Can a PTA President be impeached? If so, I heartily submit my nomination for the process.
I'm the PTA President at my kids' school.
I realize all the stereotypes that go along with this admission. Yes, I've heard the "Type-A Overachiever mother who doesn't have a real job" label. And, yes, I've heard the "Helicopter Parent who is over-involved with her children" label. When you tell people you are the PTA President, they jump to both of these conclusions, immediately.
That's not me and that's not our school. Almost 70% of the kids at our school are poor. And not in the "live in a small house and don't go out to eat much" way. We're talking the "get our groceries from the food pantry" kind of poor.
I have a feeling that at other schools, the PTA is doing a lot of extra stuff - more books for the library, teacher appreciation events - that kind of stuff. At our school, the PTA is making sure the kids have enough to eat. Our biggest budget line-items are paying for classroom snacks and field trips. There would be no field trips if the PTA couldn't pay for them.
So, you can imagine my delight when the State PTA group rejected my by-laws for the fourth time. (Yes, fourth time) The first three times, they rejected them because I took out their mention of "place of worship" in the list of places where our PTA "promotes children's welfare." I'm all for religion and go to church regularly. But I didn't think that was appropriate for a school group by-laws. After 3 rejections, I gave up and put it back in. (I cave easily.)
This time, they rejected them because I used the term "bi-monthly" in reference to our meetings. Someone there thought the term meant "twice a month." I sent them back the bitchiest email I've sent in a while with all the links I could find with the correct definition of "bi-monthly" (which does, in fact, mean "every other month.")
We are trying to be more inclusive with our meetings, which means getting translators for two different languages, serving a full meal to all attendees, and providing free babysitting for all the kids. It's not easy to do all of that. It's been a hell of a lot of work. I was almost shouting in my email, as I explained to our state PTA that we had finally successfully managed to get the non-English speaking, poor families to come to our meetings. Finally, our meetings are representative of our school population. Finally, we are building a real community - not just the same 10 parents who attend, over and over again. To me, this is an incredible success story for our school. It's taken three years to get here.
So, to get the by-laws rejected because of the term "bi-monthly" really was the knife of bureaucracy, turning in my heart.
See, I'm not the PTA President because I have unfulfilled career ambitions or am living my life through my children.
I'm the PTA President because when I asked my "Little Sister" today what she wanted for Christmas, she turned to me and answered quietly, "mittens, please." I looked at her closely, and saw that her hands, which had been tucked inside her jacket all afternoon, surely enough, did not have mittens on them.
I hadn't noticed.
It's 7 degrees here.
How did I not notice? Really, how in God's world did I not notice that she was walking around Wisconsin in December without mittens? But I didn't.
We turned the car around and went to Target immediately and I'm pleased to report that she is now completely decked out in hats, mittens and boots.
70% of my own children's school are of the same economic demographic as my "Little Sister." I certainly can't buy all of them mittens, but I can do my small part in other ways through everyone's favorite group....the dreaded PTA.
With or without operating by-laws....