Just what we expected.
I am so incredibly hopeful that these labels will help Matthew in school. And so far, his teachers have been great. But during our October conference, it was obvious to me that Matthew requires a great deal of support during class time from his teachers. In a classroom with 6 students and two full time teachers, he is succeeding. But what about Kindergarten?
Yes, I am worrying about Kindergarten 10 months ahead of time. That’s how I roll.
Why am I worried? I am afraid of Foxes and Pedophiles. Let me explain.
When Gabriel started first grade, the first time, at our public elementary school I wasn’t too worried. We had been rezoned into a brand new school, so I joined the PTA Board of Directors as the Vice President of Fundraising, and got a sneak peek into the school before it opened, and more importantly, the opportunity to know the principal and staff. I was comforted by this. I felt sure that when Gabe started school, they would be on board with helping him. And they were.
Turns out the school wasn’t the problem. It was Gabe’s classmates’ parents that were the problem.
I have written about Gabriel’s first grade meltdown before; he was accused of ‘breaking a class rule’ (touching the stapler on the teacher’s desk) by his teacher in front of his peers standing at his locker after class let out. Cornered and embarrassed, Gabriel lied and said he didn’t do it. She insisted he did it. Gabe exploded, yelled and scratched her forearm. Then, hid in his locker. I was called, and with Matt in a stroller and Nick on my hip, I went rushing to school to get him. He was upset, but I would be too with 4 adults standing over me. I took him home, and he calmed down.
The point is what happened after that incident.
Six women, parents of students in Gabriel’s class started pushing our principal to have Gabriel removed from class because he was a ‘danger’ and put in the enclosed classroom.
During a private meeting that I got wind of through other PTA board members, and then of course CRASHED, these six women sat with the principal and went down a laundry list of things they thought needed to be changed at the school. The list was long and centered around safety.
Although they never mentioned my son’s name in my presence, I mean these women are ignorant, not stupid, they talked about kids who weren't keeping their hands to themselves in the bus line, and behavior problems in general in the classroom. Truthfully, these women seemed to be terrified of leaving their kids at school -- fearful of everything imaginable. My teacher-scratching son was just one of the dangers of public school.
According to these women, there were many unsolved safety issues at this new school that they were just the genius bunch to help. Problems like how to assure that only each child is picked up by the correct adult. Their solution? Locking our entire school down for dismissal, including stationed guards at the front yet-to-be-built gates with walkie-talkies radioing in the 'assigned numbers' on each car and matching it the corresponding numbered child waiting behind closed doors in the cafeteria on lock-down before being ushered out safely to their car by an adult armed with a -- you guessed it -- walkie-talkie and stick-on badge.
Another genius idea that worked in connection to that one, was their desire to build a fence around the entire school. A five foot chain link fence, like there is around the baseball field, around the entire school. Because having your child feel the 'safety' of being fenced in will help them prepare for life -- in jail.
These women were hoping that the principal would see reason, that without a fence, our school was susceptible to predators.
The argument was supported with great evidence: There is a ‘wooded area’ behind the school, where bad guys could hide. Mind you this ‘wooded area’ is no less than 100 feet from the back of the school, down a 40 foot incline, and then back up it, and is only approximately 5 acres. With many house around it. Not exactly 'wilderness' more of what a Real Estate agent would call a 'green belt'.
However, and I am quoting here, the women were afraid without a fence around the entire campus, that “Foxes and Pedophiles” could get on campus undetected.
Yes, Foxes and Pedophiles. In that order.
I laughed out loud.
“You really think foxes want to be on a 500-kid campus?” I chortled, “Or that a five foot chain link fence would keep out pedophiles?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I mean this woman talking was serious. And her cohorts were nodding vigorously at her concerns.
“If a pedophile wants to get on campus, I assure you he will not be dissuaded by a chain link fence.” I said with as much seriousness as I could muster.
Obviously no sane person would think that is a good idea – and thankfully for us one of the hiring requirements for principal in our district is sanity.
The real truth here is, that meeting, that experience, and the ones that came after (yes, adult women gossiping about my child), scared me.
Gabe was a relative angel at school. Matt isn’t.
Throw Matt in a classroom of 25 students, subjects of no interest (they don’t have a Thomas the Tank Engine themed curriculum to my knowledge), and he doesn’t play well with others. He is going to be frustrated. Knock things over. And otherwise be his classmates’ parent’s definition of ‘dangerous’.
And I can’t shake that worry. In November. 10 months before he starts Kindergarten.
As you can all guess, I am working my butt off with Occupational Therapy, Sensory Diet (I should’ve been an OT), social skills classes, play dates, expanding his interests (he literally was shocked when I told him he may not get ONLY Thomas toys for his birthday), and increasing his
But, that doesn’t change the fact that I am anxiously-worried about the crazy-ass ignorant people who don’t get my son.
Foxes and Pedophiles.