Apparently my son is breaking the law.

Right now, while he’s skiing in the French Alps.

No, he’s not swigging wine with the locals (or he’d best not be, if he knows what’s good for him), and no, I don’t think he’s sneaking into girls’ rooms after curfew (we are still in the days of “girls are  yucky,” inshallah).

Nope. It’s the fact that he left the country in the first place. And actually, everyone in his grade who left the country is also in violation of the law.

I’ve talked on this blog before about the arbitrary whimsical ridiculous erratic way that government policies come into play: school holidays being announced only a week before they happen, for instance, and now I’d like to add another item to the list.

Today a letter came home announcing that ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) had decided to enforce a rule from 2002 that restricts overseas travel for children in Year Seven and below. Those of you who are paying attention will remember that last year, when Liam was a year younger and at a different school, the entire grade six class went to Ephesus, and that seemed fine with the bureaucrats.  We have friends whose kids still go to that school, and sure enough, last fall, off the kids went, just like last year: no problem.

Liam’s trip left the country on Saturday; another group of students were slated to go to Nepal for a community service project, another group was going to Rome…but now? Nope. No child in Year Seven or below, from any school in Abu Dhabi, can leave the country.

Why, you ask?

Um…no one knows. And no one knows why this policy wasn’t enforced a week ago, or last fall, or last year, or the year before that. Nor is the policy anywhere to be found on the ADEC website (clearly, ADEC is taking a lesson from the NYC Department of Education, a bureaucracy so opaque it makes Mao look transparent).

Me? I suspect some functionary didn’t want to bother processing more school-travel permission forms.  I also suspect that some time in the next few weeks, the law will change.

In the meantime, I’m hoping they’ll let Liam and his friends back into the country.

Of course, if they don’t, maybe I’d have to move to the French Alps.