This has been the spinning top in the back of my mind for the last week. I'm not sure what the right answer is but right now, the way things are, the current set up isn't working. As things are, I'm sending my kid into a hostile atmosphere with a gaping wound. He is in so much pain that even when people accidentally touch his 'wound' or intentionally touch it to treat it he lashes out. And don't even get me started on the ones who inflicted the wound in the first place.
Dude has had one heck of a year so far and he just can't seem to catch a break anywhere. The year started off a little rocky. Mr. Awesome and I had concerns about his program and classroom right from the start of the year. Then, two months into the year The Incident happened (can't get into it for a number of reasons but suffice it to say, those who know the details can't believe the year we've had!) and we had Dude transferred out of his homeroom.
In the midst of the upset that comes from taking a kid with Asperger's, who thrives on routine, hates change and can't understand social subtleties, and switching classrooms, peers, routines and teachers on him, he was/is dealing with being a target of some very malicious behaviour. So, what we have now is a boy who is confused, angry, hurt and full of distrust walking through the halls of a middle school (which is not the most nurturing atmosphere at the best of times. Seriously, how warm and fuzzy was your grade seven experience?) totally on edge and freaking out on people in a huge way for what seems a minor offence.
I've had a total of nine hours of conversation, since Monday, with different administrators in our school and school division about Dude, the school culture, school division policy on bullying and how it actually plays out day to day. We've talked big picture and we've talked minute detail.
The West Wing is one of my all time favourite shows (no, this isn't a rabbit I'm chasing, this ties in, I promise). In one episode President Bartlett is talking to his political opponent. Bartlett is informing his opponent of the murder of a secret service agent in a violent gun attack. His opponent's reply? "Crime. Boy, I don't know." Bartlett looks at the guy like he's on crack and then sets out to annihilate him in the election.
I'm tired of lamenting. I'm tired of talking and frankly, I'm afraid of what will happen in our schools, in our community, if things continue this way. Suicide? School shooting? Who knows, but it shouldn't have to get to that before we, the adults, set a new course for our kids.
Now, before you think I live in a war zone and my kids' schools are hotbeds of violent activity, you should know that I live in a beautiful small city with schools that are filled with caring and committed staff and compassionate and connected students. There is a lot of good, a lot to be celebrated. But there is also a lot of room for improvement. We need to do better for our kids, we need to require more.
We can't wail and bemoan the lack of moral fibre in our kids and then go on our way. Illuminating the problem isn't enough. We have to do more.
So I am. I am going to do more. To be more. To expect more.
I promise because, "Crime. Boy, I don't know," is not an answer.
Knowing what's right doesn't mean much unless you do what's right.