Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Wednesday - Today my daughter called from school at noon to say, "They won't let me eat any food, just like yesterday. Come and get me." She's had a terrible couple of days there. She's just so unhappy in the program she's assigned to (and she's got all my sympathy on that). I am guessing that if she'd stayed she'd eventually been given the chance to eat. When I arrived she was with the principal in the hallway, holding a plate of food. She still wanted to go home. We talked with her therapist for a few mintues... as she just happened to be there today.

I told the principal to tell the teachers to take my child's disabilities into consideration and not to think she should behave just like other kids. I also requested that they not withhold food or bathroom visits from her (the no-bathroom-access incident was yesterday's news).

On the way home I noticed the Indian Creek Café was open and so we stopped and got some goodies at JavaBob's... chatted with Bob for a while and then the woman I do web maintenance for came in and we chatted with her too. It was fun, my daughter was happy, and we all had a great time. Now my daughter's back in her bedroom enjoying her computer and TV. She brought homework home from school and I'm sure she'll get that done too. She's really dedicated to doing her schoolwork and looking forward to her graduation ceremony and dance in June.

I think a lot of the reason for so much unhappiness at school this week is the standardized "star" testing they're doing right now. I'm surprised I was never notified of the testing in advance. No wonder most parents don't know they have the option of not having their children tested. If I'd known, I would have discussed it with my daughter and asked if she wanted to take the testing or not. It is mandatory for the school, not for individual students! I'd sign the form or write a letter to the school (to have her exempted) in a flash if I knew my daughter didn't want to be tested.

Pretty much, though, I leave it to her to make decisions about her own education. I believe kids are capable of deciding what to do with their lives, to a certain extent. Compulsion (in matters not having to do with safety) is often destructive to a child's emotional well-being and development of independent, analytical thinking. I want my kids to make decisions and learn from mistakes, just like adults do... just as is natural for all human beings.

If people are constantly told what to do (as is common in the schools) they are getting the hidden message they are incompetent to decide what's best for themselves. It damages self-esteem. Ask me, I know.

I like this quote that I found yesterday in The Teenage Liberation Handbook: "Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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