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Old 14.05.2011, 09:57
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Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Yesterday we received, the much awaited letter from the school board, with the placement of our 6year old daughter in Primary school.

Much to our shock, dissapointment, eventual anger, she has been place in a tiny school, 2.8km from our home. The 'school' has 1 class, 1 class consisting of 1-3 Grades, mixed.
She would have to walk to the center of the town, about 8mins (walk) from our home to take the school bus, which would drop her off and pick her up again.

Our flat is literally in the middle of 2 large schools, both are circa 700m in opposing directions. Both schools have Turnhalle, nature /music programmes - the tiny school has none of this. Its a bloody 4room house with a small playground/garden, out in the middle of the farms. WTF!!!!!

So we have 10days to write a dispute, with legitimate grounds as to why we would like to move her.

My daughter is somewhat introverted, shy, and already has problems with the fact that she is dark skinned. And as though it may seem a bit neurotic on my part I know that she will be extremely stressed with the knowledge that she has to be in a school in an area that is completely new for her and so far from home, not to mention the added stress of taking a school bus.
I had to accompany her to and from kindergarten for the first 18months. The teacher even asked me of there was some past trauma, because she would panic, if I was not waiting outside for her. Every night she asks me if I locked the front door. She even accompanys me into the wash room, downstairs.

Has anyone written such a dispute before, I am welcome to any suggestions.

Her Kindergarten teacher noticed that she was placed in the 'wrong' school, and did inquiry, but nothing was changed.
I know Swiss authorities, and how stubborn, and inhumane they can be. Rule are rules, and your kid can adapt, at whoevers expense, they dont give a sh*t as long as its not theirs!

Last edited by Panther; 14.05.2011 at 11:41.
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:25
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Friends told me what worked for them was to state how well you integrated as a family, list all the activities she does with her friends who she could go to the same class with if she goes to one of the local schools. Ask them to assist your family with integration, and as the reason, state that you want to her to continue friendships she started in creche/day care/whatever club she was immersed here before.
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:26
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

I had a similar issue : wrote a letter and an email to school Doyenne (don't know what it is called in German) and requested her for a meeting. She was very kind and agreed to meet me. During the meeting, I told her the reasons why I wanted my daughter to shift from school A to school B. She mentioned that they can't put more than 22 students in one class so my daughter's name can't be added to class in school B. Although I was disappointed with her answer, I requested her to inform me in case anyone leaves the class until December. I waited and waited for the news from them, just a week before the school reopened I received an email and a letter stating that they have considered my request and my daughter will now attend school B. So, write down all the reasons and discuss all the options you want them to consider.
Good luck.
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:30
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Hi Pather

Wow - what a start into the weekend.

I did the following for one of my neighbors.

1. Ask the placing authorities for an explanation.
2. Definitely use this 10 days period to form an argument
3. As reasons you might state aspects like age, traveling time, familiar surrounding
4. And most important: friends! Make them clear that ALL her friends are going to the other school. Socio-cultural integration is currently all the rage here.
5. Also tell them, that the current placement will leave her with a distance to the family as well as her current social environment with friends.
6. It could also be a simple mistake from the placing people, but it might be that they deliberately choose to do so, because you are an "Auslaender" People are sort of extremely narrow minded in villages here !!!

Good luck
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:31
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Friends told me what worked for them was to state how well you integrated as a family, list all the activities she does with her friends who she could go to the same class with if she goes to one of the local schools. Ask them to assist your family with integration, and as the reason, state that you want to her to continue friendships she started in creche/day care/whatever club she was immersed here before.
Okay, so continuing friendships would be regarded as valid grounds, good to know. Because she was looking forward to joining the kids from her Kindergarten, who have already started school.

D you think that mentioning her fears would be a good idea, or over dramatic?
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:34
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Okay, so continuing friendships would be regarded as valid grounds, good to know. Because she was looking forward to joining the kids from her Kindergarten, who have already started school.
Yes,as mentioned by MusicChick and armandair, they do consider this a very valid point...I used it too.
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:35
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Try to find out why she was moved to another school. Some elementary schools have a policy to accept only Swiss and C children, not other foreigners. I would love to see someone sue them for such discrimination.
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Old 14.05.2011, 10:50
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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D you think that mentioning her fears would be a good idea, or over dramatic?
Not sure I would mention her fears initially. It might actually backfire on you as they could think she would find it less intimidating in the small school where there are fewer children.

Last edited by economisto; 14.05.2011 at 12:04. Reason: fixed quote tags
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Old 14.05.2011, 11:21
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

yeah, thats what i thought too, though this school is only until the 3rd Grade, thereafter she has to integrate into one of the larger schools near us.

Can you imagine the shock, after 3years in a 1 room school, and thereafter a school with 300 kids? the playground will be completely different, not to mention the mobbing issues.......

My hubby and I will start drafting the letter today, and have it sent off Monday.
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Old 14.05.2011, 11:23
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Try to find out why she was moved to another school. Some elementary schools have a policy to accept only Swiss and C children, not other foreigners. I would love to see someone sue them for such discrimination.
you cant be serious?? you know our Gemeinde president is a SVP member
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Old 14.05.2011, 11:31
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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I know Swiss authorities, and how stubborn, and inhumane they can be. Rule are rules, and your kid can adapt, at whoevers expense, they dont give a sh*t as long as its not theirs!
Having children myself and having had to argue with school authorities I know what you are going through and I hope that things work out in the end.

On the whole I have found the Swiss authorities to be fairly pragmatic and willing to listen to sound reasoning. I would certainly lose the attitude though otherwise you will find that they can be more stubborn than any mule....
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Old 14.05.2011, 11:40
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Having children myself and having had to argue with school authorities I know what you are going through and I hope that things work out in the end.

On the whole I have found the Swiss authorities to be fairly pragmatic and willing to listen to sound reasoning. I would certainly lose the attitude though otherwise you will find that they can be more stubborn than any mule....

Dont worry, I reserve my attitude only for the EF

I can be very diplomatic, catch more flies with honey than vinegar concept..... I dont know why but I have a terrible feeling that they will reject our dispute.....maybe it's the neurotic mom bit.......or the fact that I have never had a positive experience with Swiss authorities as yet
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Old 14.05.2011, 11:52
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Dont worry, I reserve my attitude only for the EF

I can be very diplomatic, catch more flies with honey than vinegar concept..... I dont know why but I have a terrible feeling that they will reject our dispute.....maybe it's the neurotic mom bit.......or the fact that I have never had a positive experience with Swiss authorities as yet
I understand your frustration and would feel the same way as you. Write your letter, hope for the best but if your wishes are denied, try to make the new school as positive as possible for your daughter. She'll survive it and may even like it.
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:00
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Don't assume that they hate you. The fact that they send your little one to a small school for a couple of years might on the contrary be a gesture to facilitate her integration and smoothen the transition, as she will go the bigger school with all the others from that smaller school. Some parents would make a big fuzz to have their kids in a small schools, you have other reasons not to take that offer. It's fine but it's not necessarily a racist conspiracy.

Don't forget to thank them for the idea of the small school that can be beneficial for integration of some children, and then make your argument for your choice of the closer big schools.

But that may be just me...
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:06
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Just a thought: perhaps, with your daughters specific fears and insecurities, the tiny school might be better for her? Also, have you thought of getting her counselling?
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:06
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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may even like it.
It's not about liking the school, but about "The 'school' has 1 class, 1 class consisting of 1-3 Grades, mixed." and the resulting poor education in comparison to pupils in normal schools.
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:12
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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It's not about liking the school, but about "The 'school' has 1 class, 1 class consisting of 1-3 Grades, mixed." and the resulting poor education in comparison to pupils in normal schools.
You can't write just a definitive judgement like that. May be it is the worse class ever, or maybe it's a small paradise for specific needs and the nicest learning atmosphere with a miracle of differenciation and one-to-one close follow up of pupils' developpment.

It can really be either way. One has to go their and speak to the teacher, other parents. There are small islands in northern Germany fighting to keep exactly that kind of classes because they get the best education that way. I know of a couple of romansh schools like that too in Higher Engadin. They wouldn't give that up for anything in the world.

I am sure that one can find horrible one-class schools too. I do not argue that. I just argue the generalization.
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:17
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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It's not about liking the school, but about "The 'school' has 1 class, 1 class consisting of 1-3 Grades, mixed." and the resulting poor education in comparison to pupils in normal schools.

Not only poor education, its the lack of OPPORTUNITY
- to socialise with kids on a wider scale - background / cultures / not to be the odd one - with reference to the fact that she is not blonde and blue eyed
- to participate in programs
- have a decent exercise hall, which is equipped ( I dare not imagine where they would exercise in the this school)
- to be able to walk to school
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Old 14.05.2011, 12:30
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

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Not only poor education, its the lack of OPPORTUNITY
- to socialise with kids on a wider scale - background / cultures / not to be the odd one - with reference to the fact that she is not blonde and blue eyed
- to participate in programs
- have a decent exercise hall, which is equipped ( I dare not imagine where they would exercise in the this school)
- to be able to walk to school
My child enjoyed her mixed class. The teacher did a good job and I don't think she really missed out on much.

Schools have requirements and I'm sure this small school still needs to fulfill them.

Again, it might not be as bad as you fear.
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Old 14.05.2011, 13:50
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Re: Writing a dispute to the School board - placement of Primary school

Pather, do you work? The reason might be if you don't, they might be counting on you driving her to school. I have met people, who's stereotype of foreign mom was the one with cash, housewife with ton of free time and a large SUV to drive her kiddo to school. I would definitely point out all the reasons, be super matter of fact, and repeat integration, kid having important bonds which is about to change, etc. Another thing is, they might think she does not speak German, the other school might have a special program to suit foreign kids better, tutoring, extra staff, etc. I'd be persistent, mention your family being equal part of local community, and be ready to prove it, list the bonds, friendships, her friends helping her be part of the community,etc. But, most of all, be super nice. Not a trace of frustration or sarcasm.
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