Dear Barb-Ten Minutes and Ten Pins

Dear Barb:

I have three young boys in public school.  We live in a rural community in Ontario.  Yesterday morning I received a phone call from the principal at my children’s school because my son had arrived at school at 8:50 am rather than 9:00 am.  Ten minutes! I was enraged! I have had several clashes with this principal, and at first I thought he had it out for me because I don’t fit the conventional mold of a typical mom: I am a tattoo artist and understandably I have many tattoos.  I don’t have a problem with people looking at me, but I do have a problem with people judging me.  But when I talked to other mothers I learned they also had received a call.  I find this ridiculous.  How are we supposed to be sure that our children arrive at school at exactly at 9:00 am? My sons are like all boys and dawdle on the way to school, so I send them a little early so they won’t be late.  Also, my kids play in the school yard when it is not school time, as I believe the school yard is considered public use area, as is a park, so why can’t they be in the yard at 8:50.  The school is not explaining why this is their policy.  We are not sure what to do or who to speak to about this.  Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, Melinda. 

Hi Melinda:

Good question.  This seems to be an overreaction, unless it’s an insurance issue.  I think the key to this whole dilemma is for you to find out more about this policy and who implemented it and what their justification is.  Have you attempted to discuss this with the teacher, vice principal, or principal? If you have and nothing was resolved, then you may want to contact your school board and speak to a board official or the school superintendent.  If you have still not been able to receive a satisfactory understanding or resolution, then you may want to contact the Ontario Ombudsman at 1-800-263-1830 or email at  The office of the Ombudsman is used as a last resort.  As well you can access their online complain form from the following website:

Good luck Melinda.

Dear Barb:

Hi! Every year around this time me and a couple of girlfriends take our children for a bowling day.  Last week I put a post on Facebook about the date and time and tagged my other two girlfriends.  Another friend noticed the post and replied that she will be joining us.  No one really wants her to come, but we don’t want to hurt her feelings either.  What is the best way to handle this situation?  Thanks Tamara.

Hey Tamara:

There really is only one thing you can do.  Be honest with your friend.  Tell her this is a yearly event that you and these other friends do together with your children and that you hope she is not offended, and then leave it at that.  Thanks Tamara, hope I was helpful.

%d bloggers like this: