My daughter (10) went on a camp with her school for a week. The list of required items reminded parents that technological items were not allowed.
My daughter has an iPhone that I gave her when I changed providers and got a new iPhone. I like being able to maintain contact with her and she’s extremely responsible with her usage and the apps. I didn’t want her to take that to camp but no communication was not an option, so I got a cheap prepaid phone put it in her bag and told her to secretly text me each night that she was ok and to call in an emergency. She was nervous about breaking camp rules but i insisted that she might need it and wouldn’t get in trouble.
A few nights after she left she made the unusual decision to phone us quite late. Her friend was especially emotional and she didn’t know what to do. We (my husband and I) asked if they’d spoken to a teacher, they had but the response hadnt been very good. In the end we asked for the girl’s number and said we would speak to her mum. That seemed to placate her.
In the end it transpired that it was unusual for this girl to be so upset, and that the teachers had failed to adequately support her. At least she had been able to talk to her daughter.
Of course this issue brought the phone out into the open and a teacher confiscated it.
However, it later emerged this teacher’s own phone ran out of battery and she used my daughter’s phone because of an emergency situation. Which of course leaves me to say – thank god my daughter had the phone to provide in the first place.
OK, there were a catalogue of errors here where the teachers were concerned and I understand meetings are taking place over the coming weeks.
But I have to admit that I totally lost the plot when I was able to make contact with the teacher that took my daughter’s phone. I shouted down the phone that keeping it was tentamont to theft and I’d call the police! That I expected to be able to communicate with my daughter and he had no right to interfere with that. I was beyond livid. My husband was trying to get me to calm down. My entire body shook with rage.
I realise in retrospect that I went a little too far. Although I don’t believe over zealous teachers have the right to confiscate property unless it’s a weapon or something.
But my reality is, I know what it’s like to have no communication. To have no one there. Admittedly when I was young there weren’t mobile phones. But there are now. I want my daughter to have a voice, to have access, to have a fighting chance. To never feel alone or alone. I realise I can’t prevent that every single second of every single day. But I will try my hardest. I want my daughter to have a sense of safety.
If I hadn’t have heard from her. I would have called the camp. If I couldn’t get through, I would have driven down.
No one fought for me. No one picked me up. No one put me back together again. When I cried for help, no one came.
There has been no one in my darkest hours growing up.
I would walk through fire to stop any of daughters feeling that.
I don’t care who I piss off along the way.