Monday, June 22, 2009

Part Three

A few of you have asked what our plans are for Jacob next year.


As of right this minute Jacob will be attending third grade at his usual school. We have already paid almost three hundred dollars on materials, paper fees, and the ransom to hold his spot. I know we shouldn't base whether or not our child is happy and safe on money, but truly, that's a lot of money. Non-refundable money.

After the field day fiasco, which in all honesty didn't seem to bother him in the least, I was ready to pull him out of there that very day. When we got home I composed myself and made a list of our options: 1. stay there, 2. home-school, and 3. our local public school. Then I presented them to Jacob. In detail. I offered to drive him to the public school right then so he could look around (we had only a half day that day). We got as far as the parking lot and then he refused to go in. We researched home-schooling curriculum on the internet. That lasted five minutes. When he realized we'd actually have to WORK! At HOME! He wasn't as interested.

Jacob likes his school. He has a few friends and he likes seeing them every day. He likes studying scripture and doing bible study and going to chapel. I've found other Christian schools, but we can't afford them. We are barely affording this one.

We're not against public school. Our new neighborhood school is one of the best in the district. We'd love to save four hundred some dollars a month, believe me. I just don't know that things would be any different for him there. See, Jacob has always been bullied in some way or another. As a toddler at Gymboree he was pushed off the equipment and shunned by the other teeny toddlers who would run screaming away when he tried to play with them. I've seen kids wing basketballs at his head at church. I've heard strangers call him weirdo at random festivals, the beach, the library. Everywhere we go it seems some kid will approach me and ask me to tell my weird kid to leave them alone, that they don't want to play with him, that he is bothering them, that he's not in their club. Something. How do you respond to that? I used to take my exuberant son by the hand and lead him somewhere else to play alone. Somewhere with our backs away from the others so they couldn't see me cry. I still do that sometimes because I try to shield my baby from the cruelty that is other people's children. Most of the time, though, I tell the whiny-ass kid who is complaining to go somewhere else if he's bothered so much. Or not to go out to a public place if he can't learn to deal with others. In a nice way of course. It seems to work. At least the evil-eye usually does. It's just I can't be there at school all day to intercept the meanies for him. He has to take them head-on at school.

I take him every two weeks to see a counselor who I hope can give him some strategies to deal with the bullies and also sort through any issues he might be having that he doesn't tell us about. I do get the sense that he's embarrassed to discuss these things with me or his dad. Hopefully she'll be able to help him.

If it doesn't help and things don't improve next year, I'm preparing to home-school if necessary. The mom of one of Jacob's friends here in the neighborhood told me she was going to be home-schooling next year and is on the waitlist for a virtual school through the state. I'm thinking of getting on the waitlist too. Just in case. I don't know how well Jacob would work for me, but I do think it might be a good opportunity to learn with his friend and I like that I'd have someone to back me up and help me out.

But for now, Jacob's going to third grade in August to his usual school. We're going to hope for the best. But we're preparing for the worst.

***Edited to Add***

I DID talk with the principal. Not only about wanting to talk with the recess teacher, but with all the other things that had been happening as well. Yes, I am ticked about the teacher's treatment of my child. But after talking to a friend of mine who has already gone through this with her now high school kids, I was encouraged to back off that issue until the bigger issue, the bullies, was resolved. The principal is aware that she MAY have said that, but, of course, without proof....well, you know. So I chose to focus my complaints on the reason I ended up there in the first place: the bullies. I am confident, after our discussion, that Jacob will be separated from those kids next year and more effort will be placed on seeing that bullying isn't tolerated from any children. I think she'll make sure recess is monitored more carefully in the future as well. I still wanted to talk with the recess teacher. If I knew which one she was, I'd approach her with it next year even. I love my kid and I hate more than anything that he was treated like that, but I had to let that go. The rage I felt toward that woman was taking me over, I had to channel it in a different way so I did what I could. I also needed to teach Jacob that sometimes in life people are mean. Sometimes Mommy can't always make it better. But we can still be happy even after someone has made us sad. It may not have been the right way, but at the time it was the best way for us.


gingermagnolia said...

I tried to comment to your other posts, but it wouldn't let me.

I can't believe that the recess teacher was allowed to get away with saying those things. What kind of teacher encourages the alienation of a student??

I hope he has a better year next year. Maybe some of the bullies will move?

andria said...

I did forget to add that the principal and I spoke and she is arranging for him not to be in class with the two main bullies next year.

I think the recess teacher is just some lady who thinks her kid is the bomb and has found a way to be around him all day. When I told a friend what had happened, she said something similar happened to her kid and she filed a complaint against her. I'm hoping she won't be there next year.

Jana said...

I am outraged by what has happened to your sweet little guy. What kind of parents let their kids do and say such horrible things?!? And don't get me started on that recess "teacher." Wtf?

Jacob sounds like a really imaginative, fun person to hang out with and I hope he finds a couple of friends to pal around with next year.

Dana said...

Jacob will go really far in this world. He sounds like a very unique individual who has the ability to really think outside the box. PLUS, it seems that he is very sweet, well meaning and quick to forgive. You, my friend, are raising a gem of a boy who will turn into a wonderful man despite and BECAUSE of what he's had to endure. He will never be the bossy, bullying type because he knows too well how painful it is to be on the receiving end of such treatment. Be proud of your little boy. He's awesome!

Mommy Daisy said...

I think you've come to a great solution. Jacob is old enough to make some of the choice himself. And it DOES say a lot that he still likes the school. I think he seems like the sweetest child ever, and I don't get how kids are cruel in general. I know it happens, but it's pretty sad. Good luck in the new school year. I'd say keep on the principal to make things better for everyone involved.

Aunt Murry said...

It sad that he has to learn that lesson at such a young age or that he has to learn that at all.

Aunt Becky said...

My heart aches for him. I was never bullied (shocking, I know) but my brother was teased mercilessly for years. It broke my heart.

Tell Jacob his Aunt Becky will kick the butt of anyone he needs me to.

Kether said...

I'm so sad for Jacob, but this also makes me scared for Liam. He, too, is the "weird kid"
Other kids don't seem to get him...and he doesn't get them.

I hope that as he ages Jacob learns to deal with all of this. I think you're doing an amazing job!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

It's so sad. I think bullies are everywhere now because they learn it from their parents (JMHO). My son has them at his Christian school but he rides with them on the public school bus (and 1 lives across the street which made me go house shopping in May but we aren't moving). My friend who's son rides a different bus deals with them there too. It's like you can't get away from it. It's really sad and my heart breaks for your son. He seems to be getting it really hard at school. I hope the principal makes good on her word. I hope next year is easier for him.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

This mom thing is tougher than we were told, isn't it?

You're doing a good job, Andria. You're trying everything you can to try and protect and help him.

Miss Hope said...

I hear you loud and clear. We all jumped and were ready to take these people on in our Motherly Raged up selves...but you had it under control the entire time.

My sweet ADHD baby. How many times I've had to lead him away because other kids can't handle his "spirited" self.

We got your back and you got our support!

Lynsey said...

wow....I'm just speechless, didn't realize how tough things had gotten. My older brother was brutally bullied for years due to the eye glasses he wore. I'll never forget each and every time he was hauled out behind the school so that numerous kids could take turns beating him up. I just cannot stomach the memories and I also will not be able to stomach if someone ever treats my kid in that manner.

I will say this, my brother is now one of the finest human beings on the planet. Happily married to a wonderful girl, 3 healthy, happy children. NOW, every time I mention he's my brother, I get "oh he's a nice guy, didn't know you were related. Tell him I said hi!"

Jacob is and always will be an awesome person, thanks to everything you are doing for him. You're a wonderful Mom, keep up the work Andria.

Brendan and Brenna's Mom said...

My son had a problem w/ bullies when he was in fourth grade. It didn't really start until 4th grade, and he didn't have teacher who was willing to help. It got to the point that he didn't want to do school work, and had 40+ missing assingments in one semester. After much soul searching, we decided to switch schools. My son did not want to go. But after meeting the principal and getting a tour of the school, he finally relented. It was the best decision we have ever made. He is like a new person. He's making straight A's now, and loves every minute of school. I know what you are going through. I remember feeling physically ill knowing that I was sending him to school, and his day was going to suck. I considered home schooling too, but he was not having it. He LIKES school. Just not THAT school. I had to go w/ my gut and pull him out. He was going into the 5th grade, and it was hard, but after a week he was part of the class.

I feel your pain. I hope that you can find a solution.