My 5th grader's teacher called me today to see if I could step in as a chaperone on a field trip they'll be taking tomorrow. Unfortunately, I can't be a chaperone because I don't have the necessary clearances.
My children will be in this particular school system for exactly one school year. So when I looked at the packet of paperwork when they enrolled and saw that I would need a background check and clearance in order to chaperone students on field trips, I chose to not bother with that particular paperwork. It wasn't the background check, per se, that bothered me. It was the part on the form that wanted me to list EVERY. ADDRESS. I had resided in since 1975. Um. No. Even if I were inclined to provide that information, I can't. In 1975, I was an Army brat living in Asia. Between then and graduating high school, I lived in another 2 countries, including 2 states and had a minimum of 6 address, only one of which I can remember (only because my mother still lives there!). And after high school? Multiple dorm rooms, apartments, and then I married a Marine. Don't get me started on how many addresses we've had since then!
Granted, I know some parents simply provided a handful addresses and called it a day. As far as I know, they weren't penalized for it and were still granted clearance. I guess I could've done that had I thought of it. But the bigger point for me is this: this particular school system gets a large influx of military kids every year who they KNOW will only be here for this one year. They KNOW these are military families who MOVE all the time. Just maybe the forms need to be revised to reflect this reality. Or maybe they just need to be updated since they've obviously been using the same form for some time now. Seriously, people, 1975?! Some of you were probably not even born then. If so, don't tell me. I'll just feel old.
Recently, Stretch and I decided that we should go ahead and get the kids passports. There's a question on the form that asks if the address provided is their permanent address. What's that?! Again, we are at this address for one year (technically, it's even less than that!). The closest thing to a permanent address is to provide a grand-parent's address. But it's not ours.
And remember when Airforcewife addressed the question of her husband's residence?
Have you ever tried filling out paperwork for yourself or your children and been struck with the thought that these questions were not drafted with military families in mind?