Bad School Nights Do Happen

Recently I participated in a school night that did not have the desired impression. The school had scheduled us to have our parents meeting in a hallway between the cafeteria and library. There were five small tables with three chairs at each. I thought to myself, “That’s OK Scouts can adapt to just about anything.” But when 25 parents show up with their kids to sign up most people are standing and uncomfortable in a small space. To pour salt into the wound the cafeteria and library doors were open and everyone could see that both of them were empty with plenty of seating. Many of the parents remarked that the school felt that Scouting was somehow in competition with their students; which is crazy when you think about it. It doesn’t happen during school! The overall impression was that the parents were somehow being punished and forced into an uncomfortable space by the school just for trying to do something good for their children. I did speak with a few parents that expressed this disappointment in the administration of the school. I assured them that this was just a mistake and we should make do with what we’ve got for now. Later when I got home I wanted to write a thank you letter to the school for allowing us to have a parent’s sign-up night. I also wanted to warn them that the parents “were onto their game” as they put it and we’re probably going to say something. It would be a friendly, courteous, and kind thing to do. I sat for a great deal of time and thought about my feelings.  “Allowing us?” I understand that this would be appropriate if it was just the Scouts. What about the taxpaying parents who paid for the school and the salary of all employees in it?  To be truthful and not helping others at all times was really sticking to my thoughts. Unfortunately, this was the thank you letter  I ended up with…

“I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to have a parents’ night at their school. Although the accommodations were rather unusual being in a hallway with limited seating. Many parents were able to get introductions to Scouting and signed up their children for the adventure that we offer. Despite the space we were meeting in was crowded and uncomfortable, we had wonderful ventilation as the cafeteria and the library doors were completely open and vacant. I’m sure that this made a negative impression on what your administration thinks of the needs of your parents in regards to their children’s extracurricular activities. I just thought you should know that it did not leave a good impression on the parents you are hired to serve. I understand that some administrators can be mistaken in thinking that they’re really in charge when they’re actually accountable to the parents of the children in their charge. I recommend that you take seriously any complaints that may be forthcoming from your employers. Again thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to assist the parents of your school.”

After a great deal of thinking, I decided not to send this note as I know that it would end up being misunderstood. Any anger generated from the text would be taken out in retribution on Scouting the following years. If I had mailed it we would probably have meetings on the sidewalk, outside the gate for years to come. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what they want us to do. Who knows it might be an improvement. Sometimes not warning them and letting them come to it on their own is best. Deep down I know the school principal is not favorable towards Scouting though I’m not sure why. Only tolerating our presence due to School Board pressure. It’s unfortunately gone political. This is only impeding the children from eventually finding the Scouting path. It also makes taxpaying, voting parents angry that they would do this to them and their kids.  YIS⚜