An Interview With A Lamar High Parent

Norm Uhl, spokesperson for the Houston school district, sent out this e-mail blast today:

This week HISD launched Parent Student Connect, an online service that allows parents and students to check their grades, progress reports, attendance, report cards, etc. Before we launched it districtwide, we did a test run with parents at Lamar High School, so if you are interested in doing a story, we should be able to find you a parent who has used the system.

Hey, we thought to ourselves. We're a Lamar parent. And we haven't heard a damn thing about this system.

Sure, every teacher at Open House mentioned it would eventually be coming, but there was no talk of "test runs" or anything like that.

What's up, Norm?

"It was a limited trial over the summer," he said. "Was your student in summer school?"

Well, yes, he was. And we heard nothing about it.

We decided we had better interview ourselves.

Hair Balls: As a Lamar parent, you must have really enjoyed the exclusive test run of the new online system this summer.

Hair Balls: Online what now?

HB: Test run.

HB: Never heard of it.

HB: Are you trying to tell us that something happened at your kid's school and you were not aware of it? What kind of parent are you?

HB: Well, I --

HB: Surely, as a parent worthy of the name, you have raised a child who would keep you informed of every little thing that is happening in his life, right? And you would be in constant contact with school authorities about everything, right?

HB: Well, I --

HB: In fact, you should be blogging about your kid, with lots of pictures, like half of the Houston Chronicle staff does.

HB: But --

HB: Quick, what's the middle name of your kid's economics teacher?

HB: Middle name?

HB: You're pathetic. This interview is over.

Utterly despondent, cringing in embarrassment at having to admit to Uhl that no, we never did get word of this test run despite having a kid in Lamar's summer school, we asked for more info.

"You mean about how your kid was arrested this weekend for holding up a convenience store to feed his crack habit?" he didn't reply, thankfully.

Instead he said this: "I was wrong. The test run was teachers and administrators ONLY, to help us find potential bugs."

Our parental self-esteem survived, to live another day.

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