Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Court is now in Session

Uh huh. Pardon me while I yawn.

For those following the Day in the Life of Cameron Tales, today was the day I was summoned to court. Note just me. Why Cooper's father wasn't listed not only floors me, but he seemed slightly offended by it as well, until he realized I'd be the one in jail for going off on the judge and he could dance along his merry way.

I was scheduled to appear at 9am and in an unusual display of all things odd, I showed up early. There were five other people waiting to be seen, and then I saw the principal waltz in as well. I have a history with this principal from back in the days when Syd went whacko in Kindergarten, and once again, my gaydar dinged so loudly I was convinced others had to have heard it. If they did, they also bit back squeals of laughter as I did, because no one moved. Finally, we were told we could go in. Yippee.

I, of course, showed up in a sweatsuit, no bra (hey now, my jacket was zipped!) and black house slippers. No make-up. I'm 99% sure I didn't bother to brush my hair, although I did take pity on others with my teeth. It was the principle of the matter. Normally, that's what I'd be wearing to deal with house stuff all day, cleaning and laundry and all that jazz, and I'd be damned if I was going out of my way to change my routine for something so inately stupid.

I sat on the front row, smack dab across from the judge. Takes a lot to intimidate me, and he wasn't going to be one who did it. We were then told we were all there on the charge of "Parenting contributing to the nonattendence of a student."

Took everything in me not to stand up and scream, "My FOUR children don't even have to grace your schools ever again. I have the right to HOMESCHOOL them and then guess what? You LOSE those government funds sent to you per student per day they attend!" (Because that's really, really what this is all about, and we all know it.) But I was good and just stared right back at him and decided to not tell him that I'd bill him for the time he was wasting in my day. I had a nap scheduled. I was running late for it now.

They called roll to see who all was there. Lots were missing. He got to "Brenda Bradshaw" and like a good little girl, I raised my hand and said, "Here!" Then the judge, perched way up high on his little throne to look down upon the masses, spoke directly to me for the first time, even though I hadn't been called for my testimony yet. Gulp.

He peered at me and said, "When did the constable serve you?"

Well! Now that you ASKED! "He served me night before last, Monday night, even though this paper states he had the form for a full two weeks before he decided to grace me with his presence."

The judge nodded and made a note. I think the Constable may be getting a spanking, and it explains why so many others hadn't shown up. Said Constable must not be taking his elected job very seriously. Given my experience thus far, I can't really blame him.

The first parents were called up and had to go and sit in the defendents' table. Interesting. I felt like a hillbilly version of Law and Order. The judge read them their rights, told them that if they signed this form, they agreed to waive said rights and they should check the plea they wanted to enter: guilt, no contest, or not guilty.

This is where it got good. I feared I may been the only one to raise a bit of angst, but nooo. The first set of parents (note that BOTH of the parents were on THEIR form, unlike mine) beat me to it, and it took all I had me not to stand and applaud them. They said they were entering not guilty, and requested a trial. Woot! The judge stared. The principal (seated at the table for the state) had his jaw drop to the floor. I had to bite back giggles in the biggest way. Then the guy said: Is it trial by judge or jury? The judge said: Whichever you decided. The guy looked at the judge and said: Oh, definitely by jury.

Oh SLAM! Judge said: I'll send you the paperwork with it scheduled. You're done.

That man and his wife left. What a way to start the day! Hee!!

I was second to last. I got called and sat at the table and Brian sat down next to me (and everytime he sat down with me, he made sure to put a chair between us. Smart man.) The clerk brought me over the papers to sign (everything between the first guy and me had plead guilty - no way in God's green earth was I about to do THAT). I said, "Um, I have a few questions first."

Brian muttered, "Oh God, here we go."

I can't really blame him. Most know my attitude for the stuipd and ignorant and lack of common sense. I have very, very little patience, but I DO start out nice. Promise. I just go from Nice to Verbal Castration at the speed of light should the situation arise. I have at least two people who already told me they had bail money ready, and I had them on speed dial on the cell should I need it.

Judge said, "Go ahead."

Me: "One of his absences was 11/5/07, although he was there for part of the day, and still there at 10:30, so legally he was counted as there. However, we have the dental note stating he had proceedures done on that day. The two days after that date, the 6th and 7th, are two of the days in question as being unexcused."

Judge nodded, having the note in front of him.

I said, "I realize NOW that it has to be in writing, however, on the morning of the 6th, I walked in my son and my 7 yr old daughter and hand delivered the dental notes. Cooper was still dressed in PJs and I had him wrapped in a quilt. I sat him on the desk and the receptionists were all doting on him as he showed them the work done. I told them his mouth was sore from it all, and that I'd be keeping him home for the next couple of days."

Not only was the judge nodding, but so was Gaydar Principal. He'd been in there that morning. He remembered it.

I said, "In my world, I've expressed, as his parent, that he would be absent and the medical reason behind it. If it was an issue, one of the receptionists should have said, 'Here, jot me a note real fast for his folder', but she didn't do that, so I had no reason to believe there was an issue which would later land me in court. I'm requesting those that two days be reversed from unexcused to excused due to the circumstances."

Judge agreed. By law, by the State of Texas, he can do that. He had the school note the change. The school, however, has the right to still view it as four (not now two) unexcused absences. He asked the school if there had been any since, and Principal said, "No." Duh.

Another incident involved a note I DID sent with Cooper after an absence that the teacher never received. I'd sent that thing back with Cooper for DAYS, yet every afternoon, it was still there when I checked his folder. I told the judge that if I, as his parent, am expected to check that folder everyday for notes from his teacher, then that teacher should have the same expectation of her. That was our form of communication and I had the expectation that it worked both way. Judge agreed again. I got to stay nice, which was a little disappointing because I do so love a good verbal castration, but since he has Striped Prison Wear on his side, I guess I shouldn't press my luck.

I expressed my concern over all absences. Cooper missed 3 1/2 days last week during the Epilepy stuff, and I told the judge he'd be out Thursday of this week for pre-op and next Tuesday for his MRI, and of course, I'd have a note. He said that would be fine. I swear, he seemed as bored with it all as I was.

We still had "sanctions" levied on us. If Cooper has anymore unexcused absences, we'll be fined $187. I said not to worry: Since my verbal word wasn't good enough, and since notes sent with Cooper were often overlooked, I'd start sending the notes via mail, with delivery confirmation and signed return receipt required.

The judge smirked, I winked, and got up and left.

As I was leaving, the prosecution's table of the Truancy Officer of the district leaned over and whispered, "Hey, did you film the Constable serving you like you said you would? I want to watch it!"

I laughed and said, "No, I couldn't find my battery."

She seemed disappointed.

Apparently she hates the anti-climatic as much as I.


furry sound said...

A good story, and well written. I even learned a new word-gaydar! LOL

Another reason I love Texas. It's full of strong women who know right from wrong.

I was slightly worried that your strength might be lower than necessary, given the eyebrows were thinned beyond the manufacturer's specifications.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you did quite well there in court. It just goes to show how the school & judicial systems are screwed.. just like most other things... wasting perfectly good money on things that make no sense...

Dy said...

Being as I've had the occasion to WITNESS a verbal castration via Brenda (albeit online but still...) I'd say they lost out on a spectacle that would leave a lasting impression *smirk*

I'm proud of you girl!! Way to go...and BOOO on Brian for being a dick.

daionara said...

I too have a rather over functioning gaydar. Makes for cheap entertainment LOL.

You ROCKED the judicial system today my friend, good for you!

ChristineEldin said...

My sister is going through something similar with the schools in Pennsylvania.
It's very frustrating. But it seems like you're handling things well. I'm sorry for the stress you're under though. I just cannot believe you had to go to court for something like that!

Kat said...

Your attire was almost as good as Nate's tenant...he showed up in a sparkly white suit, completely with top hat and cane. Luckily, your court appearances ended on a positive note! (Not that you should've been summoned there in the first place!)