Teachers around South Dakota commonly have their kids—not their students, but the children in their family—come to their classrooms after school. Like several other teachers, I did it occasionally in Spearfish. If my wife was away, our little one would ride the bus from West Elementary to Spearfish High School and come to my classroom while I finished work for the day. She'd look at books or color while I graded papers, typed up lesson plans, and helped students with homework. Instead of paying for her to sit in a noisy daycare for an hour, I could have her come sit in a relatively quiet educational environment under parental supervision. Having her come to my classroom also meant I could relax and stay at school to work longer than I would have if I were worried about leaving the moment the contract workday ended to retrieve her from paid daycare. You tell me which option makes more sense.
The Sioux Falls School District, however, is considering banning this practice. After extending the teachers' workday 30 minutes this year, Sioux Falls would further put the screws to its teachers under the guise of insurance liability. Superintendent Pam Homan sounds like she's inclined to spend more money on the more complicated solution of expanding the district's Kids Inc. after-school program, which currently operates only at some schools and would require teachers to pay for the care they can currently, safely, provide for free.
Lennox teacher Michael Larson says banning teachers' kids during work hours is counter-productive:
So you have a situation where no one is seems to really be complaining and it allows workers to stay longer.
I have two boys, very active boys, and they hang out with me when I am at school working from time to time. Usually they come in the evening when I will have debate practice with students, help with volleyball games, or do some extra work. The students on my debate team have a blast with the boys around. Now when they see them at games, the kids love to come up to them and say hi! Now Sioux Falls claims that the policy does not include time served at the building before 7:30 or after 4:00, but if the issue is liability then wouldn't a student in the building at 4:05 be just as big as a liability issue?
Even if Sioux Falls does put bogus fears of liability over decency and common sense, perhaps teachers can work around it. I assume other district students will still be free to come to teachers' rooms. The students who dropped by my French classroom at Spearfish weren't always French students. Sometimes debaters would bring questions about their cases. Sometimes students would bring English papers or college applications for me to proof. Sometimes they might just stop in looking for a quiet place to work.
Suppose a Sioux Falls teacher has her child in class. Suppose that child has a question about her homework. I can't imagine Sioux Falls could ban a teacher's child from seeking after-school homework assistance from her teacher while allowing other students to come for help. At that point, teacher moms and dads, you declare that your children are coming to your room as students, just as any other student in the district is authorized and encouraged to do, and the ban becomes unenforceable.
Having kids come to their classroom makes teachers' lives easier without costing the school district a penny. No one's education is harmed. Teachers' kids get to spend more time with their parents in a safe environment, and students may find their teachers more available after school. Sioux Falls School Board, stop looking for problems where there are none. Get off your teachers' backs and let them serve their own children and your students better.