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A Mom Is Told She Can't Pick Her Daughter Up Early From School For An Appointment And Has To Go Through The Car Line Instead

Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
kids leaving school

Schools walk a fine line between serving as liaisons to parents and caregivers to students. Some of their rules may not make sense to parents, however, that doesn't necessarily mean their wrong. 

One mother questioned the legality of a rule at her daughter's school that prevented her from leaving early for an appointment. 

A mom from Florida shared that she has a daughter who is enrolled in a local charter school. She leveled an accusation against the school on Reddit, claiming the administration blocked her from taking her child to a medical appointment.

“My child was waitlisted for an important medical appointment,” the mother explained. “I was called [by] the provider last minute.”

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Naturally, the mother felt it was imperative to get her child to this doctor's appointment.

“I called the school prior to notify I was on the way to pick up my kid, but the line was busy as usual,” she said. However, things went far from smoothly when she arrived at the front office.

Mom Told She Can't Pick Up Daughter Early From School For AppointmentPhoto: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock

At about 2:13, the mom showed up at the school’s office to pick up her daughter, only to be told it was too late in the afternoon. “The rep at [the] front office started raising her voice when I was trying to explain the circumstances since she said I was too late to pick her up in the office,” she said.

The school claimed to have a strict rule about not allowing students to be picked up through the office after 2:00 p.m. They’re so serious about it that, according to the mom, they said it is "their law.”

The office staff was unwilling to help the mother in any way. “I was told to go through the car line instead which is the method to pick up children at the school,” she wrote. “The problem is the car line takes about 30-45 [minutes].”

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Unfortunately, as a result, her daughter “ended up losing the medical appointment.”

The mom also noted that her daughter's school has never been known for their kindness, writing "the staff are known for behaving very arrogant, cruel, cold and unprofessional towards parents."

After the incident, the mother posted to the subreddit r/AskLawyers, questioning if what happened was legal. As she put it, “Is it illegal for a child to be held by the school and not be given to their parent when they request it?"

Mom Told She Can't Pick Up Daughter Early From School For AppointmentPhoto: Caleb Oquendo / Pexels

Reddit users had differing opinions on whether the school's actions were fair.

“Every school my kids have attended has a rule that early check-outs were not allowed after a certain time — usually 15-30 [minutes] prior to dismissal,” one user wrote. “While I understand you’re frustrated … without this rule the front office would be inundated prior to dismissal with people who wanted to skip the pickup line.”

“Since it wasn’t an emergency, I see no reason why they should violate the rule just for you,” they continued. “The school wasn’t preventing you from picking up your child, just expecting you to follow the rules that everyone must follow.”

Meanwhile, another commenter highlighted the opposing side of the argument. “You are the parent and access to your child at any time for any reason is your right,” they said. “This is 100% unacceptable.”

It seems there is no clear legal answer to this problem. On the surface, it is an issue of what the administration will allow. However, that opens up questions about what exactly a parent’s rights are. In short, this is a nuanced issue that can’t easily be solved online.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.