I’ve probably been to more than 500 meetings at schools. When the meeting is about someone else’s child, I can observe the psychological lunges and retreats on both sides. I can see when someone’s personal feelings are impairing their actions. I once watched all the school personnel use ASL to gripe about a mother while she sat at the table directly across from them. I answered one of their comments out loud and they stopped. Objectivity flies out the window when it is my child. After all those meetings, I still feel physically ill when the meeting is about my own child. If I walk in the room and see a crowd gathered with full clipboards, I know they had a “pre” meeting to coordinate their attack. This is always a warning that the meeting will not make any positive progress. If school officials wander in late and ask if they can just sign the paperwork and be excused, I know they are going to ignore any decisions made in the meeting. If dozens of “he said/she said” e-mails were the antecedent to the meeting, everyone in the meeting feels attacked, offended and ready to battle. There is no fairness in a meeting with one or two parents and 10-20 school employees in a meeting at the school, during school hours. They should have every other meeting at our kitchen table, at 10 p.m. We would periodically wander off to deal with “pressing issues” while the school personnel would have to ask our permission to be excused to use the restroom. I always wish I had the courage to wear a “Mothers from Hell” t-shirt, but in the actual meeting I smile and try to be polite. After the meeting I rant and cry. Tonight I’ll eat a pint of Phish Food. Tomorrow I’ll be functional again.