On Friday afternoon I called Woodstock North High School to ask a general question regarding end-of-day procedures. I was calling on behalf of a parent who was late for a meeting in town and who wanted to know if her child could wait at school.
It was a simple question, not student-specific, and not involving confidentiality or security. Could I get the answer? Would I be writing this, if I had?
My general question was, can a student (any student) wait at school after dismissal for the parent to pick him or her up? Could the kid wait inside the school building until about 3:30PM, or did all students have to leave the building immediately and wait outside?
I fail to see how answering a general question like that could endanger a child or cause an administrator to worry about kidnapping or other unlawful or improper pick-up after school. Why would the administrator withhold the information? Perhaps, had I had more time to engage in lengthy dialogue so that the administrator would "get" the question (actually pause to listen to and comprehend the question), I would have gotten the answer. Perhaps I am too quick or sensitive to bureaucratic nonsense.
I was directed to the school website for school closing times. Well, I figured I wouldn't find the answer there, or at least I wouldn't find it before school closing time 2 1/2 hours later.
I can understand that, had I been asking about a specific student, then the school would probably go into lockdown mode, call out the SWAT team, barricade the doors, announce over the loudspeaker for all children to hit the floor, and circle the school buses. The administrator asked the name of the student about whom I was called (which wasn't necessary because I had said I was calling with a general question), and the administrator also asked if I had a student at the high school (which I don't).
What was the simple answer? "Yes, the student could wait inside the building until his mother arrived at 3:30PM." Could I get that answer? No.
Kind of makes me wonder how many students have been kidnapped at WNHS or from D-200 schools...
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