Okay, I could use some help with this one, so if you're reading this and you have any thoughts, I would SO appreciate hearing them.

The Eyeliner Queen and I are supposed to be meeting periodically over the summer to talk about books and writing. I proposed it, mostly because I’m worried about her and I thought it would be good for her to stay connected to someone from school (a safe place) over the summer when she’s spending most of her time at home (a less safe place). I cleared it with her counselor, her AP, her therapist, her mom, and her – all said it would be a great idea.

But we never got anything specific set up before the year ended, and now I’m having trouble actually implementing anything. I’ve spoken to her mom five times since the school year ended, and I get nowhere. Each time, mom regretfully informs me that the Eyeliner Queen is out or that mom is out, and assures me that the Eyeliner Queen will call me and we’ll get this figured out. Each time, nothing. I even gave them my cell phone number, something I’ve never done with a kid or parent before, since I’m not in my classroom anymore. And nothing.

My belief at this point is that mom really doesn’t want this to happen and isn’t passing the messages on to the EQ. I know that mom has objected to my relationship to the EQ in the past, because I’ve had to make several social services calls, so I’m assuming that she’s decided to prevent this but to do so in a very passive way.

And that’s her prerogative as a parent, I guess, but I’m not sure what to do about the Eyeliner Queen herself. I don’t want her to think that I’ve just given up on her, that I don’t care about her and about the commitment I made to her. I haven’t; I do. But I don’t know how to get that across to her if I don’t ever get to talk to her. I don’t have her email address, though I know she has one. I have an old personal cell number for her, one she shares with her sister, that I suppose I could use, but that feels like I’m really doing a runaround on the mom. She IS the legal guardian; she DOES get to make decisions. I know she has a MySpace, but I don’t use MySpace with kids, and again, same issue as the personal cell phone. I am meeting a couple of my kids in a week and a half for a lunch I owe them, and one of them is friends with the Eyeliner Queen; perhaps I could mention that I’ve been trying to get in touch with her and see if they can pass on a message?

I talked to mom just a bit ago and she acted like she was writing down my cell phone number (before I’ve left it on voicemail at her request) so maybe she did, and maybe she’ll pass it on, and maybe I’ll hear back. But if she didn’t, or she doesn’t, or I don’t, what do I do next?

Edit: Never mind! Just heard back from the Eyeliner Queen and we're getting together on Saturday, so there we go. 'Course, plenty could happen between now and then, but at least we have a plan.

(Photo credit to the_moment,


Anonymous said...

Glad it's moot, but for future reference in case it's useful, trying to put myself in the three sets of shoes here:

First, is there institutional policy on the issue of using a student's cell phone to call her? She (presumably) gave you the number and had agreed that you would be in touch. It doesn't feel to me like a violation to call under those circumstances unless the guardian has overruled the adolescent. So passive-aggressive parental resistance doesn't feel like enough of a prohibition.

Second, what about a postcard? Obviously, the parent could still (and doubtless has the legal right to) recycle it without passing it on. But I think that has a different psychology than not passing on a phone message -- more serious, can't just say "I forgot" if you're busted on it.

And postcards specifically are public information in the household: no secrets, nothing sealed. So they are great for both spreading info and easing third-party worries about what's being said.

FY consideration -

Cheers - New-Left Coasting

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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