Thursday, April 10, 2008

stewing a bit today

something I try not to ever do, as no good can come of it.

I am upset with my son's school, as some sort of "glitch" as librarian put it, had him sitting alone in a room crying while the rest of his class was having a pizza party. There was a book reading contest, and the party was the prize for classes that read the most. There was an original cut off date of March 19th, but it was extended to the 20th, as they had missed a day do to snow, and were now gaining the 20th as a school day (instead of having it as a Spring Holiday). My son decided on this day, the last day to participate. Which is not ideal, and quite like him, and we have talked about this a lot as not being a good strategy, or rather I have talked about it a lot. That said still when he told me back in March that he was entering, I was pleased as punch and proud of him, he often doesn't join in things at all. So this was a step in the right direction. After school yesterday, the despondent Cheese told me the points he earned for reading were counted toward his class's reading goal but they said they he had missed the cut of date so he couldn't attend. I called the librarian to discuss it, I opened with "my son is upset he thought the cut-off date for participating was the 20th" and she said "It was the 20th" and then asked me my child's name and had to look up the "papers" and the "records", and then said it was a "glitch" as the paper work all said the cut-off was the 19th even though they had extended it to the 20th, so it seemed on paper like he shouldn't be allowed to go, although he should have been. She didn't seem at all sorry, just matter of fact, I told her she shouldn't have focused so much on the paper work but looked at the situation as a human being. His teacher when I spoke to her, acted like it was the librarian who said he couldn't go, the librarian acted like no one really brought this issue to her attention.

Now a pizza party with unlimited pizza, soda, and chips, might not sound like a big deal to you, but to my 11 year old son, it was and is. I of course don't care about the food, not good for him anyway, and I could easily buy him such things. The trouble is the social aspect of the whole thing. My son does not currently have friends he hangs out with outside of school, and the school was concerned enough in the past that we had a meeting with the guidance counselor about his tendency toward social isolation in school. That was in November, lately he has been talking about this kid or that kid, which makes me think he is having some positive interaction with some other students. And Cheese is interested in the going-ons of the other kids, he will observe them, and he likes to know their gossip. (which I consider much better than being totally uninterested in them, something I have been concerned about in the past)

So this kid in my mind is the worst kid to have such a "glitch" happen to. It would have been so great for him to be included not singularly excluded from his entire class. And if he hadn't read any books if he hadn't entered than he would have expected to be excluded, and have chosen to be, but that is not what happened. I keep (gently) trying to tell him that "the best way to prevent this sort of thing, is to not do things at the last minute", and that is what I hope he takes away from this experience, but currently what he is taking away from it is, it doesn't matter what you do it doesn't count, and he has lost his faith (whatever faith he had) in his teachers, and he feels more cut-off from the other kids. He went on this morning about how horrible today will be, that all the other kids will be talking about everything that went on yesterday at the party and how much fun they had. I told him, that happened yesterday, it was unfortunate, but it is in the past, today can still be a great day (if you want it to be).

My mom wants me to write a letter to the principal and complain, she feels they owe him an apology and a pizza party. I keep asking myself what would be the purpose, the benefit of such action? What is my desired outcome? What is the most likely outcome? I don't feel the need for him to be filled-up on junk, but I do wish his teacher would say she was sorry he missed out do to a misunderstaning, I wish we could gain our faith in his school again. I want to believe in her, his teacher, I don't want to think that perhaps if this had happened to another child, it would have been looked into more thoroughly, and a part of me does wonder that.

(my emotional state is not at all helped by the fact that his guidance couselor called me, less than an hour before I went to school to pick Cheese up for the day. Called me to tell me some teacher, who does not know my son, saw him with a plastic knife, moving it back and forth like he was trying to cut his own arm. Guidance told me he talked to my son, who said he was merely scratching an itch, which guidance believed, but you know, they have to check these things out do to concern that some kids might be cutters. So worry about my son was triggered before I found this pizza party stuff out. No I am not concerned that he is or will become a cutter, but he is rather individualistic and eccentric so I worry for him socially. And I wonder if I should have told guidance and his teacher team (back in November) that Cheese is a bit eccentric, maybe the term has done some harm to my child, but I was trying to explain to them his behaviour, and that he isn't looking at things the same way they are. Maybe they think him odd or weird, where as when I said he was eccentric I meant uncommon, individualistic and wonderful.)

Perhaps I will send an email off to his main teacher, I don't want to yell, I don't want pizza, I just want some faith, to believe that she has my son's best interest at heart. Nothing extraordinary, nothing specail, just the same as I assume she does all her students.

Whew, okay, I've gotten as much resolution as I can out of this situation now. I called his teacher left a message, she called back. We talked about it, releazed where the situation arrived from, who talked to who about what, and I feel much more secure in his teacher. Faith restored. It is just a shame that things went the way they did. Well hopefully now that I am getting "Over-it" I can more effectively help my son do the same. :)


JaneyV said...

Oh MY GOD! If I were you I'd be FURIOUS! Even if the 19th was the closing date - to deliberately exclude a single child for being one day late is outrageously callous. He's 11 for god's sake! I can't believe any teacher would do that. You need to say something to them. Absolutely Cheese needs to know that he has to pull his weight and not leave things to the last minute but equally he needs to know that they were wrong in how they handled it and that you have his back! As you say it's not about the party, the junk food or any such thing. It's about fairness and the effect that their utter meanness is having. They need to know that there have been consequences for their "glitch". In my mind Cheese deserves and apology and some understanding.
Poor you for having to deal with this. I know it's hard. And Poor Cheese - this was definitely not fair!
Much Love Taff xx

Taffiny said...


Thanks for reading
(I didn't expect anyone to, it sure was long, I was venting),
and for your caring response.

Cheese did take it pretty hard.
(I have mixed feelings about Cheese being present when I called and discussed my frustrations with the teachers, but I think ultimately it was good for him to know that I wasn't just going to stand by calmly, and be idle over this situation.)

The next day, he came home with a grab bag of goodies they put together for him (fancy pencils, erasers, smarties, this and that). I could tell it meant a lot to him that they offered up some sort of apology. And they are giving him an extension of this weekend to read more books to qualify for a special auction (for prizes).

He is no longer moping, he seems his regular self again. :)