Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who doesn't love paperwork?

I'm starting a new religion. Really. The Seattle Public Schools have pushed me to it. It's a long story, but I'll sum it up as best as I can. Several months ago I pre-registered my child for kindergarten. It wasn't something that gave us any priority in our school choice, nor did it simplify the application process. It was something the school district requested. It helps with their planning and cuts the paperwork at the deadline for applications. I'm a nice person, I play by the rules. I did it. Why not? I mean, who doesn't enjoy rushing around making copies of vital documents, rounding up past utility bills to prove we live at our address and hounding the pediatrician's office for our vaccination records. But I did it. Months before the deadline. And even managed to get the pre-registration in ahead of the deadline.
Fast forward several months. I'd toured schools. I'd ranked and rated. I'd weighed and balanced. Since Seattle offers "open choice" in the public schools, I'd spent hours of my time in the process selecting the right schools for my precious son. Imagine my surprise when we got our 6th choice. After my mini (ok, not so mini) meltdown subsided, I started my acceptance process. I talked to more people and became more ok with the school. No, it was not the perfect environment. No, it did not fill me with warm fuzzies. No, it did not seem to be an ideal fit. But I decided to accept and embrace the school. I was going to make it be ok. And for the past few months I've been brainwashing myself into believing this.
Fast forward a couple more months. A few days ago I got a notice in the mail, actually a "Pre-Exclusion Notice". Big Dog's vaccination record was not complete. He was not going to be allowed to start school unless I collected up the missing data. That would be easy, if we'd had only one pediatrician over the past 5 years. We have not. The information they wanted, the date of administration of each of the vaccinations, was not available. Also annoying, by registering Big Dog during the pre-registration period, I registered him prior to his 5 year vaccinations. So I called the district.
Turns out a lot of people got this same notice. People had checked off vaccinations without providing dates. People had children vaccinated after the deadline for paperwork. And yes, we were all being told we had to fix it. Even if we'd previously been told by office staff that it was fine to use a check mark and that the last vaccinations were fine. No big deal.
So I made a decision. No. I was not going to sift through the paperwork again. I was not going to call the pediatrician again to see if we could work out the dates. I was going to quit being good. I requested a Certificate of Exemption to Immunization Requirements. Turns out the parent who choose not to vaccinate get to sign one paper and be done with it. Parents who do vaccinate have to provide all of this detail to be allowed to send their child to school. It's like I'm living in bizarro world. So as of today, my fully vaccinated child has a Certificate of Exemption. I opted to use the Personal/Philosophical check box. My person/philosophical reason being I am sick of jumping through inane hoops. And if that isn't good enough I'll be starting a new religion. I'm thinking of calling it the Church of Stop Wasting My Time. Any takers?
Little update: The next day I caved. I called the pediatrician's office and spent too much time figuring out the dates. Yes, after a day of bravado, I caved. I guess I'm a good girl at heart. A foul-mouthed, snarky good girl, but a good girl none the less.


Draft Queen said...

The Church of Stop Wasting my Time?


We had to have our bus pass application in and paid for by June 27th. They cashed the check last week and my daughter got her bus pass the second day of school.


geekymummy said...

I was thinking that with my lengthy immigration file (with my favourite part, the section where you have to fill in each and every time you left the country and re-entered it with exact dates) I had completed enough form filling to last a lifetime. Guess I have public school applications to look forward to.

Beth said...

Oh, I always feel sorry for parents having to meet the state requirements for immunizations. And to add insult to injury, each state has their own freaking form.

Can't we all just get along?

Nicebloke said...

Wow, what a pain in the ass. Can't believe that you can get out of it with one check-box, that's pretty stupid.

I suppose the kids of those parents who choose to not vaccinate can come to school with small pox and diptheria and infect all the other kids whose parents decided that immunizations are a philosophical issue rather than a health one.

mamamilkers said...

We are selective vaxxes and I'm so greatful that we live in a state that doesn't make it difficult for us to do so. I found your story hilarious, because everything you write is hilarious, and my first thought was "just fill out an exemption!" lol

And I, too, say that SPS gave parents their "choice" of schools. Although we got the one we wanted (turns out the hippy art school in deep Ballard didn't have a big draw!) and then we promptly moved, so our daughter isn't going there, anyways. Oh! But we get to do the whole registration thing again net year! Yay! (crying on the inside)

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