Jumping Through Hoops!
I have to share this with you because it is the most harrowing experience I have ever been through. I got the girls Wednesday before last. They had been withdrawn from their previous schools that day. I decided because of the trauma they had been through I would give them the weekend to recuperate, not realizing that the following Monday was a holiday. Now mind you, I am a grandmother and it has been a long time since I have had to deal with the school system and all of it’s new rules. I understand the need for the rules and I agree with them. However, this is what I had to go through.
1.) Tuesday morning I figured, where do I start? The school. I went to the school with only notarized papers from both parents saying I had their permission to enroll the kids. The secretary was very short with me and said “You can’t just take the children of someone else and enroll them in school. You have to have something from an attorney.” I was upset with the attitude but I went home and called both of the parents and told them I had to have them here the next day. I couldn’t get in touch with the dad all day long. I was not happy.
2.) Wednesday. I had to drive two and a half hours each way to pick my daughter up and get her over here. We stopped at the Health Department in Georgia where they had been in school and I had to pay them $50 for the copies of the kids birth certificates. We were able to do this easily since I had their biological mother with me. The dad finally called Wednesday morning while I was on my way back with my daughter and I told him he needed to get to the house. I wasn’t sure if he would actually come so I couldn’t really make an appointment with anyone just in case he didn’t show up. When he did finally, I wrangled an attorney on the courthouse steps and explained the situation to him. His fees he said were $700 for the custody papers and hearing. I said fine, I’ve got half of it today. So he sent us to his office and the secretary typed up the consent forms that the father needed to sign right then as he kept saying he had to leave. They said they would have the papers for the mother the next day. (How much harder would it have been to change the names and print out a second set?)
3.) Thursday morning. The attorneys office was supposed to call as soon as they had my daughters papers ready for her to sign and they didn’t so about 3:00 I went down there. They had them ready and just hadn’t called so I got her papers signed and then I took her back home the two and a half hour drive both ways.
3.) Friday morning. The attorney was supposed to go and file the paperwork at the courthouse Friday morning first thing, which would only give me a petition but I would not get a court hearing for thirty days. He told me though that I could get the kids in school with the petition. Again I waited for the Attorney to call and again they didn’t so at 3:00 I went down there. Again they had them ready but just hadn’t made the call. We got the papers and left there and got to the school by 3:15. The secretary, a different one, informed me that she was leaving to go out of town and couldn’t do an enrollment that day and to come back Monday. Frustrated but still being patient, I went over to the Middle school to enroll my other one and talked to the principal, however he doesn’t do enrollments and every one else was gone. He was very nice and spent some time with the kids and it wasn’t until this point that someone gave me a list of what I actually needed to have in order to enroll them. I needed their social security cards, which I didn’t have, and their shot records, I also didn’t have. We came home again disappointed.
4.) Monday morning. We left first thing Monday morning and drove to the Health Department in Georgia to get the shot records. One child’s records showed up in the system and I had to pay $7.00 for that but the other one’s didn’t. So I left the health department and drove to the Social Security office. I had the card for one child and not the other. At this office I was informed that I could not get the social security card until the custody hearing was completed and I had official custody. She informed me that there was no state law that said that the school had to have the cards and I should challenge them. Great, I thought to myself. So I left there and drove to the elementary school she had been enrolled at. It turns out that because the kids had been in school in Ohio the year before, they had given the dad 30 days to get the shot records, but they never got them. So they didn’t have them. The lady at this school office was wonderful and got online and looked up the school in Ohio to ask if they could fax them immediately. She was informed that the lady that handled records was at lunch. So I left and left my phone number with her. I then drove back to Alabama to the health department here. I showed them the records I had on the one child and they told me there was a discrepancy in the shots shown on there so she could not issue me the “blue slip” I needed on that one. I told them then that I was waiting on the lady from the school to fax the records for the other child and asked for a fax number for her to send them to. She said alright but then informed me that they would have to see both children before they could issue the “blue slips” and that they didn’t have an appointment until Friday. Now….I was livid.
I left the health department and drove to the courthouse. I walked in and asked to see a judge. The lady asked me why and I said, “I am frustrated. I have two children that need to be in school. They have been out for two weeks while I have spent over $800, made 6 trips back and forth to Georgia and I still don’t have everything I need and no one will help me.”
Two minutes later I was sitting in front of the Judge. I was a happy girl. I explained everything to him and all he could say was wow! He tried to make a couple of calls to the school and didn’t get an answer from anyone so he said, “Please excuse me for a couple of minutes,” and he left. Five minutes later he returned with the lady who is over the entire county school system. She was very nice and very apologetic and guess what? First thing in the morning I will have the kids enrolled in time to make their first classes. She went over everyone’s head and said I had thirty days to get the last couple of things I needed. Why couldn’t someone have given me some time to do all this in the first place?
Whew. I could not believe what I went through. So next time you get frustrated with something, give it up, go to your local courthouse and get a judge involved. They seem to have the POWER!