At WeAreTeachers, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how the relationship between school and childcare isn’t working. Schools can’t make the changes they need to serve kids if they also have to provide childcare for working parents. Our entire economy rests on public schools providing 30 to 35 hours of free day care, which is not the same thing as educating kids. We were reminded of this recently by a trending Reddit thread in which educators shared stories about parents dropping off their kids at school under pretty unbelievable circumstances.
Many of the parents in these situations may have felt like they had no other choice. But that’s exactly the problem. Schools aren’t built to care for sick children, to provide safe spaces for students who may be violent, or to educate kids no matter the circumstances, without any breaks. We either need more free childcare options or we need to fund schools appropriately. Read these Reddit teachers’ stories to see why.
“We had a fight between two girls last week. Obviously they were given an early summer vacation. However, this morning both parents decided to drop off the students and drive off.”
“They were explicitly told they were not allowed to come back until the next school year. But these parents didn’t care. Now one is in my classroom for the rest of the day and the other is in my coworker’s classroom while we wait for the parents to pick them up. Admin doesn’t want them in the office in the front of the school so they pawned them on us. After calling them over and over, one parent said they will come by at the end of the day, the other blocked the school’s number. Even calling from the child’s phone gave no results.” —Numb1Slacker
“We had a kid who was unenrolled because he was in jail. We didn’t know when he was coming back or if he was. He got bailed out on a Friday and Mom dropped him off on Monday.”
“We had no idea he was coming. He wasn’t in our system. We hadn’t heard from his case manager. He ended up sitting in the SRO’s office while we sorted things out. Apparently one of the conditions of his bail was he had to be in school. Except no one told us.” —SomeQuiltyGardener
“We once had an overnight snowstorm with high winds & terrible road conditions. There was no way anyone could have looked out their window and NOT known school was canceled. A dad (a Dr. no less) drove up to the elementary school, dropped off his kids, & drove off.”
“No cars there, and it’s about a quarter mile from any homes. The poor kids tried to go in, realized no one was there, and walked in the storm to the nearest house.” —fanofpolkadots
“A parent dropped their kid off with a fever and throwing up.”
“They said ‘they stayed home yesterday and were fine all day!’ This parent did not work! She was a stay-at-home mom! She only returned to get her kid when my principal said he would be reporting her for neglect, as a mandated reporter. Some parents are a trip.” —JudgmentalRavenclaw
“We had a curriculum day two weeks ago and one mother dropped her kid off anyway.”
“When the school rang her, she said ‘f*** off, you lot get too many days off’ and wouldn’t answer her phone for the rest of the day.” —Araucaria2024
“Our last day was Friday. We have one workday, today, to get the building in order for summer cleaning. We had parents in line, ready and trying to drop kids off.”
“I can’t. … You haven’t paid attention to your child, the notes home, the phone calls we send home every week, the announcements from the district, the social media pages, nothing, just bring them on in so you don’t have to deal with them. It’s insane.” —Awesomest_Possumest
We’d love to hear your stories, too. Have you had parents drop off kids under unusual circumstances? What do you think about the relationship between public school and childcare? Please share in the comments.
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