Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: BeagleMommy on March 19, 2013, 01:42:51 PM

Title: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 19, 2013, 01:42:51 PM
I had a call last week from the husband of a former student.  Two years ago, she had been academically dismissed from our program because she was asked to leave two internships and, therefore, failed.  She tried to claim she needed special arrangements but had no official diagnosis or education plan that is required.  She fought the dismissal all the way to the vice president of the university, but it was upheld.  Her husband wants her to be readmitted (to pick up where she left off) because he doesn't feel she was treated fairly and she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

I explained that I could not tell him anything about his wife's academics because of federal law, but I would pull her file and have my director look at it.  Director said she could reapply but that was her only option.  When I spoke with the husband and explained this he said "That is not an option.  I'm paying a student loan and have not had any benefit.  You need to tell me what she can do to pick up where she left off."

Again and again I explained I was, legally, unable to give him any information even though she was his wife.  She had to contact the director or reapply.  He kept repeating that she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

Director said he will email the student.  Ugh!  He just couldn't seem to understand that no matter how often or how vehemently he asked I was unable to do what he wanted.  I have a feeling this is going to get messy.  I think I did okay, though.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: LeveeWoman on March 19, 2013, 02:07:06 PM
I had a call last week from the husband of a former student.  Two years ago, she had been academically dismissed from our program because she was asked to leave two internships and, therefore, failed.  She tried to claim she needed special arrangements but had no official diagnosis or education plan that is required.  She fought the dismissal all the way to the vice president of the university, but it was upheld.  Her husband wants her to be readmitted (to pick up where she left off) because he doesn't feel she was treated fairly and she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

I explained that I could not tell him anything about his wife's academics because of federal law, but I would pull her file and have my director look at it.  Director said she could reapply but that was her only option.  When I spoke with the husband and explained this he said "That is not an option.  I'm paying a student loan and have not had any benefit.  You need to tell me what she can do to pick up where she left off."

Again and again I explained I was, legally, unable to give him any information even though she was his wife.  She had to contact the director or reapply.  He kept repeating that she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

Director said he will email the student.  Ugh!  He just couldn't seem to understand that no matter how often or how vehemently he asked I was unable to do what he wanted.  I have a feeling this is going to get messy.  I think I did okay, though.

It sounds as if you dealt with him effectively. I'd say the same things to  him again if he calls back.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Sharnita on March 19, 2013, 02:14:04 PM
You handled it perfectly, although I'd be yempted to tell him you don't deal woth conflict either and he will need to wait until your father can call him back.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: weeblewobble on March 19, 2013, 02:22:51 PM
That's like the woman who attended pre-registration for kindergarten for her son the other night and tried to explain to the teacher (in front of the rest of the parents) that the teacher would have to let her son walk away from his desk and play at the fun centers whenever he felt like it, because he "didn't like to do worksheets unless he feels like doing them." They'd had major problems at the son's preschool with this issue.  So basically, the teacher has to wait until he is in the mood to do his classwork, but otherwise, has to let him break the class rules and do whatever he wants.  (While the other students follow the rules.)  The mom made it clear her son didn't have special needs, but they just raised him to "follow his instincts" when it comes to work.

DH and I walked out of the meeting and said, "Well, at least we know we won't be the problem parents next year."



 
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: weeblewobble on March 19, 2013, 02:23:26 PM
You handled it perfectly, although I'd be yempted to tell him you don't deal woth conflict either and he will need to wait until your father can call him back.

Sharnita.  I love you.  I just want to make that clear.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: LazyDaisy on March 19, 2013, 02:27:37 PM
That's like the woman who attended pre-registration for kindergarten for her son the other night and tried to explain to the teacher (in front of the rest of the parents) that the teacher would have to let her son walk away from his desk and play at the fun centers whenever he felt like it, because he "didn't like to do worksheets unless he feels like doing them." So basically, the teacher has to wait until he is in the mood to do his classwork, but otherwise, has to let him break the class rules and do whatever he wants.  (While the other students follow the rules.)  The mom made it clear her son didn't have special needs, but they just raised him to "follow his instincts" when it comes to work.

DH and I walked out of the meeting and said, "Well, at least we know we won't be the problem parents next year."

Isn't that the Montessori style of education? Sounds like she shares this philosophy and thinks that she can request this of a traditional school.

BeagleMommy I think you did fine. You have no ethical or legal right to give him any information. The communication and financial issues in his marriage are his problem to solve. He just wants to pass it off on to someone else.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: NyaChan on March 19, 2013, 02:46:29 PM
That's like the woman who attended pre-registration for kindergarten for her son the other night and tried to explain to the teacher (in front of the rest of the parents) that the teacher would have to let her son walk away from his desk and play at the fun centers whenever he felt like it, because he "didn't like to do worksheets unless he feels like doing them." So basically, the teacher has to wait until he is in the mood to do his classwork, but otherwise, has to let him break the class rules and do whatever he wants.  (While the other students follow the rules.)  The mom made it clear her son didn't have special needs, but they just raised him to "follow his instincts" when it comes to work.

DH and I walked out of the meeting and said, "Well, at least we know we won't be the problem parents next year."

Isn't that the Montessori style of education? Sounds like she shares this philosophy and thinks that she can request this of a traditional school.

BeagleMommy I think you did fine. You have no ethical or legal right to give him any information. The communication and financial issues in his marriage are his problem to solve. He just wants to pass it off on to someone else.

Not really.  I went to Montessori and while we did have freedom to go to different stations, it wasn't a free for all.  We still had class rules and the teachers did direct us.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: LazyDaisy on March 19, 2013, 02:52:44 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean the "do anything (or nothing) whenever you want" I was more referencing the "follow his instincts" when it comes to work phrase.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: weeblewobble on March 19, 2013, 02:58:00 PM
That's like the woman who attended pre-registration for kindergarten for her son the other night and tried to explain to the teacher (in front of the rest of the parents) that the teacher would have to let her son walk away from his desk and play at the fun centers whenever he felt like it, because he "didn't like to do worksheets unless he feels like doing them." So basically, the teacher has to wait until he is in the mood to do his classwork, but otherwise, has to let him break the class rules and do whatever he wants.  (While the other students follow the rules.)  The mom made it clear her son didn't have special needs, but they just raised him to "follow his instincts" when it comes to work.

DH and I walked out of the meeting and said, "Well, at least we know we won't be the problem parents next year."

Isn't that the Montessori style of education? Sounds like she shares this philosophy and thinks that she can request this of a traditional school.

BeagleMommy I think you did fine. You have no ethical or legal right to give him any information. The communication and financial issues in his marriage are his problem to solve. He just wants to pass it off on to someone else.

I don't think so.  She didn't mention a Montessori school approach, just that her son only worked when he felt like it.  Either way, the public school system isn't likely to accommodate her request.  Learning to follow rules and work when you're told are definitely core concepts you have to have down pat for upper grades.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 19, 2013, 03:02:06 PM
You handled it perfectly, although I'd be yempted to tell him you don't deal woth conflict either and he will need to wait until your father can call him back.

Sharnita.  I love you.  I just want to make that clear.

Me, too!
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: AnnaJ on March 19, 2013, 03:57:20 PM
Chant FERPA, FERPA, FERPA until he disappears...no?  If he calls again I'd likely tell him to Google Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and read it himself.  I've occasionally had parents contact me for information and just tend to direct them to the website if they have a problem with my refusal.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Giggity on March 19, 2013, 04:00:34 PM
Again and again I explained I was, legally, unable to give him any information even though she was his wife.  She had to contact the director or reapply.  He kept repeating that she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

"There's no conflict, sir, just a course of action she needs to follow that every student in her situation must do."
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: LazyDaisy on March 19, 2013, 04:10:44 PM
I took the conflict phrase to be an explanation for why she was asked to leave her internships and failed (and therefore why they should readmit her); there was conflict in her assignments that she couldn't deal with, not that there was a conflict about reapplying. Am I interpreting this incorrectly?
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: nuit93 on March 19, 2013, 04:15:09 PM
Wow...what a snowflake!
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: mmswm on March 19, 2013, 04:24:55 PM
I was an adjunct at a community college for a number of years.  I can totally understand where you're coming from.  I never had this issue with a spouse, but the number of helicopter parents that try to bully their way into getting information is truly astounding.

The title of your thread also reminded me of something I often times told the bankers I worked with when I was working in deposit operations research at a major bank.  Their customers would ask us to do things we simply could not do, due to federal law.  I was known to say something to the effect of "we really do love our customers, but not enough to break the law for them."
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Katana_Geldar on March 19, 2013, 04:43:38 PM
That's like the woman who attended pre-registration for kindergarten for her son the other night and tried to explain to the teacher (in front of the rest of the parents) that the teacher would have to let her son walk away from his desk and play at the fun centers whenever he felt like it, because he "didn't like to do worksheets unless he feels like doing them." So basically, the teacher has to wait until he is in the mood to do his classwork, but otherwise, has to let him break the class rules and do whatever he wants.  (While the other students follow the rules.)  The mom made it clear her son didn't have special needs, but they just raised him to "follow his instincts" when it comes to work.

DH and I walked out of the meeting and said, "Well, at least we know we won't be the problem parents next year."

Isn't that the Montessori style of education? Sounds like she shares this philosophy and thinks that she can request this of a traditional school.

BeagleMommy I think you did fine. You have no ethical or legal right to give him any information. The communication and financial issues in his marriage are his problem to solve. He just wants to pass it off on to someone else.

I don't think so.  She didn't mention a Montessori school approach, just that her son only worked when he felt like it.  Either way, the public school system isn't likely to accommodate her request.  Learning to follow rules and work when you're told are definitely core concepts you have to have down pat for upper grades.

I would go further and say life would be unable to accommodate their requests. I honestly wonder about the children of these SS parents when they're finally in the workplace.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: artk2002 on March 19, 2013, 04:44:53 PM
I took the conflict phrase to be an explanation for why she was asked to leave her internships and failed (and therefore why they should readmit her); there was conflict in her assignments that she couldn't deal with, not that there was a conflict about reapplying. Am I interpreting this incorrectly?

Not what I read at all. I read it as "She has no spine and refuses to speak up for herself (or I won't let her), so you have to deal with me and solve things the way that I want them solved -- so that she doesn't have to do anything herself." I read it that way because he delivered the "conflict" line in response to OP saying that she couldn't deal with him, rather that the student must deal directly with the school.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Firecat on March 19, 2013, 05:44:45 PM
I think you handled it beautifully, OP. Does your workplace have a page on the website that explains FERPA, or a handout on it that you could give him if when he turns up again? 
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 19, 2013, 06:06:11 PM
Since I work in the same field, I have experienced a few similar situations.

You did great, OP! "I'm afraid that is not possible" is perfect in this situation.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: DavidH on March 19, 2013, 06:18:19 PM
If she is really that shy or unable to deal with conflict, could they come in and discuss the options with you together?  That way she would be there, but he could be involved too.  I don't see it changing the result, but it might be another option.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: crella on March 19, 2013, 06:32:52 PM
I took the conflict phrase to be an explanation for why she was asked to leave her internships and failed (and therefore why they should readmit her); there was conflict in her assignments that she couldn't deal with, not that there was a conflict about reapplying. Am I interpreting this incorrectly?

I was thinking 'can't take constructive criticism' but I could be wrong.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: blarg314 on March 19, 2013, 07:30:07 PM

If the wife fought her dismissal up to the level of the university vice president, I suspect shyness isn't one of her problems. I suspect "doesn't deal with conflict" means "would act like an entitled jerk and screw up any chance of getting back in the program".

But I think you handled it well. A useful phrase for similar occurrences could be "I can't tell you that, it's against the law", repeated. That emphasizes that it's not you who is denying his request, it's legal requirements.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Minmom3 on March 19, 2013, 09:14:00 PM
I took the conflict phrase to be an explanation for why she was asked to leave her internships and failed (and therefore why they should readmit her); there was conflict in her assignments that she couldn't deal with, not that there was a conflict about reapplying. Am I interpreting this incorrectly?

I took it as a personal conflict 'on the job', with somebody there, that she didn't handle well, and thus was asked to leave, and thus was booted from the program.  Heh.  Wonder which of us was closest to correct...

Argh.  Can't type!
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Hillia on March 19, 2013, 10:03:29 PM
Casting my vote with the 'she can't handle conflict, that's why you have to talk to me and not her' camp.   I wonder if the wife is even that interested in returning to school; all we have is the husband's word for it that she wants to, and he's complaining that 'he' has a student loan debt and no education to show for it (i.e., he's not happy about her having a student loan but no degree).
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: kglory on March 20, 2013, 01:59:08 AM
Sounds to me like what the husband would really like is for the school to forgive the loan.  That's not how it works, but I bet it's his intent.

Especially since it's the husband calling and not even the wife -- and she is the one who failed two internships in the first place -- I wonder if the wife really wants to be in the program at all.   
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: that_one_girl on March 20, 2013, 06:29:24 AM
My family situation required me to leave during the middle of my first semester of Nursing school. After speaking with the Director of my Nursing program at length, I was extremely grateful that she said I could start the program over and that she would do her best to hold a spot for me in the next cycle.   
It sounds like the lady in your case is trying to play the system, and not being grateful for what options she is offered.   
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: bopper on March 20, 2013, 08:24:43 AM
This is a forum for professors I saw mentioned here on e-hell that also might be a good place to ask this question:

http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php?board=25.0
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 20, 2013, 11:38:33 AM
I suspect (although I have no proof) that the husband is upset at having to repay a student loan when she didn't complete the program.  The degree program she was in is for a field that you have to deal with some of the most difficult situations (i.e. poverty, mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.) so if she can't handle conflict she was in the wrong program.

Director contacted the student herself.  I don't know if there was a response.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: rashea on March 20, 2013, 01:33:55 PM
I'm not sure why you didn't suggest she fill out the form waiving FERPA so you could just talk to him. Sometimes, that's what's easiest for all involved.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 20, 2013, 01:46:00 PM
We don't allow the waiver at my school.

I had a similar situation earlier this term. A student had attended for two weeks, then withdrew from her classes and didn't feel it was fair for her to be charged for them. She had her boyfriend and parents call on her behalf.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: LazyDaisy on March 20, 2013, 01:50:56 PM
I don't think "discussing" it further is what he wants anyway FERPA or not. He just wants you to wave your hand and readmit her on the spot, and probably waive the requirement that she complete her internships too, because they were so difficult for her.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: WillyNilly on March 20, 2013, 02:07:18 PM
I'm a bit confused... but did you ever actually tell him you cannot disclosed information or that what he was asking for was a violation of a law?  Its not like everyone just magically knows.  I had never heard of FERPA before this thread and I'm in college currently have been consistently in and out at least every 3 years for the last 19 years. Its never been something that was mentioned to me (or based on this thread relevant to me) so I honestly had no idea there were laws about family doing things on behalf of students (I assumed school's had policies).

You might get through to him better if you were polite, firm and clear. Because the OP reads like you came across to him as just blowing him off - he might not understand the scope of what he's asking and that there are legal limits on what can be done, and that's why he's pushing.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Twik on March 20, 2013, 02:12:53 PM
I'm a bit confused... but did you ever actually tell him you cannot disclosed information or that what he was asking for was a violation of a law?  ... You might get through to him better if you were polite, firm and clear. Because the OP reads like you came across to him as just blowing him off - he might not understand the scope of what he's asking and that there are legal limits on what can be done, and that's why he's pushing.

From the OP: "Again and again I explained I was, legally, unable to give him any information even though she was his wife. " Sounds like she mentioned it repeatedly.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: WillyNilly on March 20, 2013, 02:19:19 PM
I'm a bit confused... but did you ever actually tell him you cannot disclosed information or that what he was asking for was a violation of a law?  ... You might get through to him better if you were polite, firm and clear. Because the OP reads like you came across to him as just blowing him off - he might not understand the scope of what he's asking and that there are legal limits on what can be done, and that's why he's pushing.

From the OP: "Again and again I explained I was, legally, unable to give him any information even though she was his wife. " Sounds like she mentioned it repeatedly.

I don't know how I missed that, sorry.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: magicdomino on March 20, 2013, 03:27:00 PM
Casting my vote with the 'she can't handle conflict, that's why you have to talk to me and not her' camp.   I wonder if the wife is even that interested in returning to school; all we have is the husband's word for it that she wants to, and he's complaining that 'he' has a student loan debt and no education to show for it (i.e., he's not happy about her having a student loan but no degree).

I'm wondering if the person that she really can't handle conflict with is her husband.  Whatever the circumstances, the OP handled it as well as is possible under the circumstances.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: scotcat60 on March 21, 2013, 06:31:11 AM
Her husband wants her to be readmitted (to pick up where she left off) because he doesn't feel she was treated fairly and she "doesn't deal with conflict at all".

Like other posters, I hear the husbands voice and not the wifes in this.  When I was working, I came up against a mother who moaned about the library issue rules for vacation loans, so I told her to write to the Chief Librarian, and take it up with him. Her daughter was standing beside her looking acutely embarrased. I checked with my boss later, he said he hadn't heard anything.

The OP has rightly contacted her Director, he's dealing with it, as is proper.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Winterlight on March 22, 2013, 08:06:27 AM
Casting my vote with the 'she can't handle conflict, that's why you have to talk to me and not her' camp.   I wonder if the wife is even that interested in returning to school; all we have is the husband's word for it that she wants to, and he's complaining that 'he' has a student loan debt and no education to show for it (i.e., he's not happy about her having a student loan but no degree).

I'm wondering if the person that she really can't handle conflict with is her husband.  Whatever the circumstances, the OP handled it as well as is possible under the circumstances.

Word. I'm guessing he's the motivating force here, and while I sympathize with the fact that paying for student loans on an uncompleted degree sucks, that's not the university's problem.
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: Mannerless on March 23, 2013, 09:06:14 PM
First "helicopter parents" now "helicopter spouses." ::)
Title: Re: I Cannot Violate Federal Law Because Your Wife is "Special"
Post by: kudeebee on March 24, 2013, 12:41:32 AM
First "helicopter parents" now "helicopter spouses." ::)

Where is a like button when you need it!