School WhatsApp groups: fathers not wanted?

A haibun

Last week, my wife was added to a Whatsapp group called ‘Welcome to first grade’, but I was not. I should not have been surprised, I suppose, because just two years ago, when our daughter was entering her preschool-kindergarten program, this same thing happened. Of course, I admit that I was not particularly interested in that particular group back then because there wasn’t any serious discussion to be had there. “That’s ok – you can just tell me if something actually important comes up,” I told my wife, and she did.

However, our daughter is entering elementary school next year, where she will remain until at least sixth grade, and she may even continue through high school. The school that she will be attending is a special one, which puts a heavy emphasis on communitywide dialogue and parental involvement; it boasts a school community that I am very invested in being a part of; and its uniquely empowering, nondogmatic approach to Jewish education speaks to my depths.

Suffice it to say that I plan to be very involved with our daughter’s schooling in the coming years.

(By the way, I am the one who takes our daughter to school and picks her up at the end of the day; and I will continue shouldering this responsibility next year because the office where I work is on the way to her new school. Just sayin’.)

certain autumn winds
would blow proud leaves from their twigs
some cling stubbornly

58 thoughts on “School WhatsApp groups: fathers not wanted?”

  1. David, I guess mothers are always seen as the ones more involved with the children. But, fathers deserve the right to be a part too. Probably some stereotypical decision. And parents are very passionate in the beginning of their child’s school journey. Hopefully you’ll find a great balance as time passes. 🙂

  2. How strange that you weren’t invited to that group. Does it speak to continued sexist expectations? I hope not! I hope it’s an oversight. Cheers, David

    1. I think it does speak to that, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal – just annoying. It’ll get corrected, and I’ll be very involved in our daughter’s schooling – it’ll be okay 🙂

      Thanks, Jerri.


  3. There were always plenty of fathers dropping children off when I took my daughters to school, and the teachers got to know whoever that person was–often grandparents too. But we had no email lists then, just notes sent home in the backpack. But men always participated in the Parent Associations. Speak up. And recruit other fathers as well. (K)

  4. I share school drop-offs and pick-ups and all the other school stuff with my husband. In fact he does a bit more than I do. But for some reason I’m the one they always phone for any kind of problem… It’s incredibly annoying. It kept happening even after I requested he be first contact because I’m more often away (at least pre-COVID). Good luck! But be careful what you wish for… 😀

  5. David, much the same story in many places, including my daughter’s school. I am not very good at tracking things so I am happy for my wife to be following the whatsapp communication, I try to help behind the scenes in the meanwhile.

  6. I’m fiercely opposed to the devaluing of men and boys that seems to be the current retribution narrative. Keeping fighting the good fight, silencing an entire half of the population is not an option!

  7. My husband was very involved. My advice – Smash the barriers! For a school that promotes community dialogue and parental involvement this is a gross oversight!

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