OK. I need a little bit of writing therapy, and if you’re reading this, you’re the victim. There is absolutely nothing bike related that follows.
For the last two weeks Red and I have been embroiled with the school district regarding an incident with the veloterrorist. Our short term goal is to have him moved to a new teacher/classroom. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an incident where his teacher screamed at him and brought him to tears for what seems to have been a minor infraction of calling out an answer without being called upon specifically. Unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident for the teacher, but this was the first time it was directed at Ian.
We were aware of this teacher’s issue well before we found out that he was going to be in her class, but we decided to see how things would go. Ian brought home stories almost daily about her losing it and going off on a kid, but we bit our tongues. But when things got dicey, we filed a complaint, pulled him out of school for a few days, and started a series of meetings with the teacher, the principal, his boss, and now his boss’ boss.
Word is getting around, and people, including district employees, are coming out of the woodwork to offer advice. For this immediate goal, two things serve up the most frustration. First is that all we want is to have him moved as a means to solve our problem. It’s really not a big deal, and the principal could have saved himself a lot of aggravation by just making that happen. Which brings up the second frustration in that school district administrators are not telling us the truth. They are denying that there is a pattern with this teacher and even denying how the incident in question actually happened. Fortunately, enough folks are volunteering information that we seem a step ahead of the lies at every turn. But it is draining, because this is all we’ve been focused on for the last two weeks, and conflict can take its toll.
The bigger issue, and one that we’ve just begun to try to get our arms around, however; is what to do in the long term. All of our kids are smart: good grades, common sense, for the most part good decision makers; but Ian is different. When I solve a problem, I approach it analytically. Ian uses creativity. He has been pre-screened for the gifted program and completely blew the counselor away with how he was able to complete the exam. I have trouble relating to him sometimes, but recently I’ve been really focusing on how he approaches things, and it is unique. Where I used to get frustrated with him, I now back off and let him do things his own way.
So I don’t want to mold him away from how he is. And its become more and more obvious that the public school system is the worst place for him because there is no way he can fit into their programs, and they certainly don’t have the resources, or the desire, to deal with him.
Right now were looking at charter schools (free but there are waiting lists), private schools (expensive), and a cyber-charter school (Red would have to quit work and stay at home). Each have their advantages, but none are a perfect fit for our situation. Red had been looking for full time work so we could increase our college account savings, so quitting altogether would jeopardize our ability to pay for our other kids’ education, much less the other bills that pile up.
To that end, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I don’t want to be 65, ready to retire, and still be paying off college loans, but I don’t want to be selfish and not do everything possible to give my kids every opportunity. I had some incredible learning opportunities, some of which I squandered, some of which I really enjoyed.
On the bright side, we do have a meeting tomorrow as part of the appeal process, where we are getting signals that the school district is ready to reverse their decision. That will solve things in the short term, but the whole affair has left a really bad taste in my mouth. Plus we have the long term issue.
My parents were European, and I was taught never to offer advice unless you’re asked. I’m asking. and yes… I feel a little better now.