How to Handle Bad Checks

It happens to almost every PTA every year. A check for membership, spirit wear, or a fundraiser gets returned. Depending on what the check was for, the PTA can be left responsible for full payment on merchandise already received. Here’s how to handle bad checks.

Your PTA’s check handling policies should go in your PTA’s standing rules. Your policy should cover these key points:

  • All checks should have the name, address, and telephone number of the person signing the check so you can contact them if the PTA receives a bad check.
  • Require the check writer to pay a service charge in addition to any bank charges the PTA receives from a bad check.
  • Only accept checks with the current date. Pre- or post-dated checks often indicate that the check writer does not currently have sufficient funds in their account to cover the check, and different date does not necessarily mean that the funds will be there then.
  • If someone has written a bad check to the PTA, do not accept additional checks from them unless they have made a timely repayment of the check amount, bank charges, and PTA service charge. Everyone can make a mistake, and banks have been known to process checks faster than deposits. However, if someone has written a bad check but resolved the situation promptly, they deserve a little forgiveness from the PTA.

When your PTA receives a check back from the bank, contact the check writer by phone or e-mail, asking them to make good on the check and pay the bank charges and PTA service charge promptly. In many cases, this is sufficient to get the check writer to fix the problem. However, if this does not resolve the issue, your PTA may want to consider legal action, particularly if the check amount was significant.

In Illinois, bad checks are covered under the deceptive practice law. A person commits a deceptive practice in Illinois when they write a check that they know they don’t have enough money in the account to cover. As the party to whom the check was written, your PTA may infer that the person writing the check knew this if you attempt to cash the check on two occasions at least seven days apart. It is also a deceptive practice in Illinois if someone writes a bad check for more than $150 that doesn’t correct the situation within seven days of being informed that their check was declined.

If your PTA must pursue the legal approach, make sure you inform the person who wrote the bad check by certified mail and include the following information:

  • The date the check was written, the bank the check was from, the check number, the amount of the check, and who the check was made out to.
  • A request for repayment and additional charges (bank and PTA) within a set time frame.
  • A citation of the deceptive practice law regarding bad checks.

Keep a copy of the letter you sent as well as information regarding the PTA’s attempt to receive the funds through the bank and the check writer. If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a police report with your local department. The police may also direct you on how to file a case in small claims court.

Image © 2014 by hrp_images under Creative Commons license.

Essential Life Skills for Teens Before They Leave Home

We all hope our kids move out of our house at some point, whether off to college or a career. Great Schools has a list of 14 must-have life skills that teenagers need before they head off on their own. The time to teach them these skills is during those middle and high school years, and it can take some responsibilities off your plate as well. Among those needed skills are:

  • How to do the laundry
  • How to clean the bathroom
  • How to plunge a toilet
  • How to boil water—and more
  • How to budget
  • How to use a credit card
  • Trusting their inner voice
  • How (and when) to ask for help

Check out the full article for more information on these skills and others that your teen needs before they leave the nest.

National PTA’s Family Guides

You might be aware of National PTA’s Parents’ Guides to Student Success that help parents understand what their child is learning, how to talk with their child’s teacher, and how to help support their child’s education. National PTA has partnered with the National Education Association to create additional family guides to help parents support their child in critical learning areas.

PTA leaders and teachers can use the guides to engage families in education from Pre-K through high school. The guides are available in both English and Spanish and include:

Share these guides with your membership and all families at your school, whether it is sending out copies or links to your e-mail list, working with your school or district to produce copies for families, or including one in each of your newsletters throughout the year. By providing families with the support and information they need to help their children, you demonstrate the value of joining and supporting your PTA.


Helping Your Child When They’re Excluded

It’s a powerless feeling as a parent—your child is being excluded from a group at school, often a group they’ve been friends with for years. That exclusion is a form of bullying known as relational aggression, and can occur online and in person. It can include gossiping, spreading rumors, public humiliation, alliance building, and social isolation. But unlike physical bullying or verbal harassment, it can be hard to spot.

According to a survey by The Ophelia Project, 48% of students in grades 5 through 12 are regularly involved in or witness relational aggression. Students between the ages of 11 and 15 report being exposed to 33 acts of relational aggression during a typical week.

An article at Great Schools provides six ways you can help your child deal with relational aggression. The solution involves teaching them coping skills and how to find healthy friendships. The six strategies are:

  1. Watch for the signs.
  2. Use conversation starters.
  3. Make a friendship tree.
  4. Create a personal billboard.
  5. Problem solve together.
  6. Create a coping kit.

Helping your child deal with relational aggression can minimize the issues that can stem from this form of bullying. Children who experience relational aggression are absent more from school, do worse academically, and exhibit more behavior problems, eating disorders, substance abuse, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and low self-esteem. Read the full article for how to implement each of the six strategies.