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Parent Teacher Conference Continued

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

DH did as the principal had requested and tried to come to a day/time with BM. First of all, BM basically doesn't believe BM that the school is requiring it to be one conference. Second of all, BM is basing her entire availability around the availability of her husband and won't budge from the one date and time that he is available for the parent teacher conference. So now DH emailed the principal and shared that he tried to come to a different day/time arrangement with BM and that BM will not budge from her husband's availability for a different day/time that works for BM and DH. He asked the principal what the solution was from there since a compromise is unable to be met. 


ndc's picture

How difficult will it be for DH to adjust his work schedule to make the conference time that works for BM and her husband? At this point that's what I would try to do.  The inability of DH and BM to agree on a time that's convenient for both shouldn't be the school's problem (although they'd probably spend less time giving your DH his own conference than they will going back and forth about scheduling).  From the school's perspective, it's more critical to meet with the parent on the ground who is with SD day in and day out rather than the one 3 time zones away. They don't know the history and likely don't care.  He'll probably have better relationships with the school and its administrators if he's viewed as the reasonable parent rather than a PITA about scheduling. 

ESMOD's picture

I agree.. he can't ask them to figure out a solution.. he could suggest a solution of a 2nd conference with just him at another time.. but it's not the school's problem to resolve his inability to be available during their working hours (working around teaching time and other administrative requirements).

It really doesn't seem to be completely unreasonable for him to ask his work if he can take a break to be on this call... unless he is literally an airline pilot or some other job where he is unable to get cell service.. if it means adjusting his work schedule.. then so be it.

The school can't make BM agree to another time.  She isn't going to do it.. so he should ask directly if there is a possiblity of him having a separate call with the school..

BUT.. BUT.. and a big BUT.. he needs to realize that if he makes this demand/ask.. he is putting himself in the "PITA PARENT" category.. so if there is any way he can make this work.. he needs to try to do it.

Is it fair that he can't be involved very much? well.. that's part of the downside of moving so far from his child.. he has to take the good with the bad and make the best of his situation.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

BM was moving far from DH, there was no winning unless DH decided to just follow BM everywhere she wants to go.

That was also our initial request was to have a separate conference because of scheduling conflicts and each time he is told that he needs to talk to BM and find a day/time that they are both available. BM will not pick any date or time other than the one she already gave the school because her husband is busy any other time.

la_dulce_vida's picture

What does her husband's schedule have to do with anything? He's not the parent.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

That's all I am saying. It's not like BM is saying this is only when I am available, no she is saying "Step dad does not have days off," "That is the only time step dad is available," etc. She is basing the parent teacher conference for SD 100% off only step dad's availability

ESMOD's picture

The school isn't allowing the stepfather's schedule to dictate the time.... BM is.  Since she is the resident parent.. the one that primarily is on the ground with the child during the school year.. they are looking to her availability first.. they aren't going to referee with your DH and his EX.  

BM is only making herself available when her current SO is available... so.. that's the time the school is using .. not because they want to accomodate the SF.. but because BM is holding that out as the only time SHE can make it (they don't care why she is saying that).  

If they have told him they won't do two conferences.. he needs to join on the one they have scheduled.. or rely (lmao.. haha.. ) on BM to give him an overview of what happened on the call.. ask her to upload any relevant documents to the family wizard.

I don't know that the school is obligated to do more than one conference.. I dont' think they are.. and while it would be nice to accomodate all the situations where multiple bio parents ask for separate meetings.. They have drawn a line in the sand.. we do ONE meeting.. and they are basing it off of the primary parent's availability (that her reason is the SF is irrelevant to the school).. so DH needs to make it work if he wants to be on the conference call.  

Does that mean he is defacto getting somewhat boxed out? well.. he is the NCP.. not the primary parent while the child is in school.. logic would dictate that the primary education parent is the one on the conference.. since she is the one dealing with the child during school.  I know you all made a move fairly far from the chilld.. not sure if BM's moves have been similar.. and no.. you don't have to follow her around.. but being in the same time zone would be easier I'm sure.. but you had other reasons the move worked for you.

At this point.. he needs to attend the meeting they have set.. even if it means he clocks out for an hour to do it.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

driving from where we all lived originally. So it wouldn't of made a difference if we stayed put or not. 

It isn't so easy about clocking out for a break or an hour or whatever other people can do, DH would have to take a half day to accomodate for a 15 minute meeting, in the middle of his work day.

ndc's picture

He's not the parent, but for all we know he's the adult in the house who supervises homework, deals with school matters, etc. Obviously stepparents don't have rights, but before BM remarried and went back to being a SAHM, I was the one who did all the school stuff with my SDs. A conference without me there would have been a waste of time, even though I wasn't the parent. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

But from BM's own mouth "stepdad barely exists" between going to college and his job, he is rarely home ...

ndc's picture

Well, your BM doesn't seem to have a close relationship with the truth, so who knows? Probably she needs him for moral support because between her two kids, neither of whose education she seems to care much about,  she'll probably be feeling judged by the teachers.  

advice.only2's picture

Unfortunately your DH is probably going to have to concede and just go when the principle has the meeting scheduled.  At this point DH is the NCP, as well as lives states away, while the school probably is empathetic to his plight, they probably feel this is a waste of valuable time to keep going back and forth on the issue.  For future conferences DH might want to just schedule his own time with the teacher via teleconference and allow BM to schedule hers separately.

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

Dh even asked the teacher if there was ANY morning anytime that a phone conference could take place. He explained he has gotten us at 4 am our time to be a part of conferences and meetings in the past. Then got the same response that he and BM will need to discuss and come up with a date/time they are both available. 

Winterglow's picture

Sounds like the only solution is to wait until BM sets her time and then do whatever he needs to to comply (without letting BM know, of course). Leave all negotiations on the sideline and just be there.

This isn't about winning or losing, it's about being there and doing what's right.

Winterglow's picture

Just a thought, can he delegate to you if he can't be there? She might be more willing to compromise if she thought she'd have you there.



NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

we are trying to get it so DH could attend the parent teacher conference for his daughter without having to take a half day because that is when BM's DH is available. 

Haha, I have not thought of that, but I imagine he could.

advice.only2's picture

Ahh got it, sounds like this teacher just wants one and done and not screw around with multiple.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

At my kid's school, they have designated conference days, but a parent can also request one at any time due to a concern. I wonder of that is an option. On these scheduled mass conference days, the teachers' schedules are tight. Having 2 per kid may not be possible so maybe they do have that rule. But, what if your DH waits a few weeks then emails the teacher or calls the office about a concern, and schedules a separate one? Let this chaos cool down a bit, then request one. Say it's about her attention span, or her reading vocabulary, or anything really. They may not be able to refuse. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

Dh literally already emailed the teacher and said the conference could happen any day any time just if it could start before 10 am their time but he is available and willing to get up at 4 am if he has to and already has to have a conference about SD

notsurehowtodeal's picture

This is what I was going to suggest. Wait a couple of weeks and ask the teacher for a phone call. DH can say he wants to talk about the extra tutoring you did over the summer to see if it helped. Or come up with some other specific reason for the call. He can then find out everything he needs to know. It may not be right, the fact is that he either needs to take off work and get on the scheduled call, or figure out a work around. With HCBM's work arounds often end up being better anyway.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Yeah. If they have a dedicated conference day with only one per student, and the parents don't agree on a time, they are going to go with the CP's time. It sounds like BM wants to make it so DH can't attend, so whatever time DH can do it, BM will say she can't. I think requesting one in a few weeks is the best bet. TBH, after several days of conference after conference after conference, the teacher likely won't be at their best anyway. I bet the kids all start to run together in their minds. With a separate one, DH will have the teacher's undivided attention. No BM in the way and no tight schedule. 

Livingoutloud's picture

Parent teacher conferences are a waste. Short. Not a good time to discuss anything. Dad could schedule either virtual meeting or a phone call to discuss SD's progress. It doesn't need to be during conferences. Any other days and times. I'd suggest that. Schools can't schedule two conferences because it's one time slot per student (with a high divorce rate they'd have to schedule ton of double meetings, which is unreasonable), but teacher would have a conversation with dad at a different time. 

Harry's picture

Four date and times he's available for Said conference.  I.E. Monday at 9 am. or 3 pm. Tuesday at X or Y.  And let the school who are insisting on one conference to deal with this.  Or better still then have a lawer send a letter to school you are going to take legal action against them for violating his parents rughts ..  Sideing with BM.  

notarelative's picture

Non custodial parents have FERPA rights, but

...FERPA does not address conferences for the purpose of discussing student performance. Thus, a school has no obligation under this law to arrange a conference to accommodate the non-custodial parent. However, if records of conferences are maintained, the non-custodial parent has the right to see those records.

Livingoutloud's picture

Parental rights don't include separate conferences. Statistically 50% of first marriages end in divorce. It's a lot of separate conferences to conduct. It doesn't fit in 24 day window. Violation would be refusing to send records etc No lawyer would take on a case like this.

ESMOD's picture

I think he would be calling in in some fashion... he isn't going in person.  But to be available for the call.. it apparently isn't possible for him to step away from his work for just the few minutes of the conference.. he will have to take a half day of his PTO to do it. 


In the end.. if he wants to attend to ask questions.. he will need to meet the school's meeting time.  Even though it is a time that isn't favorable to him..even if he has had to get up super early in the past for other meetings.. even though he knows BM's reason for the time is so her SO can attend with her.  At this point it is what it is.. and if he wants to be on the conference.. he has to do it when they are offering.  The school offered to change if he and BM could agree on a different time.. they can't.. and the school isn't inclined to step in the middle here and barter some agreement for them.. so they are sticking to the currrent appointment time that aligns with the CP's schedule needs.


What i can suggest for future reference.

1.  Don't be the first to throw out your availability or unavailability.  Let BM propose her availability first then select one of her times.  If he gives his first.. BM can simply claim none of it works for her... 

2.  If he doesn't attend, he should ask for a record of the meeting (summary in writing.. or recording.. whatever they can produce).  Then, if there is anything specifically troubling he hears from the meeting, he can send follow up questions to the teacher.  He can ask for a follow up conference.. he can send questions in writing for the teacher to answer.

3.  He can also provide the teacher a list of questions and concerns in writing now.. and she may be willing to respond to him. (but she will likely be oblligated to share that with his EX.. BM.. so keep that in mind).

It's unfortunate that he is in this position, but it's clear the school isn't going to get in the middle or take his side in any way here.. they have no way of forcing BM to be more cooperative or force her to meet him in some middle ground.. they are going to deal with her as the CP.. even if she is a crappy one.