The Waiting Room

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Friday, February 29, 2008

What Would You Say?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

My good friend, Righteous Babe, raised a good point about my FERPA student. Regardless of the fact that the student signed a waiver, how much can one discuss in a conference where the parents are present?

FERPA only covers so much information. The law is not clear with respect to any kind of conference with the parent. Also, I have some concerns about the circumstances in which the waiver was signed. Was it signed without any coercion or reservation (Sorry, it's the attorney thinking now).

I sent an email to the Academic Dean, who also forwarded my questions to some of the other powers that be. All said that I should focus on the importance of working hard and making the most out of the college experience. Focus on the student's responsibilities. I should emphasize that Junior has many options to seek assistance, if necessary. As long as the student is present, I should be fine with anything I say.

OK, I get it. But, I have this feeling that the parents are going to want their kid to make up the work that he has missed. I am not comfortable with that. It's not fair to those who have worked hard or contacted me an made arrangements to submit the work late. I suppose I could say that he will have continue where the rest of the class is currently, despite being in the red. It is still early in the semester, and Junior could pull out a passing grade if he does what he needs to do. I just do not want to be pushed into doing something that goes against what I think is fair.

7 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I wouldn't give Jr any more breaks than any other student. The thing is, with a student like this -- and their parents -- if you make one exception, you've set a precedent for future exceptions.

I say copies of the syllabus all around (it is a public document...) if necessary, copies of the official course outline the college maintains...

Then, outline the conditions by which Jr can pass the class. Communicate that Jr isn't getting any extra breaks and that he's being treated as any other student should be expected to be treated, according to your syllabus.

Were it me, I'd give a copy to the parents (since it is derived from the syllabus) and copies to the dean.

This really ought to be a short meeting, as you are NOT there to neotiate with the parents and/or Jr, you are there to inform him of what he needs to do in order to remain in the class. Whether or not he chooses to do those things is a matter to be settled outside of the meeting....

k8 said...

The way I see it, by having their "child" sign the release statement, they have the right to receive information. They have no right to negotiate. I'm not a lawyer and that was my first thought! Additionally, the presence of parents in the meeting gives the student no right to treatment that is different than the treatment his fellow classmates receive.

I do think it is a very good thing that you are keeping the administration in the loop. Not just for your own good, but so that they are aware of what happens when parents become involved in this way.

Alice said...

Yikes, good luck! Agree with previous commenters that you should stick to your syllabus if you have a written make-up policy. Unless there is a valid excuse, you should not give Jr any slack just because parents are there.

righteous babe said...

Jr has a syllabus, if need be, explain that the syllabus is a contract and that yours clearly states "no late work" If he's so far in that he can't recover he can withdraw by 3/28 (dbl check that though)

College prepares you for a job and Jr needs to be responsible for himself. Parents need to let the idiot fail on his own. and if need be, I can sit there during the meeting at my desk. let me know

Anonymous said...

I agree with Righteous Babe - and if your syllabus *doesn't* state your policy on late work, change it for all your future classes! You're probably right that the parents are going to push for Junior to make up the work, but I think you could argue that rather than spending time trying to make up work that you won't accept, per policy on syllabus, he should focus his energy on completing the remaining work for the course. If Junior has to spend a lot of time on old assignments, he won't be working on the ones that still do count!
Barb

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks everyone. My syllabus has a very strict policy about late work. I don't accept it unless arraignments have been made prior to submission. Since I did not hear anything from Junior, he is SOL on the prior work.

I do plan on focusing on what he needs to do to move forward. There is still time for him to finish the course with a passing grade. But, it is up to him.

JustMe said...

seriously? a parent teacher conference with an adult? man, students/kids these days. i agree with all, stand firm, this isn't HS. hopefully the parents are coming more to kick his ass and embarrass him than convince profs to help out poor junior.

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