Genuine and Catawampus have posted some very intelligent commentaries on schools. Without the writing skills they possess I’ll add my two cents one cent worth of opinion on schools and the children who are different. Tommy spent his first year of school in a CDC (kids who don’t fit the mold) classroom learning how to get stickers on a behavior chart. I spent that year teaching him to read. I also spent my only year actively working with the PTA. I worked my tail off having a silent auction to buy a bigger, better playground. The silent auction raised $20,000.00 and the attached carnival made $5,000.00. They were quite annoyed that they had to spend extra money to make it accessible to children with different abilities. During that year on the PTA I was just a worker bee and none of the PTA leaders cared to even learn who I was or who my child was but they were happy to ignore my presence as they repeatedly criticized the CDC class. “Why do we have those ‘stupid’ children at our school? They should ship them to one of those schools where the parents don’t care who their children are exposed to.” My child is not contagious. Despite my mutterings that I would never volunteer to do anything on PTA committees ever again, I have offered to help with our current elementary school’s silent auction but they have turned me down repeatedly. PTA is like a country club and the women who run it pick and choose carefully who can help in the decision-making.

Skip ahead many years to the time Tommy spent at the Knoxville school that is a huge dumping ground for children who don’t fit in the system. Until two years ago this school had no books. The children spent their entire days earning and receiving play-time and rewards or punishment. They even had old showers converted into ‘cells’ for children who were out of control. A few weeks before the end of the year I was in the office checking Tommy out for a weekly therapy appointment. The office staff was reviewing the student roster. Every child in this school has an IEP and falls under the IDEA laws so they are only allowed 5 days of suspension before hearings have to be held to determine if their disability caused the misbehavior. Right before my eyes and ears they were actively making sure that they had used up the five allotted days on each child in the school. “We have two days left on him, next time he does anything, send him home.”

In my years working as a social worker I had many unpleasant tasks but one of the most frustrating was attending zero tolerance hearings. Children who are already struggling to belong are thrown out of the school for one full calendar year and that year is lost. No home schooling or other options, just a year tossed in the garbage can. The school system knows the odds of these children ever returning and they are very happy to get rid of the children who demand their attention. The children who need the schools the most are tossed aside in favor of the children who will thrive no matter how good or bad their teacher is that year. The good teachers know how horrible this system is but they are at the mercy of the political administrators and other parents. Those same parents who control the PTA want children who are different or difficult shoved out of their sight. Not in my school and not in my backyard are their mottos. Is it any wonder the schools are filled with children who hate, bully and torment their way to the top of the popularity polls? Has it occurred to anyone the cost difference between working hard to help children while they are still in schools versus a lifetime of supporting adults who can’t live up to their fullest potential because the schools failed them? I want to talk about what is happening to Tommy and my other children in school right now but this post is too long already. Since it’s Sunday in the bible belt, I hope you’ll forgive my rant.

5 thoughts on “109379594134216851

  1. I am pondering if you are refering to KNoxville, TN?

    I ask this due to the fact I lived in TN for the past five years. Their schooling is rate the 48th, the get the least amount of funding and have massive trouble even getting teachers. I was very frustrate with what I saw while I was there even though I didn’t have children in the system. I did have friend who did. The classes didn’t challenge one friend children enough which cause this elemantry child to talk and be bore thus causing disruption and being written off as a problem child. And other was have trouble but the teacher ignore. What really got me was a friend had a child whom was deaf the only school was all the way down town (nashville) in the bad part of town. With hookers on the corner and a crack house across the street. In my observation it seems TN just doesn’t give a flip in general to schooling. Too much to really list.

  2. I have three sons, ages 25, 22, and 18 months. When the older children were in school, in Oregon, their needs were not met in any way. They were labled as “Bad kids”. My oldest has disgraphia, he is also gifted. So he was frustrated and bored during the day. He eventually gave up on High School, got his GED and went to Community College. My middle son has ADD and is also gifted. He couldn’t sit still unless he was able to get into what he was doing. Of course he wasn’t challenged enough to get interested. He dropped out before he even went to High School. I don’t know how things will go with my youngest son. I am thinking of homeschooling him, or looking into private schools. It’s a shame that our schools aren’t able to/don’t want to teach all kids.

  3. Some of the schools in the cities are better than the rankings would imply. TN’s ranking gets lowered greatly due to outlying couties and rural areas that do not have the adequate personnel or facilities to give a reasonable education.

    I still have often considered moving somewhere else to “save” my children.

    TN is a very frustrating place to live if you are not an adult or retiree. I think I should move away then return one day for retirement.

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