inclusion, exclusion, privacy, the 1st day of school and, sigh, picking the battles

Here under The Big Top we are officially BACK TO SCHOOL!

Can I hear a YEAH, BABY!!!??

OH, YEAH BABY!!!

And for the first time since 1997 I only have one child of mine heading back to school which means…

yeah, I know it means this is my last baby and all my babies are growing up…

More importantly, this means that I only had ONE ream of repetitive back to school paperwork to fill out, also known as “Mom-work” in Daniel’s classroom this year. For the record, I got my Mom-work done.

Leading up to the first day of school was so much excitement and nervous energy…totally normal I assure Daniel. Hazel excitedly shared the day before how she couldn’t wait to go to her school and see her name posted under the name of her assigned first grade teacher. Who would it be? She was so excited with the anticipation of it all as were pretty much every other K-8 child in this town. It’s part of the Back to School tradition.

Daniel wanted to be a part of that too. Last year we went to his school the day before the first day to view the class lists and…nothing. We downplayed it reminding him that we had the letter from the district telling him what school he would be going to and he wiped away the tears but not the worry…what if his name wasn’t there for a reason? But the next morning the principal assured him that yes he was at her school and in Mrs. B’s 4-6 SDC class. It’s privacy concerns she tells me when I ask why his class list wasn’t posted.

Privacy?

Privacy. People might KNOW that he is in the SDC class, she explains with a warm smile.

Um, okay. They already know.

So this year I decide to call the school and ask do I bother to drive over to the school. Do I put my child through that feeling of exclusion again?

You don’t need to come, I am told. Daniel will be in Mrs. B’s 4-6 SDC class.

Okay.

YES! Daniel is thrilled. Daniel is also kind of disappointed.

Disappointed? The principal wonders why.

Well, he doesn’t get to participate in that annual ritual of going to the school the day before the first day and looking for his name…and then the names of his friends.

I’m reminded again of the importance to respect his privacy which is why the SDC classes are never made public…at least at this particular campus in the MUSD district.

I think the principal heard my head thud on my desk because she then commented that I might not like that policy.

I don’t. Daniel (and his classmates in Mrs. B’s 4-6 class) are known on campus. All of them spend some length of time every day in mainstream classrooms. They participate in all activities on that campus. Everyone knows them.

Respecting their privacy?

I don’t get that.

My son, and his classmates might be differently abled. Perhaps they learn at a different pace or in a different way. Still they are included in classroom settings with their also “normal” abled peers…and the benefits abound. We’ve seen it in interactions through the years with Daniel’s teachers, with his classmates and with their families. And we have seen our son, and his SDC peers thrive…thrive in the least restrictive environment for them, for their classmates (normal and different), for their teachers and support staff and for the families. Yes, some families and even a few teachers struggle with this, but overall the results are positive all around on campus and I imagine, wish, hope and pray will continue to grow and flourish as my son becomes a young man.

No, I don’t get it. I respectfully disagree with respecting their privacy, I explain to the principal. I’m glad that I called the school first, I tell her. I’d hate for Daniel to again feel excluded from this back to school tradition.

She never thought of it that way, she tells me.

I know.

I could fight. I could argue with her. But I don’t. You pick your battles. This isn’t even an argument I decide.

We need to focus on this.

6th grade life, people!!!

And let us not forget, 1st grade! Hazel Faye is now a 1st grader!!!

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One thought on “inclusion, exclusion, privacy, the 1st day of school and, sigh, picking the battles

  1. Daniel’s program sounds very similar to Tyler’s. We are so glad we found it for him last year. He finished out the year on a high note. Kids here are notified individually by letter/packet that we pick up a week or two before school starts. All kids. The packets have all those lovely forms too. LOL I have two sets this year still. 🙂

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