Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Truant! (I think.)

Maggie is classified as  "technology dependent." for some of the programs she is on.  That is a reference to the machines she needs to stay alive. I cannot argue with that; she is technology dependent, but so am I and so is everyone I know. Granted the technology I depend upon doesn't keep me alive, but it certainly adds to my quality of life.  Computers, smart phones, cable television even the washer and dryer are very helpful. When all of these things work as they should, it is a great thing. When they don't work it it frustrating and inconvenient.

The best way to have everything work as is should is to keep some human intellect in the mix. When technology works on its own with no one THINKING about it it can be scary. and very annoying. Stocks automatically set to sell at a certain point sent the financial world into a tizzy a few years ago. No one could stop it. If that same program had a "kill switch" that someone could throw to halt the destruction, a lot of grief would have been avoided. Circumstances are fluid and reactions cannot always be automatic.

Maggie's school uses automatic telephone calls to relay information to parents. Sometimes these calls are for everyone (e.g PTA meeting tomorrows) and sometimes they are specific to an individual student. We have been getting calls about a problem with Maggie for a few days now. I suppose that would be fine if the problem really existed. The calls I have been getting say this:

 We are calling to advise that your child ...MARY... was marked absent from one or more classes today. If this is not an excused absence you will be contacted by a truancy officer."

I ignored the first one figuring it must be an error, but then I received another one today. I looked at Maggie in her wheelchair that she cannot push on her own and said, "Listen, Missy, you better not be cutting classes. Are you hanging out in the Mission District sneaking cigarettes?" Maggie thought that was hilarious. We had to turn on some of the technology she is so dependent on just to keep her breathing

Perhaps the tiniest bit of human intervention is required here. Maggie arrives in the morning in her wheelchair.. She needs adults to do everything for her. She could not cut class if she wanted. to. Nonetheless, there is a possibility of a truancy officer knocking on my door. It's hard to imagine they even HAVE truancy officers in this time of huge budget crises, but that's the threat. All I can say is I pity THAT guy if that actually happens. He will try to question Maggie and she will tell him jokes on her dynavox.

Apparently this is happening because Maggie is enrolled in a P.E. class that starts before her bus arrives at school. Technically speaking, she is missing a class. But in the world of living, breathing THINKING human beings, it all makes sense. It's just difficult to explain that to the robotic phone voice.  They are working to fix that today and the phone calls should stop.

I know it's not fair. I want Maggie to be treated just like everybody else when she can, but to have her circumstances acknowledged when it's necessary. That's a fine line that can be difficult for people. It's not that hard, it requires just a little common sense and some good old fashioned human intellect.

All I know for sure is this. She cuts ONE MORE CLASS and she is grounded for life.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. The situation got so bad last year for Sophie that she received a notice in the mail from the LAUSD superintendent himself who threatened to come to our house if the truancy wasn't improved. I was tempted to say, "Come on over!"


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