Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time to take it to the Principal

If a teacher doesn't give you respect, despite the fact that you are also a parent, it may be time to take it to the principal. If you've been involved in the children's lives, taking them to school, helping them with school, caring for them, the parents should handle everything. But even your spouse may not get the respect they deserve as a parent. It may be time to...take it to the principal.

The principal may not care, and they may very much care. But, if you are their parent, you have a right to represent your kids, and yourself as a parent of that child. Parents make huge stinks about much more trivial matters than this.

We've personally noticed a definite lack of awareness and impartial treatment on behalf of K-8 teachers. My stepkids' dad is a nice, gentle, and often quiet man. He gives off no other impression. He works with policemen and firemen for a public sector job. He often informs the teachers of his honorable work and offers goodies and other connections for their classes. The teachers see my stepkids' mom slightly more, but my husband never gives any reason for a teacher to ever suspect that he is anything other than a caring, available dad. He also holds his tongue and doesn't badmouth his ex. But he does simply make a request, at the beginning of each school year, to be included as much as the mother is, to be contacted as well, and to be given separate parent-teacher conferences.

Still, he's been treated year after year as if he's an uninvolved idiot unworthy of the teachers' time. On the other hand, my stepkids' mom is seen chitchatting and laughing with the same teachers, get extra information, extra face time, extra...everything. We've seen teachers act like my husband will steal his own children's school work. The school work that they would take home with him, to his house, directly after an open house or school event...but they take it from him to give to the mom, whom they're not going home with. Other parents are allowed to take the work home....We've been told different stories from the teachers, which later my stepdaughter will tell us what the teacher actually said to them or their mom. We've been directly insulted, after making simple requests out of the best of intentions for the children and the safety of all parties. My husband has been told that he cannot volunteer for classes like the moms, unless he has a talent or skill. And worst of all, he and I have been accused of helping the kids cheat, which never happened, and resulted in one child receiving a horrible grade on a major project.

My husband, as a good and trying father, has never deserved this and continues to not deserve this from public schools and public school teachers. Whatever my stepkids' mom is telling these teachers shouldn't matter, in the least. Their impression,whether imagined on their own or given to them by my stepkids' mom, of my husband or I shouldn't have bearing on how they treat us. And most of all, they should simply respect requests that are made in the best interest of the child's safety, that honor court orders. It is not theirs to judge.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this blog! I just stumbled upon it for the first time today, and I can't stop reading! Without sounding like a crazy person, I'm pretty sure you are my soul-mate and I can't believe how many of the same experiences I have had in my short time as a step-mom (only two years).

    My husband struggled with this while his daughter was in pre-school, but it has been so much worse this year and she's only in kindergarten! We are purposefully kept out of the loop on almost everything (from school bake sales to ordering prints from picture day) and haven't been able to take home even ONE SINGLE worksheet or drawing the entire year. The bio- mom goes to the school and picks up the weekly folder (containing all the work) during lunch so that it does not come home with us during the weekends we have her. We have spoken with the office staff, the teacher, the principal, anyone who will listen to try to get it straightened out but to no avail.

    I can't express how much better I felt after reading this, just knowing that I am not the only one! Thank you!

  2. Hi StepmomSparkle, Thanks for writing. I'm glad I have a soulmate beyond my husband! =) Very cool.

    There are plenty of things I leave out which will likely continue to mirror your experiences, but the picking-up-at-lunch thing is a new one to us! We've seen a multitude of other variations, though. It's amazing that the teacher allows her to do that, but then again Kinder classes are usually short and can end or take a break around lunch, so she must be able to make it look like she's picking her up or something?? I think some teachers just don't argue if you go to those lengths, though. But, we have tried to one-up their mom in similar ways, after years of her tricks, and we've been denied by the teacher in very suspicious, obvious ways...So they can say "no"...Just maybe not to moms? We're really not jerky, and teachers are always nice and normal to us *at first.*

    So, I guess I'll know if my steps' mom is reading this if she suddenly starts employing the method you've described! I can totally see that happening.

    At this point, my husband received an apology from the teacher for the latest oversight, and we have a meeting scheduled with the principal...It is not meant to be mean or harsh, but just to let her "be aware" of some of the way the teachers handle things that are frankly, in a hostile situation, dangerous. I always wonder why they want to put themselves in the middle of a couple's war, when they of all people should simply know that a child always loves both parents. (Unless they're a teen...then the love is still there, but deep, deep...deep...down.) I'm truly hoping for the principal to not be defensive, but simply listen to two concerned parents, and let us feel like we at least had a bit of a voice. That's the least we can hope for. The most we can hope for is that the principal informs her faculty, maybe yearly, to be sensitive to divorced parents and stay out of hostile situations. And if they feel they can't stay out of it, that they send the parents to the principal to handle it. We'd be just fine with that.

  3. I just found this blog and I've been reading all morning! Sorry about replying on an old post, but it feels like you're writing about my life right now! There is a very obvious bias against fathers in the public schools. We scheduled and appointment with the assistant principal and things do seem to be getting better.
    My stepdaughter recently won 1st place in the science fair at her school with a project that she did at OUR house with our time, money and effort. She went on to the regional science fair and won 5th place! The award ceremony, where the superintendent of schools called out the winner's names, gave them their metals and other rewards, was her night with her mom. My boyfriend and I both left work early so we could see the ceremony. Her mom didn't bother to show up with her. She said she "forgot." In spite of phone calls from the school and from dad. After the ceremony, we picked up her project and went to ask for her metal to bring home also. The principal of the school would not give dad her metal. And when he told the principal that he took the project home she said, "does mom know you took it?" WHAT?!?! The same mom who didn't show up? The same mom who didn't even bother to do the project until it was over a week late and we had to step in? It's flabbergasting to me!

  4. Wow. Yes. You're definitely experiencing what we did. I'm so sorry! It's so crazy... This assumption that a PRESENT father always has ill will, and that a mom always has first dibs, even if she had nothing to do with the upbringing, project, work, etc.

    Fortunately, it seems to be much better middle school on. The teachers are either more familiar or just don't care about pleasing one parent over another. I have been treated pretty normally, and even apologized to by office staff who mixed up or "accidentally" removed our contact information.

    I have also learned that the school district is very responsive and helpful, with no bias. They must be more aware than the teachers, which seems strange if you think about it.