Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Books 'n' Sods
It was a letter from the Région written on July 3, received today, the 9th, telling me that my son had not given back his books from this academic year. It didn't tell me which books, just that some books had not been delivered back from whence they came unto the Résponsable de la Région who holds the keys to All Books.
So I called my son who is at this moment having the time of his life with some buddies in Corsica, and working in some respect to pay his way for the father of one of them. He gave me his version of the Book Saga:
Back in the mists of Time that were Seconde, he lost two books. (I don't know which ones because I never received a letter about this. I didn't know what to do, so did nothing, and nothing was forthcoming.) As a result, my son did not get his books for Premier because the policy of the Région is that if you lose books that are given to you freely and generously by the Région and do not in some way pay the penance (and I have yet to find out what it is) you do not get any books the following year.
At which point I wondered how he had managed without books. All year. And the answer was not encouraging - because no exercises from the books had ever been set as homework, and because he sat next to someone who had a book in class. Thus he managed perfectly well all year.
Which brings me back to The Problem. According to the Région's computer, my son was given his books last September. It was marked so in the computer. The computer obviously does not know about The Penance, and that my son could not possibly have received his books because he lost two the previous year.
But, according to the Région's computer which is perhaps never wrong but in this case is mistaken, my son got his books and the Région wants them back. This is why I was on the phone for 45 mins trying to sort out this illogical issue. How can you give back something you never received in the first place? The Région told me it's not up to them to prove he got the books, but up to my son to prove he didn't have his books all year - a teacher, a Person of Rank, not his mother, someone from an empty lycée - so I rang the lycée and eventually got two temporary lads who are working for the Région over the summer but who knew nothing about anything.
I asked if my son had signed something. I suggested that if there was no signature it was difficult to prove he'd taken the books, but they don't ask for signatures, they just have a box ticked on a computer. I suggested that this might be open to error because lines can be mixed up and names confused. Offended noises came back at me from down the phone, but I was not to be beaten. As far as I'm concerned, if he hasn't signed for books, he got no books and they don't have a bookend to stand on quite apart from the issue of The Penance. And to think that the French pride themselves on their logic. Pffft!
In the end, having spoken to 4 different people plus my son, I was told he'd have to sort it out at the Rentrée because obviously it was all a grand bordel... comme d'hab.