My last posting was on Monday, October 31. Friday, November 4th, Danny moved in. Is it just me, or do you think there might be a connection?
The following Monday, I registered Danny in school, and today, five weeks later, Danny is still not attending school. Instead, the school district has placed him on home teaching, two hours a day (the state minimum for special ed students). His IEP, the bible of Special Ed, recommended that he be in day treatment and/or in an 8 child, one teacher, one aide, (8-1-1) classroom. The district, claiming to have no such, is going to refer him to day treatment schools. Not try him in a 6-1-1 or a 12-1-1 or, imagine that: a regular sixth grade classroom. No. No chances to be taken with this defective human.
Prior to Danny moving in, I asked his social worker not to send in all the horrific reports to the school district as they all looked so bad. Academics only. Her response – which even now is sitting in my craw – was that it would not be “ethical” to not send it. Right…. But it is “ethical” to hold against an eleven year old boy all his behavioral reactions to being betrayed (see earlier posts) by the only family he ever knew – and then being blamed by them for their “having” to walk away? What was he to do with all that pain, all that loss, and all that hopelessness for his future? His parents left and took with them his siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends. They took his house, his bedroom, his toys, his clothes, his favorite recipes. With them went his neighborhood, his Church, his stores, and his school. And in their place was left the hope that someone would step up for him. Someone no where to be seen, but someone nonetheless?
The fact is that in our culture when someone steps up for any familyless kid over the age of 3, it is the equivalent of the child winning the lottery. There are no adoptive families for most of these kids. Add in his history, and his diabetes, and there will be no one. Short of winning this adoption lottery, there never will be any one. But Danny is expected to moderate his behavior; learn to speak – without being overwhelmed – about his feelings; and behave himself. Trust the adults. And be good, now spoken as “be safe.”
Danny was not good. And you know what? I admire that. It says to me that Danny is a believer. He believed that he was being betrayed; that he was being thrown away; and that we, as a culture, could essentially not care less. And that made Danny berserk. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it good that he threw off these people who were trying to get him to accept these experiences? Isn’t it good that he wouldn’t tolerate accepting less than what every kid is entitled to?
So he became a “bad” boy. No one spoke to his issues, so he listened to no one. That is admirable as I see it. But then the powers-that-be wrote up their experiences of Danny from – of course – their Olympian point of view. And these reports – for years, I have referred to them as the “damage reports” -followed him here because it was the “ethical” thing to do.
In the past five weeks, I have not had time to write this blog. Danny is here every day all day (today, one of my kids took him out with his cousins for a few hours.) Danny keeps me busy; and my still locked up grief about Abe, slows me down. But I’m not kept busy with calming Danny down; and chasing after him and his path of destruction. There is no path of destruction. Danny is creative. Not once has he turned on the TV. Not once. He builds things out of junk; he plays with his hand held games; he reads; he rides his bike; he does whatever little homework he has; he plays with his little cousins downstairs; and his big cousins up here. There are no problems with him.
He’s not in school. And still I have no problems with him? What kid – even without his history – would be able to keep himself busy day after day after day without acting out in some way or another. But Danny doesn’t. He’s not a saint. But he’s not evil incarnate. He’s an eleven year old.
And what if I had to work a 9-5 every day? What would happen to Danny then?
But no one from the school district wants to hear that. No one chooses to respond to Danny as a person. Or to me. No one is giving him a chance. Because the reports – the damage reports – had to be sent to the school and must be listened to by the school. Because it is “ethical” to do so.
Ethical? I don’t care what the dictionary definition is: without a response to the wholeness of a person and the person’s situation, there is no “ethical.” Without giving a person a chance to redeem themselves or accept responsibility for their own future, there is no “ethical.” By presuming that what happened in the past always and automatically determines the future, there is no “ethical.”
There is rule following. There is butt-covering. And always there is bureaucracy.
But “ethical?” Ethical?
They can all kiss my unethical ass. The fight is on.
Your ass is the most ethical one I know of, Jack! Sorry to hear of this latest instance of bureaucracy at its worst doing its usual damage. Outrageous that the schools there have not yet accommodated Danny adequately. Good luck, and please keep up the good fight.
It is amazing how much we have to fight to give our children a chance to thrive. Rather than serving as a take-off point for them grow from and rise above, those reports are prisons, and the bureaucracy is afraid to unlock them and let our kids out. Just think – what would happen if they gave Danny or my John a chance, and they had a bad day? “See, I KNEW we should have trusted the IEP and not the child!” And when a child is never given trust, they never strive to earn it. Why bother? The diagnoses rule anyway, what chance does a child who is being taught to view themselves as damaged have?
Jack, you and I are fierce fighters. What disheartens me is that there are times when I have gotten weary of the battle. I will never give up when my kids are at stake, but I can see how many don’t have the stamina, or the willingness… or maybe don’t even know that they SHOULD or CAN fight. Leaving the children once again to be victimized by a system that is supposed to be helping and protect them, but instead uses those reports and diagnoses to protect itself. Bureaucracy can’t take a chance. It can’t take a risk. It can’t trust. It must self-preserve.
Fight, Jack, Fight!
GOD BLESS YOUR UNETHICAL ASS ! AND KEEP YOU STRONG FOR THE FIGHT !
Ditto to all the previous comments. A great post.
Go Jack Go! You’re brilliant! We are all with you every step of the way in whatever you do because we trust you and believe in you and we agree! Con