Well, the dance didn't happen for Jasmine!! We talked on the way there about how we are having so many lasts now--last middle school dance, last time we do such and such--and we were ready for some fun. Probably the last time she'd really want me with her.
Got there and there was a group of sobbing girls at the door. They were measuring dresses to make sure they were knee length. Several girls were turned away. (They were given the chance to go home and get another dress, but the mood was ruined.) I guess that is in the handbook and at every other dance Jasmine's dress has been. But the last couple of dances I've seen really short dresses so assumed the code was no more than 5" above the knee same as the school dress code.
Jasmine took her dress to be approved earlier that day, but the teacher just looked at it and asked Jasmine if it was long enough. It's new dress, and Jasmine probably wouldn't have known how long it was. (And she actually likes this dress which is very unusual. She does NOT like dresses and only wears them to the dances). So she told the teacher she thought so. Why not just have her try it on?
So we are at the door, and she gets turned away. We had brought dance pants to go under it in case she wanted them. She went to the car to put them on, but they said that didn't count. That's the part I think is ridiculous.
I asked why an e-mail hadn't been sent out, why the teacher hadn't told her that her dress was too short in that morning etc. They got the administrator who escorted me from the gym.
He said, "These kids are 13 and they were told the dress code." I got in his face and told him that he knew she was a drug baby and sometimes didn't always get it. They sent out an e-mail saying it was a black & white dance, how hard would it have been to put right on that e-mail that the dresses had to touch the knee.
Jasmine had been crying this whole time and turned back to tell her friends goodbye, and he told her to stop crying and leave the area. That irritated me. I said, "Don't you tell my daughter not to cry. This is the last dance of middle school for most of these kids and she's been looking forward to it all week. This is not the kind of memories you want to leave these 8th graders with."
He told me, "You need to leave the property NOW." I did. And I didn't say anything rude. They even gave me my money back which is against policy but they just wanted to get rid of me.
If my kids are breaking rules and misbehaving, I will be all over them. No doubt. But I also have their backs.
So I took my heartbroken child to the mall to see the new "Annie" movie. (One girl from the school was there trying to find a new dress that was long enough and had sleeves so she could go back to the dance. For us, the mood was already ruined). The movie was really good. The girls in this version were foster kids and there was junk going on with them, but Jasmine was placed with us at about three weeks old. I took her home from the hospital, so she doesn't have any of those kind of memories. So the movie didn't trigger any negative reactions in her.
Jasmine still wants to go to the high school associated with that school, but I pulled Kaleb's name from the lottery for next year. And Kayla will go next year, but I will probably pull her out after that. Our local middle school is really bad. I talked to someone who has a friend teaching there and she said it's hard to teach because of the discipline problems, and that it's the parents more than the kids. Those kids (and parents) all filter into the high school we'd go to also. So we are going to try for a different middle school and high school for the twins through school choice.
Some of you have been following my blog and remember when I posted Jasmine's science project on facebook just so people could see it, and she got in trouble at school and was told she had to do a new project even though she didn't know I'd posted her abstract. And she did NOT do a new project. I sent some e-mails at that time saying if they couldn't be glad for her that she'd finished it then they were definitely not on her team, and we needed to look for a school that could support her and rejoice in her progress! So that blew over. But that was maybe the start of me wondering about this school.
But they are the best school easily, also the safest. But the "high expectations, high achievement" comes down to requiring way more homework and projects than other schools which equals, high expectations, high stress for kids who struggle.
I guess we'll make the decisions one year at a time. For next year, Jasmine will go to their high school. It has a chance for the kids to "major" in marine science, engineering, medical science or criminal justice. They have amazing field trips for marine science--watch the whales migrate and such, but it's a lot of extra work and I doubt Jasmine can keep up with it.
Kayla will stay there for 5th grade, although she is currently failing 4th grade, and Kaleb will stay at the public school he's at. It's the best of the public schools. Too bad that's not true for our assigned middle and high schools.
The thing is, the school prides itself on being the best and we are constantly told we are the best etc. It feels very elite and that's not me. I am just down to earth and struggle with enough issues of my own to be unable to act elite.