Those of us with school-age children will appreciate how much of a hassle the seemingly endless stream of permission forms and slips can be during the school year. Excursions and field trips, free-dress days, swimming carnivals, sports meets and anything else that may be even the tiniest bit out of the ordinary will usually call on a guardian’s signature to give the OK.
Those on the other end of the stick – the teachers – will realise, although this can sometimes be an annoyance to already time-poor parents, the problems that can crop up from not properly informing them of school activities can cause major headaches and even legal trouble down the track.
When it comes down to it, most parents want to know what’s happening with their child during the hours they’re not around. Informed consent is important for any activity that might put your child in an unfamiliar situation or those which parents may want to know about.
And, although some permission forms have caused concern for parents, like one that asked for blanket permission to allow a school to publish photos of their child online, most are routine and innocuous, acting only to inform parents and get their seal of approval.
However, occasionally schools can miss the mark. A permission slip for parents of sixth graders in the US that asked consent for their child to eat a single Oreo biscuit stirred up an epic online battle that divided people into camps of the overprotective versus the free-range. Like all online debates, there were no winners, and we’re not sure how many kids were denied their chocolatey treat.
Even a form which is borne from good intentions can come across as loony. Here are some of our recent favourites:
- This confusing permission slip, which didn’t really give parents (or kids) much of a choice when it came to attending a fun-filled field trip;
- A worrying form that had parents concerned about the quality of education their kids were receiving;
- A baffling example of parental logic that gets more painful the more you think about;
- A blow-by-blow run-down of a PG film’s more risqué moments (yes, PG);
- An April Fool’s permission slip for a field trip to outer space;
- This form that makes a day in the park seem like a horror movie; and
- This dad’s novel take on a permission form, an application for permission to date his daughter.
As mad as some of these may seem, let’s spare a thought for the poor teachers who have been pushed so far they thought their crazy form was necessary. That’s right, if they’re wanting the OK to go ahead and screen a kids movie to kids, offer a cookie in class or let your child get in touch with nature, there’s a good chance they’re doing so because someone complained about it in the past!
We’ve even seen how poorly communicated information can threaten school excursions and why these kinds of activities are important, especially for students, so let’s not let a few loony forms ruin everyone’s fun.
ParentPaperwork takes the craziness out of administering permission slips. Click here for more information.