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Ballet Talk for Dancers

SI supervision and discipline issues


Avalon

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Good Morning,

 

I am hoping I might get some helpful advice with this situation, as I am experiencing the SI for the first time. I will also need to be fairly limited in what I say out of concern for the privacy of those involved. DK has been at SI since Sunday and there has been nothing but drama, resulting in late night phone calls (unfortunately not of the sort of the previous "teary eyed" thread.) To summarize, it appears that much of the drama results from completely absent supervision. A recent event involved dancers being together in one another's rooms (mixed genders) from midnight until 5 a.m. Another incident involved a dancer having what she claimed was an acute psychiatric crisis in the middle of the night and needing the "company" of another dancer (again, mixed genders) for several hours. This dancer was then "unable" to take class the next day, and others danced poorly due to lack of sleep. When I inquired of DK where the RA's were in these episodes, I was informed that the dancers had been told by the RA's that they could be out of their rooms, and in each others' rooms as long as they were quiet, after the established curfew, even though dancers signed a contract to uphold the curfew rules.

 

I am frustrated beyond words. Of course I understand that DK's involvement in some of these infractions represents deplorable lack of judgement and that some of the responsibility is squarely placed on DK, but am I wrong to think that if my child signed a list of rules, and I as a parent felt comfortable with these rules, that there would be some effort to enforce them by the SI staff?

 

My husband, my other child, and I sacrificed so very much to make this happen for DK and I am now seeing that there is a good chance DK will not be maximizing this opportunity. I feel responsible in part for not finding out more about supervisory issues before we chose this SI, and again, DK has some real culpability, which I recognize fully and am addressing parent-to-teen.

 

Has anyone faced anything like this, and how would you advise me to proceed?

 

Warmest thanks.

 

Avalon

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The administration needs to know that this RA is turning a blind eye. Just as teens can pull one over on parents, they can more easily pull one on other busy adults who don't know them. Those busy administrators are counting on the RAs to be their eyes and ears. Rat that RA out!

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Without any question, I second vicarious' suggestion. This is absolutely, definitely, without any doubt a COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE situation, and while your DK does need to wise up and learn to walk away from these nighttime group encounters, I think it's understandable that she/he would not at first know how to handle it. However, since you now know about it, which will possibly put your DK in the unfortunate position to be known as the tattle-tale, you have a responsibility to report it at least to the RA,and if things don't improve, to the administrators of the program. Perhaps you can tell the RA that you have heard about these goings-on, and tell her/him that if there is not more supervision, and an enforcement of the curfew rules as set up in the contract, you will have to go above her/his head. God forbid anything happens to this DK with the psychologica problems...Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

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Wow! Thanks for being so candid and posting this. Unfortunately, we had a similar experience last year - though not nearly this bad. But we didn't find out about it until after the fact, as in at the end of the SI. Some of it didn't even become clearer until a few months ago. I was pretty appalled at what I heard. My DS told me I was naive.

 

I don't think you are unreasonabe in expecting that policies, rules, regulations, etc., be upheld by the RAs - or followed by the students. Certainly students should be held accountable, but so should the RAs. They have a responsibility to our children, even if our children are young teens and viewed as being old enough to look out for themselves. They aren't. They still need guidance and RAs should be of a high enough quality to serve as role-models. To condone what you're talking about sends the message that it's OK to break the rules as long as you don't get caught.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is so very helpful to know that I am not alone, and that I am not crazy or unreasonable for thinking that the contract rules should be followed more closely. I have just reviewed them again and am finding that none of them is being enforced. It was comforting to believe that the dancers would have to sign out if leaving campus, and would have to go out in groups, but by DK's report, none of this is happpening either.

 

I am taking action right now, based on your excellent suggestions. I will let you know what happens...

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Guest erint

My DD had a similiar experience last year. I think the most upsetting part for her was the lack of discipline she percieved on the part of the RAs and head chaperone. When it smelled of "something is not right " I got involved on her behalf. My daughter's belief in the program's integrity was restored when the director handled the situation by kicking the offenders out of the SI. The head caperone ( who had been there several years) also left the program. I never found out all the details ,nor is it important. The important part was I knew my dd had handled it as much as she could and she still needed help. I am ever so grateful that the trust we put into the director of this program was not misplaced. Once she was informed of the incident she took care of all of those affected appropriately.

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Good luck with your call, Avalon, and don't let them turn it around to blame the kids. It's up to the SI to enforce the rules. What you describe is a very serious negligence - shocking, in fact - on the part of the SI.

 

In my daughter's 7 SI summers, although there were occasionally problems with supervision, I can't recall anything that approaches the degree of laxness you describe. As you say, it then crosses right over into the studio.

 

I hope other parents are calling as well.

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Wow, Avalon, I'm glad you shared this story. And please do let us know what happens.

 

I think any of us would be on the phone to the SI administration in an instant with this information. (I disagree with mcrm55 about talking to the RA; flagrant disregard for his/her responsibilities needs to be reported to the supervisor.)

 

Kudos to your DK for reaching out for adult help when s/he faced a situation s/he couldn't handle on her own!

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lovemydancers

I also agree with several who have commented here to skip the RA and go straight to the top--unfortunately, confronting the RA would probably result in the problem continuing, but with a better effort to hide it.

 

Please do let us know how it goes, avalon. :thumbsup:

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I cannot express my gratitude fully enough for all of your suggestions and support. Here is my update:

 

Husband called the RA and left a message. He then called the SI director and left a message; she called back in five minutes. They had a lengthy conversation, during which husband attempted to verify the reports of DK. Most of the details did coincide, which is helpful because it means that DK is is being forthright and that staff knows about (some of) what is going on. Of course, the director did have a slightly different version of the events, and would certainly not say the the RA's would have given such tacit permission for violation of the rules. Husband quoted directly from the signed paper and asked how each rule was being observed by staff.

 

Husband also learned that after one student reported her inability to dance due to her "crisis" the night before, it was learned by the RA that another student (my DK) had been in the dorm until early morning hours. The director apparently felt the responsibility for this lay with the student who sought out my DK at 4 a.m. and subsequently called that student's parents. The director did not, interestingly, choose to call us at that point to report this particular infraction.

 

The director also said tha all dancers must sign out before leaving campus; this has never happened as far as our DK reports. Husband expressed concern about this and again was reassured. I am hopeful that the message we gave ("We are watching you very closely") will encourage better attention to written policy.

 

We are thinking of arriving at the campus (several hours away from us) on Friday, just as classes end, and "treating" DK to an unexpected trip back home for the weekend to review our expectations before we decide on returning to the SI on Monday. Sounds harsh, I know, but as I indicated previously, we are frustrated beyond words...

 

Many thanks once again.

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Avalon -

 

I hope this all works out for you and your dancer. I worked one summer as a chaperone at an SI, and I can't imagine being so lax about making sure the dancers were following the rules. It makes you wonder what will happen if something more serious occurs. As you said, they know you've got your eye on them, so hopefully, they'll get their act together. I hope by the end of the weekend you're feeling less frustrated. Take care.

 

2marzipans

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Avalon-

I hope you do have a good weekend with your DK. I pulled my DD out of an activity that involved a substantial loss of funds for us once. She did not believe we would do it but boy it was a lesson that stuck. I would wonder if the SI broke their contract by not maintaining proper supervision if they could be requested to refund part of your money, if you have to go this route.

 

I hope the SI gets the message that you are concerned and serious so your DK can enjoy the SI without feeling the need to be the supervisor. I feel for you.

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Avalon, you and your husband are one terrific parenting team! :thumbsup: I really applaud how you're handling this; I wish all parents everywhere could see your post.

 

I agree that the SI director will probably now see much more carefully that the rules are enforced, even though there was no admission of negligence. (They'll rarely do that, but as long as they fix the situation, that's OK).

 

One question: Is there anyone overseeing the RA's? If they are young themselves, there ought to be someone whose sole job is to oversee and direct them.

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mylildancer

My DD has always told me that "the boys always get away with murder". :thumbsup:

If this is true, it gives the young men the wrong message and boys at SIs everywhere will be tempted to push the envelope.

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