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How would you respond?
Old 01-01-2020, 01:01 PM
  #1

I'm the administrator of a Facebook page for parents at my DD19's college. Currently, there's a woman from Long Island who is making a HUGE stink over the condition of the sidewalks on campus during the winter months. Apparently, her son fell on an icy sidewalk in November and broke his elbow. She wants to sue. She's currently saying that if it happens again, "there will be big trouble".

Today, she posted a photo of a sidewalk and wrote, "This is just one of the sidewalks that my son must walk on". It makes me laugh! Her son? Not the rest of the student population?

So, as the administrator of the page, I feel a responsibility to not let this post get out of control with overbearing parents. I responded with this:

"The weather is fierce in this part of the state. The college canít be expected to keep every walking surface constantly in pristine condition. The students must exercise caution and wear appropriate footwear. And even still, accidents happen."

For the record, this college is near Buffalo, NY, in the snow belt. They get pounded with snow!

Here's the photo she posted. Looks pretty good to me! Cleared of snow, and looks like it's been salted.


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Old 01-01-2020, 01:06 PM
  #2

I think your response was fine. I would have added something like everyone is trying their best to be responsible when it comes to slippery walkways.

BTW I think that sidewalk is cleared when it comes to snow in northern New York.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:22 PM
  #3

I donít have anything really to add, except that I grew up in that snow belt, a town on the Erie Canal, and that sidewalk is pretty darned clear for that neck of the woods!!!

Goodness, what will she say when a lake-effect blizzard comes through and the snowbanks are higher than her son?!

If you live in that area, be prepared for it!
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:23 PM
  #4

Tell her to get him some Yaktrax or some type of ice cleats. That's just common sense when you have to be on foot in an area that gets lots of snow and ice. I can't even always keep my driveway clear enough to get my mail or put out the garbage without ice cleats. I keep a pair in my school bag for days when we get freezing rain during the day.

It's not the fault of the university if she and her son are both lacking common sense. And, honestly, that sidewalk looks pretty good to me. I wouldn't be afraid to walk on it and I'm in my 60's.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:23 PM
  #5

I don't know about this. As a former NY'er and having a DD in Michigan it is the property owners responsibility to have the surface clean and safe. She likely can sue.


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Old 01-01-2020, 01:27 PM
  #6

How about the college pay the medical bill and call it good?
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:35 PM
  #7

Does the page have rules? Is there a purpose to the page? If you are an admin and want to avoid this, I'd probably just say in the rules that complaints should be taken directly to the school and posts with them will be deleted because the purpose of the page is xyz.

I personally would avoid commenting otherwise, as you probably won't change her mind and she'll just get more upset. It should sort itself out. Either she is over the top and will get no support or there really is an issue and people will come together to get it resolved. Ideally resolved by the students that are being affected.
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Rules fior page
Old 01-01-2020, 01:40 PM
  #8

Quote:
love_to_learn's Message:
Does the page have rules? Is there a purpose to the page? If you are an admin and want to avoid this, I'd probably just say in the rules that complaints should be taken directly to the school and posts with them will be deleted because the purpose of the page is xyz.
This is perfect. Set the ground rules and keep the page useful and positive. Nice of you to run the page!
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:51 PM
  #9

I run the page for our school, and I have very strict rules about who can and can't post. All comments have to be approved by me before they go to the general public. I have, on occasion, had to ban people from posting or from the group.

If this parent wants to grind her axe, she can do so elsewhere. A parent group isn't really the one she needs to complain to anyway.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:53 PM
  #10

I do like your response. She may get upset about the appropriate footwear, but that will be because she is a mom and wants to protect her son. I am on such a page for my DD and I am surprised by the "complaints" of some parents. And then they get the bandwagon rolling.

You are right, accidents happen. Our kids need to figure some things out for themselves too.


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Old 01-01-2020, 02:11 PM
  #11

My definition of what is a "clear" sidewalk changed once I became good friends with someone in a wheelchair. She struggles a lot in the winter and that sidewalk would be difficult for her. And in my city, that sidewalk would not necessarily be okay - we have a "bare pavement" rule. Not that anyone really follows it, but for the sake of my friend, I wish they did.

But that said, I thought your response was fine. I agree with encouraging her to contact the college directly, not air her grievances on the FB page.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:49 PM
  #12

I agree she needs to take it to the people who can or might do something about it.

I've never heard of a parent page for college students. My kids would never have let me hear the end of it if I was to participate in a parent FB page for their school.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:51 PM
  #13

Were I you, I would turn off commenting on that thread.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:19 PM
  #14

[QUOTE]I've never heard of a parent page for college students. My kids would never have let me hear the end of it if I was to participate in a parent FB page for their school.[QUOTE]

It’s actually really helpful for connections and questions and support.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:18 PM
  #15

Sounds like he needs to move to the South. Of course, we have tornadoes, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and the occasional alligator.
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Agree with Tori58!
Old 01-01-2020, 04:25 PM
  #16

I totally and completely agree Tori58! YAKTRAX and other similar products are awesome for ANYONE WALKING ON SNOW/ICE. You may want to make that recommendation on a separate post but they really work.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:00 PM
  #17

I would send her a message saying this is an issue she needs to bring up with the college, not the parent's Facebook group.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:08 PM
  #18

I live in the Midwest, and we get our fair share of snow. Anyone that knows me knows that if there is ice I will find it and fall. This sidewalk looks clear to me and something that I would have no fear to walk on. Some people will complain about anything.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:18 PM
  #19

From this momís complaint I assume she does not live in a snowy area. Your response was appropriate. But I agree that it is strange for parents of college age kids to have a Facebook page. It seems like it would encourage helicopter parents.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:35 PM
  #20

[QUOTE]But I agree that it is strange for parents of college age kids to have a Facebook page. It seems like it would encourage helicopter parents.[QUOTE]

I admit, there a handful of parents who are helicoptering on the page. But they get put in their place pretty quickly. As I said below, it really is a nice place for support and connections.
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Distract?
Old 01-01-2020, 06:43 PM
  #21

I grew up in Rochester and would have thought that sidewalk was SUPER! Although perhaps not if I were recovering from a broken elbow (ouch!) or using a wheelchair or crutches.

Perhaps a little sympathy along with the common sense approach would enable her to feel heard.

The sidewalk in the photo looks more like the sidewalk of a residential street than a campus sidewalk. You might want to verify whose responsibility this particular sidewalk is. College? Town? Residents?

Maybe the discussion could be sidetracked into a discussion of which footwear has the best traction. And then it could veer off into "but those boots are really ugly/cute" and by then the topic will change to complaints about the second semester schedule. Thank goodness.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:56 PM
  #22

ďI admit, there a handful of parents who are helicoptering on the page. But they get put in their place pretty quickly. As I said below, it really is a nice place for support and connections.Ē

Connections for what? Iím still a little confused by this- what connections do parents need to be making? I know this probably wonít be a popular opinion, but things like this is why we have so many 20-somethings moving back home and never gaining their independence.

In terms of the ice- Iím in VA where we canít handle snow/ice. In HS I was coming in from the parking lot and landed hard- I had a bruise about 8 inches in diameter... it basically took up my entire upper leg (of course just days before our state championships where I had to be in a bathing suit). It could have been worse, but to this day I am still terrified of slipping. I think the recommendation of proper footware is a good one- I wouldnít even know where to begin with that!
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:15 PM
  #23

It snows near Buffalo. It snows a lot. If you don't want your kid walking on snowy sidewalks, make him pick a college that has tunnels between buildings. (There are at least two that I am aware of in upper state NY.)

Can she sue? If the child is a minor, yes. But, if her child is 18, I don't think she can. At 18, you are a legal adult and your mom doesn't get to initiate legal action on your behalf.

The college might cover medical bills. But, that may depend on the specific circumstances. Was he going to class? Or had he gone outside to participate in a snowball fight? And getting an upper state NY jury to agree that that sidewalk was not cleared sufficiently by the college would be problematic.
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:27 AM
  #24

I do not believe you should have responded without guidance from the college.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:39 AM
  #25

Quote:
Connections for what? Iím still a little confused by this- what connections do parents need to be making? I know this probably wonít be a popular opinion, but things like this is why we have so many 20-somethings moving back home and never gaining their independence.
Honestly, most of the kids have no idea that we have this page. I can speak for myself that I have gotten advice about what meal plans/point systems are the best (believe me, it's so convoluted, I needed advice!), the best time of day to move in, etc. I also met two other theatre moms, and we had lunch together in the college town when we went down to see our kids in a show. One of those parents lives only 20 minutes from me, and we have since become friends IRL.

If a parent asks a question that is best handled by their child, we gently tell them that. There is absolutely NO talk about what to do if a child is having trouble with a professor, or roommate problems, etc.
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:23 AM
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:27 AM
  #26

I'd send her a link to this book

https://www.amazon.com/How-Raise-Adu.../dp/1250093635


How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
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Facebook pages
Old 01-02-2020, 04:50 PM
  #27

When my son graduated he went into the Marines. This was before the advent of said pages. Through a website, several parents were able to connect and created our own Marine moms page. It was wonderful...great support, advice and suggestions. It helped us through several deployments and welcome home. One time they had a training, we sent homemade cookies to welcome them back to base.
Sending your child to college can be a stressful with unknown questions...buying books, rides to and from campus, how to... Having a place to go to to get those questions answered is wonderful. There are pages all over in support of lots of things. Belong to them if you want, it is wonderful having that kind of support. It's up to you to make it into what works best!!
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