Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In which I am my best self for a whole day

"Mr. van de Walle, you have to come to the school right now. Nicholas is involved in a very serious incident and we'll be sending him home. Your wife needs to be here, too. Can you pick her up on your way?"

"I'll leave right now, but she's out of town. She won't be coming. What the heck is going on at that school of yours? Can't you get through a single week without dragging me down there? Never mind about that now, I'l be there in a few minutes."

Short story: Nicholas has been framed by a classmate. A girl is feeling unsafe about coming to school, and another boy's life has been threatened via email. One of the adults, Lora, decided Nick was at fault, and needed me to take him home for a five-day suspension.

Longer story:

I was pretty deflated feeling when Nick came in. I'm really tired of the school overreacting when he exerts some of his individuality. But this situation was serious, and seemed different than other priors. Before anyone could trip him up or trap him, I got real serious with him. He told me he wouldn't lie to me. I told him I'd back him up 100% as long as that that was true.

As they presented their evidence, consisting of a set of emails from a made-up address, it became clear to me that Nick didn't send them. He was crying for some of this time, protesting his innocense, and lacking in knowledge of some key facts. My certainty that he's one of the victims was one thing; "Of course you're going to side with your son," said Lora. " But I have to be concerned with the safety of all the kids."

"I'm glad to hear that," I said. "Because clearly, my son doesn't feel safe in your environment. I look forward to your finding out who really did this."

"Oh, we know your son did it."

They had a police officer standing by to escort us off campus. After three hours of this round-and-round, new printouts of the emails showed up. This time, they had time stamps on them. One of them came at a time when my son was at P.E., without access to a computer.

Lora was very pissed. She contained herself pretty well, but still sort of lashed out. She also said, "I'm going to have to work all weekend on this. We'll have to get access to the computer records."


Oh? Now, you'll go request the records? Excuse me, but before you levelled such a serious charge and prepared to suspend my boy for 5 days, shouldn't you have gotten all your facts together? How dare you. I lost an entire day of work, being super alert and present, an ally to my son at his hour of need, and then decompressing from the episode the rest of the day.

I'm not yet really angry, since I know people are lazy. But I'll be asking for some sort of pow-wow with Lora and her superiors. Going off half-cocked like that is not acceptable. I'll need to see some sort of accountability for her actions, and a plan for how she'll be doing her J-O-B better in the future.

Having the school treat the learners with respect, and hearing them and modeling mature behavior, is something I can push for. That's one of the good things that could come out of this.

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