My advocate, Cheryl, arranged for me and another parent to meet with a member of the Board of Education in a small meeting. A little one-on-one. So that we could, in more detail, discuss our issues with someone in a position of authority, someone who could affect some change. The meeting was probably more about giving this particular board member some idea of the issues that are out there. Otherwise, he’s relying on the administration to tell him what the pulse of the school system is and we all know that that is a skewed view, right?
I am one of those irritating people who live and die by my Outlook calendar. If a little reminder doesn’t pop up on my laptop screen telling me to do something, I don’t remember to do it. I know, right? Just irritating. Well, I forgot to add this particular event to my calendar.
So, at 5:55, my cell phone rang. I was at the after-school program picking Ben Ten up from childcare. Literally standing at the clipboard, signing him out. It was Cheryl’s assistant, Judy, reminding me about the meeting.
“You better hurry, its at 6:00.”
I asked her where it was again?
“Its at the Starbucks next to the Walmart on the Parkway.”
Uh. Crap. That’s like 15 minutes away.
“Okay, I’m going.”
After bribing Ben Ten with promises of Starbucks pastries (not actually a big selling point to a 6-year-old), we took off. I got there in record time, only to find no one there. I rang Judy.
“Um, Judy, I’m here at the Starbucks next to the Wal-Mart on Parkway, but no one is here.”
“Are you at the Wal-Mart or the Super Wal-Mart?”
(Oh man, I didn’t like where this was going.)
“Wal-Mart. I think.” (I mean, how does one tell the difference? Does the Super version emanate a glow or something?)
“No, no, no! Its at the Starbucks by the SUPER Wal-Mart on the Parkway!!”
(Seriously, remind me to do a post on how these corporate conglomerates are taking over the landscape. You can’t even use them as landmarks anymore.)
So back into the car, schwoooshing down the Parkway, I showed up. Luckily, the other mother had spent the time talking to the Board member about her experience. So I guess it was all good, other than I looked like a ridiculous flake.
When it was my turn, I spoke about our experience this year. I tried to make it succinct and talk about all the points that the Board member would find interesting and/or resolvable.
But I was a bit discouraged by his reaction.
To my assertation that although a principal may be the Queen of her building, but can’t trump the federal laws which Movie Boy is protected by, his response was “what federal laws?”
Oh, I don’t know, a couple little laws called IDEA and ADA. Heard of them?
And to my assertation that if I continue to have to remove Movie Boy from school every time he is injured, then that is an obstacle to him receiving FAPE in his LRE, he said,
“Hmmmm… what is this “FAPE” and “LRE” of which you speak?”
See, the thing is, the Board is an elected body. And does not require any actual knowledge of the education system, much less the special education system.
In the end, his assessment came down to this:
“Well, when Movie Boy was jumped, there really was no right thing for him to do. As soon as he was attacked, it was pretty much inevitable that he was going to be punished. Because the rules about hitting back are there because they do good for most of the situations. So basically Movie Boy has to be punished for the greater good.”
Seriously? Is that sort of like Jenny McCarthy’s assertion that a few kids are going to have to die from horrific diseases to bring awareness to the “problem” with vaccinations?
So, Movie Boy and all the other vulnerable kids who get caught in these lose-lose rules are really just helping the larger cause of helping the schools keep a lid on violence. Taking one for the team, as it were. They are the little sacrifical lambs of the supposed zero tolerance policy.
Maybe I should have just stayed at the Starbucks by the regular Wal-Mart. It didn’t have the pizazz of the Super Wal-mart but the crap wasn’t so deep over there.