I lied. I do want to release my anger at my school board member and answer his audience scolding speech. I just won’t mail it to him and I’ll backdate it so that it is hidden away from everyone except feed readers.
Dear Dr. Murphy,
You condescendingly lectured everyone at Wednesday’s school board meeting that we don’t know the meaning of “true hardships” like the parent of the disabled child who didn’t want her child to have to start over making friends. Since you can’t see the dangers and wastefulness of having children in the subdivisions surrounding a school leaving their communities to travel down major roads and across busy intersections or the effects of drawing zone lines in the middle of subdivisions, I will address hardships. My oldest child has been in classes in Knox County schools that were held in broom closets. He spent most of a year with a constantly changing series of untrained substitutes who had never heard of his disability. He wasted several years at KAEC without a single textbook because, “He’s bright enough to catch up. We need to work on his behavior.” Those wasted years were spent trying to make him not Autistic instead of teaching him the academics that he craved. Despite my begging that he is tactilely defensive, the teachers immediate reaction to any upset child was a therapeutic basket hold. This made my child feel like he was suffocating and cause hysterical screaming. During one of those episodes, another student walked up, yelled back and then punched my child repeatedly in the face while the teacher held my son down so that he couldn’t even raise an arm to protect himself. At the end of eighth grade, I wanted my son to go to high school. Knox County employees discouraged me, but by this point, my experiences with the school system had made me harder and stronger. I persisted and my son went to Bearden High School. My son has thrived in a way that I never dreamed possible. Go visit him and talk to him about history or his zoology class. Bearden High didn’t treat him like someone with a disease that needs curing. They treated him like a person whose personality is just different. I have experienced the hardships of Knox County Schools and I have faith in Bearden High School. You can write whatever you want on my children’s files, but they WILL be attending Bearden High School no matter what your maps and numbers tell you. You owe every parent in that room an apology for your words, because they all have stories too.