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Thursday, 12 July 2012
A Symptom of what is wrong with our society
I don't normally talk about my children much on here, or post photos. While I love them and am proud of them, I'm hesitant about exposing too many details about them and my private life. It's all too easy to forget how much access the world has to your information via the internet. However, something happened yesterday that deeply affected me, and my daughter, and I need to write about it.
Over the last year, there have been various changes in my daughter and her classmates. Hormones are starting to kick in. They're re-establishing themselves as individuals, as friends, and as developing teenagers. They're approaching the last year of junior school this September and the step up to secondary school. So there are a lot of power shifts, squabbles, changes of alleigance and the like. Generally I'm happy with how the school have handled it, although mid-year I almost felt pushed into stepping in after one particular incident involving another child, especially after the other parent involved chose to speak to me directly. Mostly I think it was the first stages of bitchiness that most girls seem to go through. They worked through it.
But more recently something more has happened. A lad in my daughter's class that she's friends with has become more aggressive toward her. He was recently diagnosed with autism. As both my nephew and neice also have the same condition, I understand that some allowance has to be made.
But what I don't find acceptable is that everytime he does something, she is told 'he can't help it, he has a problem.' And that when he repeatedly hurts her, she is being told it's her fault. Her fault?! When is it acceptable for a child to be repeatedly abused and be told it's her fault? If she was hitting him first, maybe. But to allow this to continue on the premise that 'he has problems'? No, I do not find that acceptable. I don't find it acceptable that she now won't speak to her teacher because he tells HER off for it. Yes, autism is a recognized medical condition that affects the behaviour of the child. I understand that. I appreciate that the school has made allowance for this child to stay in mainstream education. But if he has a 'problem' shouldn't the school be monitoring him more closely? Shouldn't they be protecting my child? The school maintains the ethos that everyone has the right to an education in a safe and welcoming environment. Right now, they are denying that to my daughter. She doesn't feel safe. She doesn't feel happy. She feels isolated. She feels that being hurt is her fault and that it's permissable for him to behave like this to her-to anyone-because he has a problem.
Well, I have a major problem with this. Not with the child. Not with his parents. But with the school. They are not keeping their promise to me to care for and educate my child. They are leaving her with psychological scars that she may never get over. They are telling my daughter that it's okay for someone to hurt her and that it is her fault. So when she gets beaten up by her boyfriend in 10 years time, that's okay because he has a 'problem'?
Victims should never, ever be told it's their fault. Their attacker had a choice. Their victim didn't. The school have chosen to excuse this boy's behaviour because he has a problem. My daughter is suffering in silence because of it. It shouldn't be her problem. And it shouldn't be mine.
So on Monday I am going to see the headmistress. I'm going to tell them it isn't acceptable and that they are breaking their own commitment to the children they claim to cherish and nuture. And if they can't do more to protect my daughter and give this boy the support and monitoring he requires for his own welfare and that of his classmates, then I will be taking her out of that school. My daughter will not be a silent victim. Even if I'm the one who has to shout for her.