Am I too old for this "stuff"?

Liz - posted on 09/11/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I am 56, my last son is in the marching band, at his high school. he is 16, and since I could not volunteer when his older brothers were in the band, I am now 'doing my part" with him. I am a "pit parent" which means while the band is at the football games in our home stadium, I stand and watch the band members so they do not get in trouble, like with cellphones out, eating stuff that is not allowed in the pit, making sure that their friends from outside the band don not clogg up the walkway behind them, and just generally keeping order in the pit. we have a two tier band, varisty which do the half time shows and competitions, and the concert with march in all parades and the opening of the football games, and all pep music in the pit during the games, along with the varsity band. combinded we have well over 225 students.

Last night we had our friday night football game, and there was lightening just before half time and all the students were told (by us and the high school) to assemble in the gym of the middle school( where our football field is. When we opened the 'new" high school 10 years ago, the old hs was made into a middle school, and the football field stayed there). We had all the students in there, first and formost for safety reasons, that way we could make sure that parents would be picking them up, instead of just letting them go willy nilly, and secondly so we could make sure that all the instruments, music, uniforms, warmups, and just the general stuff were safe and not damaged. Since we had all grades of high school, 9 through 12, we had students who drive and students whose parents pick them up after the games. Last night, and I understand it was a stressfull time, we had a few parents who cursed us out, because we could not just let their kids go with out them 1) tell us that they were going and 2) who they were going with. We require parents to come and check them out with either the director, the assistant director, or one of us. some of the parents were mad because we would not release their students just because they were out in the car somewhere in the parking lot, in all the traffic. They had called on the cellphones, and were demanding them to be out in the parking lot. There were 100's of cars out there, and frankly some of those parents were driving worse them some teenagers. I would not allow students to just leave, no matter if they said that their parents were out there. I'm sorry, I do not believe students when they say.."my parents just called and they said it was ok for me to go with so and so." I have a hard time with a 15 year old saying this with her 18 year old boyfriend standing there going"Yep, they said it was ok". I am not going to let a student go just on that.

Anyway, I was on the recieving end of this "stuff" last night because I was following district rules about releaseing from a school function(yes marching band is a school function if they are at a football game) during an emergency. I am thinking, you know, I am too old for this. I almost told off a parent, who was standing there yelling at me because I had not allowed his son to leave when the director was giving them instructions on what to do with their uniforms, their instrumnets, and telling them what time to be where for the resumption of the game. YET, I didn't. but now I am wondering if I am too old for this crap.

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Louise - posted on 09/12/2010

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I would ask for a letter to be sent to all parents stating that no student would be allowed to leave until a parent comes to collect them and then they all know the protocal. I would also say in these letters that abuse would not be tollerated.

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Kathy - posted on 10/08/2010

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Rudeness has nothing to due with ages. I find it astounding when parents can't see that safety is necessary to protect their children. I think you were absolutely correct and applaud you for your commitment to ensuring the children are safe.

Francina - posted on 10/03/2010

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You're not too old...maybe too frank! I find that as i plunge into my forties, my frankness is ever so close to the tip of my tongue. I have to tell myself to not offend others if there is another way to say something. And then again, sometimes I don't care about how what I say sounds if what i've to say is necessary and eliminates the presenting problem...That, I believe is what happens when we get older and find ourselves in situations such as yours at the game! Enjoy, and remember, life is a treasure we can only hold the moment it appears!!!

Pamela - posted on 10/02/2010

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I used to work at a YMCA and was an involved parent. There will always be the parents who want it their way and cannot be made happy. This is in rule book, maybe you need to have one handy, or a remminder flyer may need to be sent out. The school can never have too many volunteers and if the school doesn't have their backs, they can lose them.. Hang in there for your last son. This too, will pass.

Kim - posted on 09/28/2010

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Personally I think the band director needs to send out an e-mail on how not to treat volunteers(because they can't bother to help!!) and how you were following district rules and if they don't like it then their child does not have to be in band!! And how they should apologize for the way they treated the volunteers who were keeping THEIR kids safe in a dangerous and stressful situation! And you aren't too old, the other 'adults' need to grow up. I have noticed that lately, the world revolves around them. There aren't enough people who care anymore about anyone but themselves unfortunately that includes their kids. My husband helped out on a school project and the other parents treated him like their maid instead of someone giving his time to help their children!! He is not doing it again this yr!

Joan - posted on 09/24/2010

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Liz.........I applaud you!!!! It takes a strong person to listen to out of control parents and still do the right thing! I have been a teacher and now as a County Extension Agent that relies on volunteers, I deeply appreciate volunteers who do the right thing and follow the rules! Again, YEA for you! By the way, I'll also be 56 when my 16 year old son is out either playing football or playing in the band!

Sue - posted on 09/23/2010

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we have to sign all kinds of papers at the beginning of the year saying we have read and understand the policies for all my kids classes not counting the extracurricular stuff, those all have "constitutions" that have even more details in them.

if yall have something similar i would suggest sending a note home with all the students and remind them that they agreed to those terms at the beginning of the year.

personally i would rather have the school be overprotective - you never know what could happen.

Lisa - posted on 09/23/2010

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My daughter is in 7th and i am 45 and the petty stuff from the other parents are crazy..is it their age and not years...??? cant please everyone...so just do what you think is best ...you are doing a great thing for helping and i am sure your son appreciates allll that you..do

Mary - posted on 09/23/2010

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One thing to remember, is those kids with the outspoken parents are usually very embarrassed when their parents act like that. So as long as you are getting along with the kids I'd stick it out, because I'm sure they are wishing their parents were more like you in certain areas. And obviously you are showing them how to follow rules, and have a good time simultaneously. I can only imagine what goes on behind the doors of those types of parents.

Dee - posted on 09/22/2010

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A 20 year old would be too old to take that kind of abuse. I really wonder sometimes where in the world our manners have gone. Why do people seem to think that it's ok to verbally (or sometime worse) abuse others when they don't get their way? The rules at school may seem like a burden sometimes, but those rules are there for the safety of their child. I can guarantee that these same parents would be the first to sue if their child were harmed in the breaking of these rules. It sounds like you took the high road and didn't return in kind (good for you!) and the other parents probably looked like pit bulls to others standing around. You did the job you were asked to do. If those parents have a probably with that then they should take it up with the administration or director, not the parent volunteer trying their best to do what they were asked to do. I hope you won't give up. My children are all out of the nest now and I have to say I really miss going to their track meets and cheering them on. I hope that your future interactions with these parents will be more positive on their parts and less stressful on yours.

Kimberly - posted on 09/22/2010

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Liz - Good, and Good for you. Here's cheer for you - Way to Go Mom, Way to Go! ! ! :)

Liz - posted on 09/22/2010

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thanks....I do enjoy them. Most of the parents are like me, it is just those few who think that they are 'graceing us with the pleasure of being around their spectacular, wonderful, special, and enchanting children" that drive me nuts. I am hoping that this last booster meeting solved some of that. even if some did not go to it, believe me, the booster meeting was discussed around the district and town. LOL we are a "small, big town" or a "big small town". That is why I love this town.

Kimberly - posted on 09/22/2010

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Liz - well it sound like you like working with the kids (aren't they great :) - it's just the crazy parents. Yeah that goes along with the territory. Just stick to your guns and remember you didn't make the rules and maybe ask if a reminder paper can be sent to them about dismissal procedures - can't hurt - might even help :) Hang in there and enjoy the kids....

Liz - posted on 09/22/2010

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actually... I am not a jailer, I am a reminder in the pit. Before the storm I was giveing a quick seminar on football and how to watch it to some freshmen girls who were "BORED OUT MY MIND". No I stand there and make sure that the walk way behind the band is not being clogged by friends...who by the way know better. I give out water to the band members, the only approved beverage , so they don't get dehydrated. I tease them, I correct witih humor, I remind them that there are rules, but you can still enjoy the game. I encourage them to do the "wave" , keep them on their toes so they can play the pep music when the director stands up. We Cheer, we do "jazz hands" at the kick offs, and all the kids know me because I was their sub in the middle school. Most of them ask me to be at their end of the pit, because we do have fun. The ones who do not like me are the ones who insist that they MUST have their cellphones out because "MY MOM" will call. Okay, lets be real, your Mom is sitting in the stands 50 feet behind you, is watching you, and is not calling you... It is that boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend/ what ever who is texting you about what ever, just like they do at school, where I have taken your cellphone away(ok middle school) during class. I know that you text during class, I know that you put your phone in your pocket, and do it under the desk, I know that you are trying to get it out of your pocket of your uniform(that last controtion of putting your hand down the front of your uniform (they are a jumpsuit with pockets on the inside of the jumpsuit) and pulling it out is a sure sign that you are not scratching your stomach. Most of the kids have a good time and that is what keeps them coming back to my side of the pit. My own son asked me last night if I could be on his side of the pit next game, but I think I will stay on the opposite side. I enjoy the kids over there and hopefully I can help some kids learn to enjoy the game.

Kimberly - posted on 09/22/2010

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Everybody is TOOO Old for THAT CRAP - Worst part about working with teens is oftentimes dealing with the "grade school mentality" parents. I'm pretty sure they were informed at the beginning of the year of the policy. We had the same thing at our school one year during a bomb threat - parents did that exact same thing - they don't get that their children's safety is the priority.
On the other hand the "job" you had - and I hope you are not the only one performing it during the game - because it's way too much - is that of jailer. I would not enjoy or like doing that ever at any age. Teens are wonderful and sooooooooooo much fun to be with but not when you have to be "just the jailer". I'm sure no one wants to do that position but perhaps others are better suited to it than you. You might want to look for other ways to be involved that are less stressful. Let one of the 40 something go play jailer for awhile....
Also remember if you stick with it, the anger is not really at you but at the rules and try to let it go. I mean you didn't make them up did you??? :)

Julieanne - posted on 09/21/2010

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..that just sounds like a hideous job! I couldn't do it if i were 25..good on you.

Liz - posted on 09/21/2010

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thanks all, my heart felt thanks to you all. I love working with the band, the kids are a hoot. Next weekend is our "band day" where the marching band works on their show from 8 to 3 on a Saturday. I have no problem with them doing this, after all, it is not like they have not known about this, since it has been scheduled since the first of August. Of course there are a few parents who said, last week at the booster meeting, "Why didn't any one tell us about this?, and my favorite,"Well, we may have some plans on that day, we'll see " To which our wonderful band director has said, "Ok, they will have to make up this day, by doing extra work. they can either go to band day, or they can do the required essay, which is due on Monday morning before school. The Band day is just like any other school day activity, you signed up for this, you auditioned for it, and you took the spot when there were others who tried out , were cut and really wanted to be in the band. If you do no like it, please drop out and let someone who really wants to be here do it."

I knew what he was going to say, he says it every year about this time when some of the kids and parents start to get over the thrill of being in band. So, after he said this, no one else complained. LOL

After 11 years here, he really knows our parents, and our students. that is what makes him so good! Thanks again all.

Kathy - posted on 09/21/2010

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Hey, Liz - I'm with you!! Great job! My husband is a HS band director, and I have two daughters who marched in his band all 4 of their HS years. (Beside the point, we also have a 7 year old and a 4 year old, so since I'm 46 now, I'll be in almost exactly your shoes in a few years! ) When my girls were in the band, we always appreciated our chaperones like crazy, especially the ones like you who put the safety of the kids ahead of the screaming over-entitled parents in the parking lot. (My hometown is full of those!!!) You are not too old for this - you're too smart and too caring to let those other parents get you down. Please keep up the good work, and thank you for looking out for the best interests of the kids! We all need more people like you around our children! ♥

Cj - posted on 09/20/2010

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You are NOT too old for this!! You will run into people like tgis all the time. I worked at my local high school so I know what you are saying. It's like this you are emplyed by the school, you have rules you must follow no matter what the parents say. Let them act the way they will. It is hard to stand there and take it, but we must. After they are through, smile and remind them that you are doing what your director has instructed you to do. Also remind them that if you sent a child out and they were not there and something happened to their child it would be much worse for them. You do not have an easy job, but you have a very important job. Do not let any one let you feel as if they are your boss. Bring this up to your boss, they should send home letters remindibg parents the rules they have ib place and you folllow them to protect their children. If you enjoy this job, please stay. The children will miss you if you are no longer there. You are one that cares for them and they know it. Hang in there!!

Liz - posted on 09/12/2010

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I understand what you are saying, to have a meeting, or send a letter about these things, etc. Guess what, there is hand book, where you have to sign that you have read the policies. Guess what the first thing in the hand book is about? The policy about how students will be released when there is a change in what is going on. (not quite stated like that, but it covers what happened on Friday night) I know that all those parents who were mad had signed the paper saying that they had read the policies, because I had worked on who had brougth back those papers and who had not. IF they had not returned those papers they were not allowed to march in the first football game, district policy.

I guess there will alway be those who think that the rules and policies do not apply to them, just because they are there. As I was talking to another parent yesterday, I found out the father who was yelling at me is one who feels that just because he pays his dues to the booster organization, he can do what ever he wants to, when he wants to. another problem, the 15 year old wanting to leave with her 18 year old boyfriend, saying that her parents had given permission, well...they had a different story the next day. The Band Director has sent out an e-mail saying that at the next booster meeting there would be an explanation of why they were not allowed to release the students the way they did. A representative of the district would be there to answer questions.

Personally, I will be there, but I am not going to take some of the stuff I did on Friday night. I don't think I should have to, I was following district policy. Thanks for your comments though.

Morena - posted on 09/11/2010

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For my opinion you can't be responsable for all. All af you parents and staff must understend that is so big responsabiliti to take and the parents who is so superficial on this things cant' b lame you for anything.
Well I'm suggest you befor that happend again you must have a meeteng with all parents and kids staff and put down rules and tell them they must sing the "document who conteins rooles" where you wont take any responsability if they want respect it. and good luck

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