This morning we discovered an anonymous note left for us by a parent from my son’s preschool class telling us that we should “do the right thing” and pull our kid out of the school because he “likes hurting children” and we are “ruining the school”. The note also said some nasty things about the teacher. I’ve been pretty shaken up all day.
I called the teacher right after reading the note, and she was so upset she went home for the day. She had a couple support people around her from the school and district (it’s a PPP so there’s a provincial level as well) and they discussed what must now happen in lieu of this. The teacher and I had several good conversations today and I received lots of sympathy and support from her and the others. I was invited to stay with them while they worked through this but I had the kids and had arranged a playdate with a good friend who provided me with comfort.
The writer of that note can’t be all that balanced: they left enough identifying information to narrow it down as to who they are, and while I don’t know the parents well enough to figure it out, the teacher almost certainly does. I’m guessing this will result in that family being asked to leave the school, which isn’t exactly what the author of the note was hoping for. But how would they think this wouldn’t elicit a very strong reaction on the part of the school? I do understand how they feel, I just think they handled it very badly and in a way that has caused a lot of grief and extra work for a lot of people.
This episode is just one more reason why I’m so glad that we will be leaving the school system at the end of this year. If my son’s issues can result in this much trouble when he’s in preschool, I can only imagine what it would be like were he to continue on with ever larger classes (more parents) and teachers who may not be as sensitive and capable as the one we have now. Most of all, school thrusts together parents from different backgrounds, value systems, and personality types and AFAIC that is one “life experience” I can do without. There’s no escaping the type of parent who left that letter on our doorstep.
Husband and I are trying to decide whether to leave the school or not. It would certainly be the easiest solution for everybody, but mostly us since the school would have to handle the fallout from this incident regardless. Part of me also thinks that it would send the wrong message to whoever wrote this letter and I stubbornly refuse to be driven out that way. I will say that there are parents who have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, but all it takes is one bad apple like this to taint the experience. We didn’t take Son to school today but when we do, the dropoff experience will be an anxious one for me, as I won’t be able to help looking around trying to figure out who dunnit. I’m not the sort who deals well with these kinds of situations – I get anxious and emotional even though my head may be relatively clear.
For now we will wait until the school has had a chance to make some decisions about where to go from here. And we can’t just suddenly stop taking Son to preschool; it would not be fair to him if he weren’t given time to prepare for the transition. Still, I’m uncertain as to how much more of this I want to take. As it is we are meeting with a “child development consultant” on Monday, the one who assessed Son and approved the funding for an extra teacher to help with the classroom. I’ve been a bit anxious about that because I’m worried she is going to suggest all kinds of interventions that we will not be comfortable with.
I suppose my biggest worry is for my son. Every time I think I’ve got a handle on things and we’ll be okay from here on, something like this happens and I begin to doubt and question myself. Maybe his issues are too big for us to handle, what if there really is “something wrong” with him? I’m so resistant to the idea that he needs interventions and labeling, yet when something like this happens I worry that my instincts are wrong and that I’m hiding my head in the sand. How much of this is the system trying to make my child fit in an environment that, at least for our family, is completely optional and not even optimal? How much of my resistance to intervention is due to the fact that we have the option to remove ourselves from the system and keep son out of difficult environments until he is mature enough to handle them? Are we hiding or are we liberating ourselves?
I think the best piece of advice I’ve given myself is this: I can only do what seems best in a given situation. I cannot know the future, and it would be folly to try and predict what may or may not happen. I need to make decisions based on what I know now, and what my gut tells me now. If, later on down the road, things have not improved then we make the best decisions at that time without regretting what we did or didn’t do earlier on. In the meantime, I can say with certainty that I will be glad when this school year is over and I can leave it all behind for good.