On walking away…

I read this article a few days ago, written by a man (a very intelligent man apparently – a PROFESSOR!) whose son had, by his account, an AWFUL time in kindergarten and first grade because of an undiagnosed disability. The story goes through so many weird twists that it’s hard not to imagine the whole scenario as the plot of a Lifetime Movie of the Week.

This father speaks of himself and his extremely intelligent (NEUROSCIENTIST) wife, their trusty psychologists and therapists and lawyers, up against the machinery of the school system. They bravely battle through until the Ever Benevolent Court gives them PERMISSION (Oh praise be to the Ever Benevolent Court) to move THEIR CHILD to a better school. And everyone’s happy.

And all I can think about through the entire article is WHY? WHY would any seemingly (I mean they have DEGREES!) intelligent couple send their PRECIOUS little boy into a place in which the only way that he can get through the day is by ROCKING in his chair?

“When we brought him to school, he would cringe away from the staff and refuse to say hello.”

Forget a disability, how about yanking your boy away from a place like that IMMEDIATELY? As in, never to return.

In the comments after the article, the father is very gracious to answer many of the questions that people pose to him about the situation. Only one person out of the bunch asks my question. Why not homeschool? The father’s reply? “To me, the solution is not pulling out, disengaging, and leaving everyone else to their fate, but instead speaking out and raising awareness of these issues.”

My duty, as a parent, is not to sacrifice my child’s needs on the altar of the public education system or the “greater good.” My job is to raise MY child. And to protect MY child.

I am not saying that every parent has the personality to homeschool, but there are a wide variety of options available to parents, especially affluent ones. I have no doubt that this man and his wife love their son very much, but the fact that REMOVING HIM FROM THE SITUATION was not seen as the most obvious answer to the question of what to do makes me sad for this little boy and the year of his life that was wasted on a battle that could have been won by walking away.

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  1. arkansasrose

     /  February 23, 2014

    My only problem with the whole situation is: Why did they have to ask the court’s permission to move their son to a new school?? I know parents who pick their kid up from school, sign a few papers and then move them to another school – even if it’s just down the road. Since when did parents have to asks permission to change schools? That baffles me.

    As far as the whole “walking away” issue: My mother homeschooled me when I was very little because of medical issues (From the birth defect, Spina Bifida). As I got older those medical issues panned out – although I will always have them in some form – so she allowed me to go to public school, after much begging on my part. The one thing I didn’t see coming was the meanness I encountered. I was harassed daily for being in a wheelchair. I would come home, almost daily, crying about it, sometimes sobbing endlessly. There were several times I asked my mother to take me out of school. She refused, she also explained why: If I run, they win. If I don’t stand up to them, I give credence to their attitude.

    Many, like you, would tell her she’s not protecting me, being a good mother or is scarring me for life. Back then I didn’t understand everything and I was mad at her for not sending me to another school. Now, I am very grateful she didn’t. Contrary to the critics, she was being a good mother. She was protecting me. She was raising me right. How so? She taught me how to stand up for myself and know I am worth more. To know that I do not deserve that kind of treatment. She gave me a voice and the confidence to use it.

    Had she ran away, put me in another school, taught me it’s okay to give in – I don’t think I’d be the woman I am today. I do have emtional health issues (Bipolar) that causes me to forget that sometimes, but that’s not my mother’s fault, that’s the illness. She didn’t sacrific me for the greater good. She taught me I am the greater good.

    I don’t know why this kid’s parents made the decisions they did. Why they allowed him to stay in school only to go to court to have him moved. Why they didn’t move him sooner, on their own. Why, if they were so intent on teaching people, they moved him at all. If the child was actually scarred, or made stronger for it.Those are things only they know.

    What I do know – Sometimes walking away isn’t the answer.

    • Thanks for your comment. I see where you are coming from and I think that if the bullying were coming from the students I would feel differently. Learning to stand up to someone your own age does have some merit (depending on the kid and the severity of the bullying). But as a parent you would have to be very careful to watch your child and see if it was making him stronger or if he was curling up in a ball on the floor rocking. Those seem to me to be late warning signs of a kid who is not handling his situation at all.

  2. Christina Magnaghi

     /  March 11, 2014

    I felt the same way. Why didn’t they pull him out and homeschool? Or put him in a small private school? Education of the public can take place effectively from home and your kid doesn’t have to be traumatized as a result. As a homeschooling mother I recognize that I’m biased towards that form of education, but I still think this would have been a better option for their son.


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