School Attendance and Grades......

sminnjMarch 18, 2009

So my SD8 has missed 12.5 of the allowed 20 days so far this year. She also has 8 tardies. 8 of thoes missed days are just in the last 2 months. Mostly Tues. or Mon.

She has an agenda book that the homework is written in everyday and a parent has to initial that it was done. On Wed. when we get her and ask her about the missing homework on Mon. or Tues she just says that she forgot to write it down but it got done.

Then a phone call from the teacher comes(BM changed her # again and did not give to the school). SD actually missed all of thoes days of school. When my DH asked her about it she said that she missed the days because "she could not get ready fast enough in the morning for her Mom to take her to school and still be on time for work". So she got dropped off at the babysitters with her younger sister. Nevermind that you pass the school on the way to work from the babysitter. (ugh!) So anyway she was told that if she told her Dad that she didn't go to school that she would get in trouble by him for being a pain in the morning.

Can you believe it! I finally had to ask the school for the most recent report card becuase we never got one. Her grades slipped from high A's to high C's in 2 of her classes in just one semester. :/

In social studies there is never any homework. Just to use the study guide. She never does it and her mom never checks her homework. That was one class that grades slipped. SD does not see "studying" as actual homework. She sees it as optional. And her mom doesnt enforce it.

I told hubby he should call case worker b/c even though he is not custodial he can still be brought into court for truancy. 3 more months of school and at this rate she'll be held back a year for tardiness!

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That is a lot of school to miss for no reason! And dropping off sd at a babysitter instead of school is just plain lazy on bm's part!

I do not recall any of your other posts...why is there a case worker involved?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 7:12PM
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If dad has Wed-Fri, then he has her more for school than BM. You didn't mention how the time is split and I'm going to assume some things from what you did say... I'm assuming your SD and her mom live nearby since she splits her school week. I think dad needs to get in touch with the school and keep himself informed. He can call the school each morning to make sure his daughter is in school that day. If she isn't, he should then call BM IMMEDIATELY and ascertain if SD is sick and/or get an explanation as to why SD is not in school. If she is going to the daycare on school days, he can also get copies of the daycare log and show that SD is not out of school because of illness, but rather BM is being lazy. The school will likely support your DH in his efforts to make BM bring the child to school since their funding depends on it. If he is truly concerned, he can seek a custody/visitation change since his daughter's education is important. The courts may tell BM to get the child to school or risk losing custody.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 7:58PM
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My DH already has a case coming up on May 1st to change the custody to reflect the current verbal agreement. So he wants to bring up the missed school days as an issue in that same hearing. He has a case worker because he pays child support and he goes through that same lady if he has any problems. Ditto for BM. He only has her on Wed. and every other Friday after school. So we are only responsible to get her to school on time on Thursday morning. We have asked the babysitter (not daycare) to call us if she is dropped off there for no reason at all other than they are late. That way we can leave work and lunch time and take her to school. DH, BM and I all work at the same place that is very close to babysitter and the school. I dont see why she doesnt go and get her at lunch time and take her if she knows she isnt there because they were late that morning. I have made copies of the agenda book and have the letter from the teacher. Also have a copy of the report card where 2 grades dropped.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:24AM
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You wrote "So anyway she was told that if she told her Dad that she didn't go to school that she would get in trouble by him for being a pain in the morning. "

SD told you what the problem is ... its not her mom "fault" she is late to school or missing it ... mom is taking the easy way because SD won't get ready in the morning its easier for mom to just drop the kid off at the babysitters with her PJs on than fight with her to get ready for school... not sticking up for mom at all but how is SD at your house on Wed nights? does she do her homework without hesitation or does she fight you on it too? on thurs mornings is she bright eyed in the morning or dragging her a$$ and how many times do you have to go in and "wake her up" ....

Why not get her her own alarm clock for mom's house and start calling her an hour before she is supposed to be ready to leave for school do not attack mom for this one have hubby work with mom on this issue ....." look I know she is giving you a hard time in the morning getting up so lets se if we can work together to fix this one...maybe I could call each morning try to talk to her and wake her up and try to get her motivated for you"

My SS11 is a bear in the morning was giving his mother an extremely hard time every thursday morning she lives further away from the school so he has to be up an hour earlier at her house... the fix ... if he gave her a hard time about getting up he went to bed right after school because obviously he was too tired in the morning .... its been 4 months since he has given anyone a hard time about getting up in the morning.

I know you are looking to change custody ... but what about hubby calling Sd to "remind" her to have mom check her agenda at some point you have to make the child responsible for their own behaviours we can't keep blaming the "other parent" for the child not doing what is expected of them.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:40AM
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pseudo, when you isolated that one sentence, i see something I missed the first time I read the post:

"So anyway she was told that if she told her Dad that she didn't go to school that she would get in trouble by him for being a pain in the morning."

IF that is exactly what was said to SD, then it also appears that BM is trying to get SD to keep her absences a secret by using dad... or the threat that dad will be angry at SD and that she will get in trouble with dad if he finds out.

I think your ideas to call SD in the mornings and calling mom to remind her to check the agenda are good ones, but an 8 year old can only be held somewhat accountable for getting to school, it's still the parent's responsibility (and that includes dad getting involved with calling the school to make sure the child makes it and calling mom or SD to remind them to get ready earlier). Mom is obviously able to drop the child off at the babysitter and get herself to work. If it were my child that was being difficult in the morning and I had to choose school or babysitter... he/she would be in school in his/her PJ's and a sack with clothes so they can change. I agree the child has to be responsible and held accountable for their behaviors but mom is dropping the ball if she is taking the easy way out and rewarding the child's behavior (if in fact it is the child that is refusing to get up or get ready) by dropping her off at the babysitter where the child can play, watch tv, etc. and there's no school work to do. If a kid knows she will be taken to the babysitter instead of school if she just refuses to get dressed or ready each day, what incentive does she have to get dressed or ready? Regardless of who's fault it is.. mom or SD... it's MOM's responsibility to do the right thing and have her child in school.

I think dad needs to do EVERYTHING he can to support mom and if mom still doesn't straighten this out, then dad will stand a better chance of getting custody. In my experience, courts are reluctant to change things unless it's the last resort. They want kids to have stability and changing things (or trying to) every time a parent doesn't like what the other parent is doing, only seems to irritate the courts. These types of allegations are going to be scrutinized even more when they are made in the midst of a custody battle, rather when the parents are trying to co-parent.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:18PM
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I completely agree IMA ... mom is being lazy and taking the easy way out ...and SD is benefitting from it completely... but as you know ...know matter how sminnj and hubby handle the situation nothing is going to change mom the only one they can possibly change is SD :) ...

And I agree again it is mom's responsibility not to talk $hit to her kid about her dad but as we all know she is going to continue to "hide" things and say things against dad for as long as she can and get away with it.

But if dad starts making the SD responsible for her actions, it will be easier for them as she gets older.

And again I agree with you that if this is the reason for a change in custody ... it will not happen. The judge is just going skim over the child being late for school not a major issue for them ... unless the reason is mom is passed out with a needle in her arm and bottle of booze in her hand .... the judge will care less about why the child is late for school.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 3:09PM
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I know it sounds extreme but maybe mom could take SD to school in her pajamas and no backpack. next time SD will be on time. My girlfriend did this, she dragged her son to school (well he did have clothes on, not pajamas but whatever clothes mom grabbed from a pile, not what he would normally wear) he had nothing else, no bag, he didn't brush his teeth or comb his hair. he was always getting ready on time after that, he was embrassed having nothign with him and looking like a bum. LOL

I remember those times screaming in the morning: you have exactly 5 minutes!!! LOL. DD is still having trouble getting ready on time, what is funny though she is not late to work or to college class, I guess she knows she will be fired or marked down in class.

being late or missing school at elementary/ middle school level usually has very little consequence. maybe if SD is not ready in the morning she could face some consequences. maybe dad could suggest to mom. I cannot think of what is a good consequence, but somehting has to be. I also think that dad could suggest earlier bed time for SD. to make sure that lack of sleep is not the reason here.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 2:10PM
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Finedreams- That isn't extreme at all. The girls didn't want to learn to tie their shoes. It isn't that they COULDN'T learn, it's that they DIDN'T WANT to.

So Jonathan stopped tying them for them. They were going to school with their shoes untied. They got sick of the teachers and other kids ragging them about and within a week they were both tying their shoes.

Sometimes you have to take of the gloves and get real...if not for teh sake of the kids then for your own sanity!!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:11PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Perhaps you all need some more information.

BM is not easy to work with at all. My hubby has offered to pick DD up in the morning and take her to the babysitters so she can ride the bus. BM refuses. We can't enforce bedtime at her house. She shares a room with her 4 year old sister who is up all hours of the night playing or getting "snacks" from the kitchen. SD can't have her own room because the dogs are locked in the "playroom" during the day and they poop and pee in there. can imagine. There's only sub-flooring in there for that reason. No carpet. Her routine in the morning is to get woken up....get her sister ready while Mom goes back to bed, eat breakfast, then get Mom back up and Mom gets ready. Mom even admits to this routine. Mom admits to being late because she was doing laundry the morning of, for something to wear to work. Denial is absolutly underestimated and I believe BM has it big time. Dad is not seeking custody. He just wants Wed. nights and every other weekend on paper which is not on paper now. BM told him the judge would laugh at him for asking that. We think she has some kind of mood disorder.

At first SD was telling hubby that she wasn't missing school but simply forgetting to write the homework down. When she was found out and asked why she lied about it she said her Mom told her to not tell her Dad that she was missing school.

All of the suggestions were great but just not usable in this situation. BM says NO to everything just for the sake of saying no. DH has to trick her into anything we want or need to happen.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:05PM
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Basketball is over and softball just started. He gets a text from BM last night saying there is a practice this Wed. So he texts back asking when and where. No answer. He calls. No answer. So we take that as "figure it out yourself". So I email the recreation dept. for the town and ask for a softball schedule to be emailed. The lady calls me and tells me she needs permission from the mother since I am not a parent. BM told her "I do not want her to have anything to do with my child". So she emailed it to Dad and I printed it out anyway.

But BM is sooo bad that even the softball lady had to complain about her to me. She had to call her for something and the 4 year old answered the phone and when she went to give the phone to her mom the lady could her BM yelling "get out of my f*#king room I'm taking a nap".

I'm finding out just how hard life as a step mom really is. I can pick her up from the sitter's on Wed. and every other Fri. I can take her to basketball games and horseback riding. But just because she feels like being an ass today I can't have a softball schedule?? I've even picked the 4 year old up just to be nice sometimes and take her to biomom's grandma's who lives on my block. Sheesh!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:11PM
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