Childrearing

Help! Moving Mid-School-Year Got My Daughter Kicked Out Of Kindergarten

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As a child, I never finished a single school straight through to the end. I always changed to a different school for some reason. In elementary school it was because my mom got a job at a school across town. In middle school, we moved houses. In high school, I spent the last two years at a boarding school for accelerated learners. I consider myself an experienced school-switcher. I’m not going to say that it’s easy, but I don’t think it will permanently scar children any more than other random facts of life. However, there’s one big exception to my “new kid on the block” backround. I never attempted to switch schools in the middle of the year. That seems like a very different process and a much more difficult transition. And that is what a dear friend’s daughter is going to have to go through all because their house sold more quickly than expected and her school promptly kicked her out of kindergarten.

My close friend, Catherine*, called me a little frantic last night. Her daughter was being kicked out of school! Knowing Catherine’s intensely sweet and achingly polite little girl, I was pretty confused. But I have to admit, the way my friend was bullied by her school district was even more unbelievable than thinking that a bright, kind child had been expelled from kindergarten.

Catherine’s husband recently got a job working three hours away. Since the beginning of the school year, he’s been spending the weeks at work and only coming home to see his family on the weekends. Obviously, it’s been pretty hard on all of them to have him away. But the family needed time to pack up their house and get it on the market before moving, so they enrolled their daughter Kylee* into kindergarten in our hometown. They planned on putting their house up for sale in November, knowing that the housing market was weak and it might take months to sell. Hopefully, they would sell their house by the spring, then Catherine and Kylee could live with grandparents until the school year ended and they would all move into a new house  this summer. That was their plan.

Then, recession be damned, Catherine’s house sold on the day it went up for sale. Literally, the sign when in the yard at 1pm and by 10 o’clock that night, they were offered full asking price. No, I will not give you the name of their realtor, but I will tell you that they were pretty shocked. Suddenly, all of their plans were put into hyperdrive. They quickly packed and started searching for houses in their new city. Grandparents were hurriedly cleaning out spare rooms, preparing for their arrival. And just in time for the holidays, Catherine and her family moved in with her parents. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, but there was one snag in the plan that hadn’t been accounted for. Even though Catherine and her parents live in the same city, a mere 15 minutes from each other, they live in two different school districts.

No one realized that this was going to be such an issue until Kylee’s school got wind of the move. After all, you can’t really expect a kindergartner to refrain from speaking about a huge upheaval in her life. Suddenly, Catherine got a call from the principal of her school saying that Kylee was not welcome to return after the end of the week. The principal gave my friend two days to make other arrangements for her child and say goodbye.

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