...and my sanity nearly ended.
We are done.
With school, that is. For this year.
Whitney Hoffman has a post over at GNMParents called "Child Advocacy or School Adversary?".
I agree with Whitney - I fully agree - and since Twinks began school eight years ago, we have been involved and active at her schools. As a result, we have typically had good, solid relationships with her teachers every year.
Until this year.
This past school year, we have had a teacher who was, quite simply, prejudiced against our daughter. Everyone could see it - the school counselor, the principal, the other teachers.
Because our daughter is disabled. Because she is NOT a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cheerleader, or an athlete. Because we allow Twinks to dress in her own individual style, rather than encouraging her to be a cookie-cutter kid who dresses like all the other kids. Because this teacher thinks that if she just "tried harder" our daughter could "be normal".
You read it right.
According to this teacher, Twinks just doesn't try hard enough.
Gee. I'm so glad that she has this all figured out. It's not the multiple orthopedic birth defects, or the fibromyalgia, or the asthma, the arrymthia, or anything like that.
No. Twinks just doesn't try hard enough. Why didn't *I* think of that?
Maybe because I've known this child since before she was born.
Maybe because I have reams and reams of medical opinions, diagnosis and lab tests.
When it comes to this teacher, I have tried to be an advocate, and not an adversary, but this year has been terrible. Things came to a head recently when Twinks broke a classroom rule because of one of her disabilities. (and wasn't the first kid this year to do so, either) Twinks couldn't hold a piece of equipment, and asked another student for help. The teacher used this as an excuse to not only punish Twinks, but hold her up in ridicule to others in the class. This in reaction to a child who not only is typically quite well-behaved and well-mannered, but had NEVER broken any of the teacher's rules before, has NEVER been to the principals office in her school career, and has carried all A's for eight years. Is she perfect? No. Is she a good kid? Yes, I believe that she is. Remember - I've been volunteering at her schools on a regular basis since Kindergarten. I see her at school, in the classroom. I see how she interacts with her friends, her teachers, the staff.
So, I talked to the Principal, and the School Counselor. They agreed that the teacher behaved in a fashion that was unprofessional, and that the teacher was out of line. They offered us an alternative, so that Twinks would not have to face that teacher every day for the rest of the school year. They assured us that Twinks grade (a high A) would not be affected by this incident.
I spent the better part of a week dealing with this. At the end, I was still furious, frustrated and amazed that this teacher could believe that Twinks would deliberately disobey her rule. That she believed that if Twinks would only try harder, she would be "normal".
Ever wonder why we consider Homeschooling? It's things like this incident. It's the subtle little digs, the outright discrimination. It's the exhaustion brought on by trying to make one child who is "different" fit into a world that is designed to exclude her.
Thank God that summer is here. And not a moment too soon.