It was always the most ominous threat teachers could ever use: “This is going on your permanent record.”
The permanent record had almost mythological status. Nobody had ever seen one, but you knew it was out there, and someday your college progress could somehow be haunted because of the day you ate paste in kindergarten.
Yesterday M went to the high school for graduation rehearsal and to pick up his cap and gown. But he came home with one more item: a thick folder containing his permanent record from grades K-8, plus a few non-course-related high school items like his vaccination record and PSAT registrations.
Wow! For the first time in my life, here I was looking at an actual permanent record. And yet the high school had just casually handed it over to him, for him to take home or discard or accidentally leave in a friend’s car. (Ever since classes ended, personal possessions have been migrating around town at a rate unsurpassed since first grade. Sunglasses, water bottles, umbrellas, wallets, 2-day-old sandwiches, some weird plastic thing that nobody can identify but wasn’t in my car when I bought it…) Guess those records aren’t quite as permanent as they always sounded!
M did say he’d had to sign something when he got the records. He’s one of the few seniors still under age 18, so I suspect the school may actually have been a little lax with FERPA guidelines by giving the records to him, but I definitely prefer that versus me having to make a separate trip to school to collect it myself.
Anyway, I’ll have to look through it more closely when I’m in the mood for a real trip down memory lane. But it’s funny to see what the permanent record actually contains. And pretty sweet to see his entire school career in one folder, going all the way back to things like this:
It’s especially sweet since he’s so close to the other end of his school career. The underclassmen do a fundraiser that involves delivering congratulatory balloons to the homes of graduating seniors; they come with a card indicating who sent them. We paid for 4 balloons to be delivered to M, and 1 each to the homes of his 3 closest friends. But M got some from friends as well, so we’ve got quite a large bunch tied to our mailbox. The neighbors across the street also have a large bunch on their mailbox for their daughter. It’s Graduation Central on our street!