways.