For most of last weekend we were trying to come to terms with the decision of the School Fair Art Show Committee; deciding to exclude Erik after we had already received a go-ahead for him to hang his painting in the framed section of the art show, and in writing no less.
The head of the Art Show Committee had been very clear over the phone; Erik's painting was to be excluded because he didn't meet one of the entry condition for framed pieces. Erik is under the minimum age of sixteen. The school art teacher had never had the jurisdiction to give an exemption for him to participate.
We were heartbroken for Erik - who just wanted to be in the show for his final year at the school, and for his teachers and peers to see his work. We were also livid that a lack of communications - a stuff up at the schools end - was going to result in Erik being penalised, without so much as an apology.
Anyway, on Sunday night, just as we were on our third draft of a formal complaint to the Principal, which we'd planned to CC to the Department of Education due the callous nature by which Erik was 'let down', we discovered a new email for the head of the committee telling us that Erik's painting could be in the show after all, just not technically in the show (they won't take any commission if he sells the painting).
Yesterday we were discussing our the troubles we have had with the school. We've had a few: their rigidity regarding the school sources book packs (not wanting to provide us with a list so we can source our own, more reasonably priced materials); keeping kids at the back of the room, or in an adjacent room where they could overhear the entire Christian Religion Education class, even though we withheld permission for them to attend; giving us a hard time because we refused to enrol Erik and Lukas in swim class at $90 a pop only three weeks before Christmas, just to name a few...
We've wondered if, with possibly moving out of the area next year, it might be a good idea to reconsider keeping Bryn at the school and enrolling Ari there for 2014? Erik and Lukas will both be at high school, by then. The child who would be affected is Bryn, of course.
The Grumpy Old Man and I have always both been against the idea of the boys ever having to change school (besides the move from primary to high school, that is). I changed schools ten times in 10 years, and while I coped, I never made friends. The Grumpy Old Man changed primary schools three times, the last of which he has never wholly forgiven his parents for (he's no fan of change, in case you were wondering). So for us moving Bryn half way through his primary school experience would be a big deal.
And there are many things about the primary school that we do like.
Anyway, the Grumpy Old Man asked me, 'Would it be better at another school?'
I immediately knew the answer.
'No, not really.'
You see, the 'problem' isn't them; the school. There are plenty of parents who don't have 'issues' with the school. Those parents might think the fees are a bit expensive, or that CRE has no place in schools, or they may wonder why their child hasn't learned to swim in three years of week-long swimming classes, but those parents just seem to have the ability to accept the status quo.
That is our problem, we are a couple of people who believe that not only can things change, but in many cases they should change...
We don't cruise.
We don't accept that the school knows best or that this is 'just how things are'.
We are the problem, and we will probably be the problem wherever our children go to school.
We adore our boys' high school - right now - but chances are there will be stuff that irritates us or seems unreasonable and we will approach the teachers and the principal and we will want to at least discuss things.
That's who we are... The Trouble-Makers™.
We are the people the Vice Principal calls and speaks to in the 'What do you want now?' tone of voice. We are the people the Principal refuses to arrange a meeting with (true story, she did this on Friday). We are the squeaky wheel.
This time being the squeaky wheel meant Erik gets to exhibit and sell his painting at the School Fair Art Show despite not being sixteen.
I shall leave you with a quote...