Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sluffing Away the World's Hunger

The school alerted me to a potential attendance crisis this past week. Apparently, although our son earned B-pluses in all his afternoon classes, he was absent too many times to receive credit for his work. Oh, dear. And he's headed the same direction this term. Not pretty. 

The district attendance policy is psycho-strict. Don't get me wrong -- I believe in attending class. (I'm a teacher, for heaven's sake!) But they have this crazy point system where, for example, if he were out sick for four days, even with a note from me, he would lose credit for the class if he got even one tardy. And if they're more than ten minutes late, it counts as an absence. (Which only encourages kids to sluff, in my opinion.) The only thing that won't dock them points is a doctor's note...but you don't take your kid to the doctor for a sore throat or diarrhea...or most other things, for that matter. So, while I admit my kid has made some entirely bad choices a few times...well, the district disincentives have also contributed.

But his counselor is this amazingly supportive and understanding woman who has been emailing me almost daily since this came to a head. Toward the end of last week she forwarded me an email regarding the school's Food Drive (hint, hint). They offered to wipe a tardy off your record for every 15 cans of food brought in, and promised an absence removed for every thirty cans.

So I had MagicMan add up all his absences and tardies, found the cheapest food bargain in town, and took him shopping (with his own wad of cash, of course.) The grand total required? 585. That was not a typo. Five hundred and eighty-five. I seriously thought I was going to pee my pants laughing right there in the soup aisle just contemplating both the desperateness and the ridiculousness of this adventure. But we pulled it off, 585 cans and a hundred and thirty dollars later. All delivered to the school by 4th period. It literally filled up my whole SUV! There was so much we had to make multiple trips carrying case after case on a hand-truck dolly this morning. (I felt like I Love Lucy and the double-your-money bean scam...hilarious!).

So my son sluffed enough school to feed a third world country. A dubious honor. But somehow I think he learned something. And gave something more than he would have otherwise. And grew a little in the process. 

Not bad for one day.


Luann said...

I've never heard of buying your way out of trouble with non-perishable food donations. I have to admit, it is a creative idea.

Maybe he could donate a few extra cans and build up a line of credit against future absences. :P

breckster said...

Confession: in 7th grade I went to school maybe three times a week, and there were weeks that I didn't even make that. I was having a hard year, and my mother knew it was better for me to do my homework than go to school, so she would go pick up my assignments when she picked up my sisters. I would do the work, and turn it in the next day. They didn't have district rules, and the principle was afraid of my mother so there weren't consequences.

The next year I only skipped class when it was a movie.

I'm glad MagicMan could serve to redeem himself. I hope he gets a prize for the most donated food. :)

Melanie J said...

Okay. That's funny. And I'm glad you made him pay for it!

Kazzy said...

I guess if you have to pay somehow then this is a good alternative. Wow... I feel the same way about the attendance policies here in our district. There must be a high sluffing rate or something. One tardy is a thirty-minute detention. Can you believe that?

Heidi Ashworth said...

Having him pay for it himself was the thing that saved this situation--other than that, it sounds like your districts policies are pretty screwed up. They are way too strict implying that being ten minutes later or whatever is a horrible sin--yet you can wipe it out with ten cans of food. That seems a bit warped, to me.

Marie said...

You know, I am keeping a list of everything he does and how you get through each situation because I know I am so headed there with my oldest!!!


That Girl in Brazil said...

So, in other words, you can BUY YOUR WAY OUT OF ABSENCES.


But extremely amusing, too.

Mrs4444 said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you both :)

Kimberly said...

That's rather brilliant, really!

Eowyn said...

Oh my goodness!

That might be the funniest/weirdest thing I've ever read!

Jessica said...

I LOVE this! And I LOVE that his mom laughed and laughed. That is so so good . . . to take things like that seriously, but really, not THAT seriously. . . to find the humor in it and make a memory . . . I'm sure he'll always remember the fun he and his mom made out of the situation . . . and that taught him more than all of his silly demerits or whatever! I love that you have that kind of relationship with your son :)