Letter: I don’t understand Kaneland policy

By on June 2, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, was the Kaneland High School Senior Athletic Awards Banquet. Unfortunately, the school did not plan to acknowledge all senior athletes invited—only those whose parents remembered to get their RSVPs in on time. Athletes whose parents forgot to get their RSVP’s in on time, like me, are just out of luck. I have been told we cannot attend the ceremony at all.

In trying to understand this policy, I’ve experienced the following, along with some questions.

I was told only the athlete’s whose parents RSVP for the banquet are given plaques by the school. Why aren’t all the senior athletes who met the criteria for being invited to the banquet, regardless of if they attend or not, given a plaque by the school for their athletic accomplishments? If cost is an issue, why not go with something cheaper?

Why were my calls/messages to the school athletic department, to see if I could still possibly sign up late, ignored and never responded to? I was told the athletic secretary was out sick all week. So does that mean no one checks messages then and tries to respond to them in somewhat of a timely manner? They just get ignored altogether?

I ended up stopping by the school on the third day of not getting a reply, in order to try to get an answer to my calls/messages—I was told no, we could not attend the banquet as we missed the RSVP deadline. In case anyone is curious, my first call was on the Tuesday after the Friday deadline, when I realized checking student announcements for the prior week, that I was late getting my RSVP in.

I was told the students were reminded the whole week before the deadline about getting this in. Yes, a very general reminder was announced at school to the students—the announcements are online for the week of May 9-13, if anyone wants to check. No names were listed as to who was late, so how would they know then who needed to follow up on this?

BTW, if your child has lunch during the time school announcements are made, they can not hear the announcements. My child is one who has lunch at this time. A school representative has at least acknowledged this is an issue at the school that they hear a lot of complaints on, and that the school knows it needs to address at some point.

It was implied to me by our athletic directory that this was the student’s fault for not getting the RSVP in on time. I disagree. The invite for the senior award banquet was mailed to the parents, and parents needed to send payment for their meal, along with sending in the RSVP, if they were attending. The parents should have gotten reminders on this, not just the students. This was my fault for not getting it in. I could explain the situation why, but really that isn’t the issue. I accept full responsibility for not getting it in on time.

But it does raise the question: Where were the reminders to the parents to get their RSVPs in on time?

I checked the parent newsletter on the website—there is a reference to the Senior Athletic Banquet—but no reminder to parents to get RSVP in, or that an RSVP is even required.

No notice is provided on the Kaneland High School home web page about any senior year-end activities, nor were any reminders listed of what is coming up/needs to be done by when, etc. If it’s there, it’s hidden well.

A sheet was sent home for “Senior: Year End Activities.” It mentions nothing about an RSVP to the Senior Banquet, just that an invite will be sent to those students who will be honored. It also states, “All students and family are encouraged to attend.”

Encouraged to attend—not from my experience. It’s been anything but encouraging.

The invite is brief, and the RSVP card that came with the invite is the size of a business card. There is no option for declining, so how would a student/family who had a conflicting school sports event know to send in a reply so that their student was able to receive a plaque? It was a business-card-size RSVP card that is easy to lose or accidentally toss, and there really wasn’t very clear on where the reply was supposed to be sent.

I tried to reach a compromise with the school, where my child would be allowed to attend the awards ceremony, walk across the stage, and at least be acknowledged for his accomplishments, with the understanding that no plaque would be presented and we wouldn’t take part in the meal (which is a buffet).

I was told no, we can not attend, as we didn’t get our RSVP in on time.

I have had friends offer us their tickets (which they weren’t going to use, but paid for) so we could attend the banquet and eat. Still, I have been told no, we cannot attend, as we didn’t get our RSVP in on time.

I admit I’m at a fault here, for not getting my RSVP in on time. But I also don’t feel like the school did a very good job either in trying to remind parents to get it in. I don’t like that they’ve blamed the students for not getting it in. I also don’t understand why the school is not willing to try to work something out, especially given how great a year in sports the school has had. The only reason I can figure out why they won’t try to work something out here is because of the plaque issue, and not everyone getting one. It makes the school look bad.

I’ve been told the school will look into possible changes for next year. I would hope so, but given I’ve heard this same issue talked about in previous years and nothing has changed, I really have my doubts.

All I can do at this point is make the issue known so that there is a greater chance it’ll get addressed for future years, and suggest some possible changes that might help.

The school has e-mail addresses for parents. It doesn’t cost anything to send an e-mail. Why couldn’t the parents have been reminded via e-mail that they still needed to get this RSVP in?

It would be nice if there was an option to sign up and have school announcements e-mailed to a parent or student, so that we didn’t have to try and find time to pull up the high school website and navigate to the appropriate web page to find out information our students have been told (but may or may not have heard).

It would be nice if major issues/changes for the day/week were updated and put in a flashing bulletin on the KHS home web page. Again, eliminate the need to navigate to the appropriate page to find the information, like game changes, game cancellations, items due, etc.

It would be nice if the school could figure out a way for parents/students to register for things, like this banquet, online. There are various venues available that provide this type of service, that are free.

Needless to say, we are not attending the banquet, as the school has made more than clear that we are not welcome to come under any circumstances. There are a handful of people, who know who they are, who have my gratitude and thanks in trying to help me get a change in place this year for all parents/students impacted by this same issue.

Lori Thorson
Sugar Grove

3 Comments

  1. whiskeymac

    June 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    You are complaining because you forgot to send in the RSVP? Of course, the school should have waited to make the plaques and order the food until your very special invitation was acknowledged. —– Way to teach personal responsibility.

  2. TJM

    June 2, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I applaud the school for establishing a rule and standing by it. Besides academics we need to teach that actions, or in this case inactions, have consequences. The school seemed to have done everything possible to make you aware of the policy and the consequences. You chose to not follow the policy and now want to complain about the consequences. I hope that both you and your son learn from your actions and can do better in the future. I am always surprised that people that understood what the rules are and that there are consequences are always the first ones to scream “unfair”
    Kudos to Kaneland HS please continue your educational direction.

  3. RM

    June 3, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    I knew about the Awards Banquet – even had it on the calendar. Didn’t even have anyone going. The difference between being a grownup and being a student is the ability to carry out responsibilities without being spoon-fed. Does your boss call you to get up in the morning to get ready for work? Mine doesn’t but I’m sure he’d be happy to discipline or terminate me if I didn’t show up. Perhaps you should have informed the school at the beginning of the season that you had special needs.