School Threatens to Call Child Services on Parents Who Show Up Late

School is still more than a few weeks away, but it looks like the staff at one elementary school thought they'd get a jump on the competition for craziest back-to-school news story. Administrators at Swegle Elementary in Oregon sent home a letter informing parents they'd be reported to child services if they were late picking up their kids.

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The letter was intended to relay general information about the upcoming school year -- school hours, pick-up times, important dates, and other information to help the first week back go as smoothly as possible. It accomplished that goal, but also included a small tidbit that scared the pants off all the parents. The third paragraph of the letter read:

Children must be picked up on time. If they are not picked up on time, we will call DHS [Department of Human Services] and you will then have to pick them up at court the next day.

Um. What?

A district spokesman has since clarified, saying DHS would only be called in "extreme cases." He also said the principal will "draft a new, corrected letter that will explain what went wrong."

I'm not sure how you accidentally threaten every parent in the school with a call to DHS, but sure, we'll go with that. One of the parents who spoke to the local news said the letter made her heart skip a beat, and I don't blame her one bit. I'd be a wreck if my child's school sent home a letter like that.

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I understand that in extreme cases like neglect or total abandonment they'd have to call human services, but there is no reason to even come close to addressing that in a general policy letter to all parents. Those circumstances are most likely rare, as I'm sure the average parent doesn't just drop their kid off at school and never come back.

Most parents who are running late are either stuck at work or picking up multiple kids or juggling some tough circumstances that make it difficult to get there on time. They really don't need the added stress of knowing the school administrators are staring down at them with judgmental eyes, ready to jump on the phone and get their kids taken away at any moment. I mean, what's next? Calling DHS every time a kid forgets their lunch at home? That principal's explanation better be pretty darn good, because this is one little mishap that went way over the line.

Would you be upset if your child's school sent home a letter like this?


Image via legenda/shutterstock

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