The waiting room is no more than a 10 by 10 space. Five seats are lined up against the wall to my right as I walk in the glass doors, which I had to be buzzed into. To my left, a mere 9 feet in front of the single row of chairs is a window. In between the window and the chairs is a line of retractable “line makers” that attempt to help create a line. Two people wait in line behind a couple standing at the window. I wait my turn – carrying baby in a carrier and with Sonic and Luna close by wondering where they should go – and I’m standing right in front of the glass entrance door. (What do I do when someone else walks in, I wonder.) Three of the seats are occupied so I feel weird standing right in front of them, but I encourage Sonic and Luna to sit in the two empty seats, which they don’t. The “room” is cold and bare. There is no color or art on the walls. The only literature is located at the window, and the only thing on the walls are two very LARGE signs outlining the school registration requirements.
On the other side of the window and in the far left corner of the “room” is a glass door, which one needs a security code to get into. There is a short hallway off the right corner of this waiting space.
As I wait there and read the very LARGE signs telling me quite clearly what I need to register my kids in the Springfield Public School system, I realize I have none of those things with me. I suddenly wonder what I am doing here. My kids are already agitated, ready to go home, and I have no idea what I’m going to say to the woman at the window. I only want information on what I need. I only want the information on those two very LARGE signs. So I look around for some paperwork I can just grab and go. The only paperwork is at the window and I imagine going up there and looking through the choices while this person is trying to talk to the lady at the window. How awkward would that be? It was literally 6 inches from her arm. And I had a feeling what I needed wouldn’t be there anyway.
So I waited.
I could hear the entire conversation of the man in front of me. He was inquiring about preschool options for his son who’s current preschool was closing. He needed something by next Monday. Basically, the Springfield Public School choices are only for children who have not been in preschool so he was advised to contact Head Start. He told her that he had tried that, multiple times, but they have failed to get back to him, multiple times. She told him to GO THERE and keep at them. And basically that was his only choice.
Then it was my turn. I told her I have no paperwork. I ust wanted information about registering my son in school. No he hasn’t been in school before, I was homeschooling. She gave me some papers I had to fill out and bring back with the requirements outlined on the wall. Then I asked her about preschool. No, my daughter has never been in school. The lady told me there is a waitlist, but to fill out the application because there is always a chance she could get in.
In the meantime, Luna had stood on the electric wall heater under the window, slipped, and hit her chin just as the security guard tapped my arm to tell me she shouldn’t stand on there. She wrapped her arms around my leg as she cried, and I looked down where in big letters on the heater it read, “DO NOT STAND.” Of course, I gave Luna a mini lecture about how it says DO NOT STAND so you don’t get hurt like you just did which I immediately felt sorry about.
There were at least six more people waiting behind me when I got the paperwork and walked out. The energy was overwhelming and just yucky. There’s no other way to put it. Yucky.
Is THAT really the system I am going to put my kids into? One where parents have to be met with security doors and guards, cold and sterile waiting rooms, with little to no privacy when talking about their children?
I am considering the option of no longer homeschooling because I am feeling overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities of being a cook, maid, teacher, entertainer, nurse, taxi driver, personal shopper, along with meeting my own needs and desires. I have very little to no support with all of these responsibilities and I NEED A BREAK.
But I do NOT take this decision lightly. It would require me to get them vaccinated as the state requires for school registration. It would require me to put a lot of faith in a system I believe is broken. It would require me to put them into a system that welcomes parents and children with security doors and sterile walls.
There is something wrong here. When I told Jeremy about it, he asked why they don’t have a play area for kids? It’s a place that is supposed to be supporting education for kids and they don’t have toys, or books, or something to occupy the kids while the parents are getting done what needs to be done?
Granted, the REAL processing probably gets done behind that glass security door next to the window, and MAYBE it is a little more colorful back there, but this is the entrance way. The main gate. And it’s not at all inviting. And it’s not at all something that gives me confidence about what I am potentially going to put my kids into.
I’d like to know your thoughts. Is this a red flag? Is this a microcosm of the bigger problem? Would you continue with the process after seeing this, after already having reservations?