16 May 2008

I'm off to a good start with the Kindergarten powers that be

Well. I certainly got exercised when I opened the mail yesterday.

We registered the kid for kindergarten last month. Yesterday we got a form in the mail, to verify all of the data on file for her. I was flabbergasted to see that - because her last name is the same as mine and not the same as my husband/her father's - they made the assumption that W. was her stepfather (and not even her legal guardian, to boot). The nerve.

So I shot off the following letter (redacted, as needed). Making friends, don't you think? I hope she appreciates the trail that I'm blazing for her.


15 May 2008

Dr. Xxx Xxxx
Principal
XXX Elementary School
## XXX Street
XXX, NY #####

Dear Dr. Xxxx,

Enclosed please find the student verification form for Miss M., who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.

I was startled to find that the form was pre-filled with “stepfather” next to Miss M.'s father’s name. W. is my husband and her biological father (and also her legal guardian). Yes, we are married. Yes, I kept my birth name. Yes, our daughter has my last name as her last name.

When we filled out the registration forms, we did not indicate “stepfather” anywhere – W. was listed as Miss M.'s father, period. Someone in your office made an incorrect assumption, and I find it somewhat disconcerting and inconsiderate.

I hope that you won’t make such assumptions in the future, whether in connection with our family, or any other families with non-traditional naming rubrics.

Sincerely,


Magpie

38 comments:

DD said...

Obviously this school is very "white-bread" as well. XBoy's catholic school is located in a heavily populated hispanic community, and they definitely do not follow what many consider a normal naming conventionality.

She She said...

I think you've got that Miss Congenialty Award sewn up.

soher529 said...

Leave your comment ....
No comment!

Jody said...

You were more polite than I would have been! :-)

Sunshine said...

I thought an official form would be copied verbatim!! Especially with parents and their relationship to the children! Our school is really anal about that primarily because of custody issues, and also with regards to students who have family that may not speak English so they can arrange communication via a translator. They don't piss around with making mistakes on parental relationships...somebody in the filing got rather creative in your case, didn't they? Not very careful and your letter is more than justified!

FreshHell said...

You go, girl! You would think, in a era of a hundred different ways to be a family, no one would assume ANYTHING. Even in my podunk redneck of the woods, I see family surnames every which way and the school forms consistently label "parents" as "parent/guardians" period.

kathy a. said...

good for you, setting them straight!

i took the more conventional route of keeping my name, and using my husband's last name for the kids. daughter was born on a military base overseas, so she needed a passport immediately. some idiot clerk told me she could not get a passport unless i changed my name! thankfully, i had both my newborn and toddler in tow, and they threw meltdowns in chorus with mine, and we got a supervisor with a brain in short order.

S. said...

Definitely more polite than I would have been. I think my letter would have had a strong undercurrent of "you patriarchal asshole dinosaur" in it.

But, as you say, Miss M. has to live with the consequences.

Isis said...

Kick ass! Way to go.

Mayberry said...

Well! They've been warned. That they need to move into the 21st century. Good grief.

Julie Pippert said...

Wow!

Wow that they did that. Holy smackerels! Unbelievable.

And wow big kudos to you for that letter.

I BEG for a follow-up when you get a reply.

Queen Goob said...

My two are getting ready to finish ninth and tenth grades, I've never been married, they have their father's last name, I STILL get called Mrs.______ even though we've never been married AND we haven't been together for fourteen years. I hate to break it to you but this will only be the first of MANY misunderstandings in the educational system's administration. Just remember when you went to the school � who was manning the desk? Yeah, Mrs. Bobinski who�s first language isn�t even English. I now make stuff up when someone calls me by the wrong name. Sometimes I�m Princess Persephone, sometimes I�m Mrs. Ray-VanWinkle, and sometimes I�m just plain Jane Doe. Have some fun with it or you�ll burst a vain.

Sincerely,
Someone Who Knows

Aunt Becky said...

Oh darlin'. Oh, how I know about this. It's always so.damn.confusing.

I love your email. It's cracking my ass up.

MsPrufrock said...

Oh, well done! I would have had something to say too. What were they thinking?

"I hope she appreciates the trail that I'm blazing for her" really made me laugh. Heh.

Eva said...

I'm glad you said something.

Veronica Mitchell said...

I would have been so tempted to make up a wild story about the names to juice things up. Just to test the rumor mill.

Kelly said...

How awesome is that letter?

I'll answer my own question. It's really awesome.

womaninawindow said...

Yay for you...so sick of all the ASSumptions! We fusser the wrath of idiots too. (Funny, suffer came out as fusser...he he he) We've got mixed family names AND ALL ARE MARRIED AND BIOLOGICAL ETC... And people kinds just pause with an open mouth 'cause they've never heard the likes of it before...

Kyddryn said...

You could always claim to be in witness protection with your child, but your husband isn't, and it's ultra important that they keep it straight so "they" don't find you. Or something.

Meanwhile, I bet they have to look up "rubrics" at least three times.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

wheelsonthebus said...

Have they never before met a woman who kept her name?!

Stacey said...

Wow, I'm contacting you next time I need to send an angry letter.

flutter said...

"dr xxx" is like some superhero adult film name.

Creeeepy.

Kelley said...

You go girl! Kick some arrogant office chick arse.

I hate it when people make assumptions. I still use my maiden name at work, married for the kids stuff and a whole made up one for my advocacy work! Mainly because MPS's last name is long and hard to pronounce, so it is an anglinised version of it :)

well read hostess said...

I love this letter.

Here's what the principal wrote on a notepad after reading it: "Note to self: don't ask Magpie to make cupcakes for the bake sale. Maybe her husband would?"

I crack my shit right up.

susan said...

We could all have a ball writing correspondence (and its answers) on your behalf.

But seriously, what is up with that? Who thinks it's their job to redo forms parents have filled out quite clearly?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Truly annoying.

Aurelia said...

You go girl!!!

I find any assumptions quite annoying.

Julia said...

You know, this really is annoying. In stark contrast, our school not only puts out a family directory, but has a separate section thereof where it carefully lists parents who don't have the same last name as the child (in addition to the normal listing by child).

Anjali said...

Touche, my friend. Let this be a lesson for all school administraters from here to eternity!

needleinahaystack said...

Wait until you get a load of the school directories. I think they finally cross referenced the moms who retained their "maiden" names.
Trust me--this will be the first in a long line of discussions with the School. Save your energy!

painted maypole said...

good for you!

maggie, dammit said...

AWESOME.

Dude, you so totally kick mama ass. Good on ya.

nutmeg said...

My hero!

Irish Goddess said...

I love this!!!

Sober Briquette said...

oh ho ho. I know whose daughter YOU are.

Actually, I spent some time looking into alternate schools for my kids today, and, and...GAH!

I would have had to fill out forms for Lorenzo when he was two and a half to get him on the lottery list for one of three magnet schools in the area. I really thought this was just in the big cities.

So I will send in the order for Fiona's grade one uniform for fall and mark my calendar for February in case I want to get her in any of the other lotteries.

(Many of the students at her school have single parents or are from foreign countries with difficult and different surnames. I find it weird that your daughter's school made that error.)

Victoria said...

Perfect! Love it! Did they respond? Are you getting the mother of the year award already?

You should.

emma said...

I'm with ya! My daughter's have my husband's name and my son has mine. When my husband got a new job, the health insurance required us to send copies of both out marriage licence and my son's birth certificate to proove that yes, we were indeed related to him, and had to be covered on his health insurance too.

niobe said...

I use the last name of my mother's first husband. My mother uses the last name of her second husband. My mother's other daughter uses the name of my mother's third husband. And no-one ever seemed to find this confusing.