I was in tears when I read how his kindergarten teacher, in some sickly misguided Survivor-esque 'council meeting', asked sixteen children in her class to vote on a classmate's inclusion - or, in this case, exclusion.
When Alex, who is in the diagnostic process for Asperger's, was allowed back in the classroom, he was asked to stand at the front of the classroom while the children in his class were encouraged to tell him what they didn't like about him. (Disgusting, annoying...)
(Oh yes, well I actually do think it is disgusting and annoying that that was allowed to happen...but those were the actual insults hurled to Alex's face.)
While this is normally the type of thing I would jump on to rant about, this story made me so incredibly sad that my brain could scarcely wrap itself around the reality of this happening.
I know, I know; terrible things happen every day...but in my very relevant world of having a child the beginning of her school career, this sent me careening.
I think of our little mountain school, the one Supergirl attends. The school in which the entire staff has taken the Tribes training course and implement these methods constantly. The ZERO tolerance for bullying or 'put-downs'. The conflict resolution training for teachers and and for the peers who become playground assistants. The way children are recognized and rewarded for committing kind and respectful acts at lunch or recess by astute monitors, and at each monthly assembly for attributes such as 'integrity' or 'determination'. The way there is a collective and cohesive attitude of 'I've got your back' among nearly all the students.
The school which mocks me with its idyllic offerings, daring me to go through with my move to Hawaii (where my children would surely suffer at the hands of one of the worst public education systems in the US, along with getting their haole asses kicked regularly)...and winning me over enough to postpone the tropics for the sake of my children's educational foundation.
Fourteen out of the sixteen voted Alex
I would love to meet the other two children and their parents. The families of the children who, in spite of peer pressure and a clear endorsement from their teacher to let their hate loose, still did not cast their votes against their classmate.
If you would like to show support for Alex and his mother, please follow the link in this update to his new email.