Parent/Teacher conferences happened last week at SonHerisme’s school.
This is one of the very, very extremely, limited times parents are permitted to see inside their children’s classroom, or the inside of the school environment at all.
Our school has very exacting leadership. A militant Montessori, some might say.
The school is the domain of children and teachers, where families and parents are not permitted or included.
The conferences are strictly scheduled in 15 minute increments, twice per school year. During two scheduled weeks during the school year, 20 minute opportunities to observe your child’s classroom are offered, but only to one parent at a time, and only if you secure the time slot before the other 100 or so parents. There is also a 15 minute opportunity to join in your child’s classroom for their Walk-Around-the-Sun (Montessori birthday celebration).
Why are we still there?
The teachers and parent community are unusually wonderful at this school. I helped to build the school, as a founder. While I am not on the same page with the leadership of the school, I am not currently in a position to help facilitate change, and the broader community of the school has been indispensable to us.
Also, despite having a horrific introduction into formal schooling (we were homeschooling prior to attending school), I was not in a position to even move SonHerisme into a different classroom. My every move and breath was being questioned and picked apart by my attorney, SonHerisme’s attorney, and MrexH’s seemingly never-ending series of attorneys (each of whom firmly believed they were going to catch me doing or being something awful, so that they could vie for MrexH’s position with the court system – because that makes TOTAL SENSE when you are looking at a mentally ill person threatening to kill his family, with a history of abuse…yup, totally).
Anywho, the school leadership blatantly told me that, if asked by an attorney, therapist or social worker, they would not support my request to remove my child from the destructive abusive classroom situation he was in, or to change his school environment. The school leadership’s position was that I would be harming SonHerisme’s education if I chose to school him differently. The school leadership is considered an expert on the subject of my child’s education, not me. This felt like a threat to our safety.
The school leadership described me to SonHerisme’s attorney as an “over-protective” “hypervigilant” mother… UM, YES because MrexH wants to KILL us, perhaps…?
This communication between SonHerisme’s attorney and the school leadership cost me countless sleepless nights, loss of trust in the leadership, and probably close to $1000 in attorney’s fees to explain myself – never mind the hours of my time in communications with those attorneys, our therapists etc, that most assuredly took my time AWAY from a confused and hurting SonHerisme who just desperately needed my presence and assurances.
The school environment we entered had an entirely unprepared incompetent teacher and was rampant with extremely poor aggressive violent behaviors and bullying. Most of the 30 children that were in that classroom 2014-2015, are still trying to normalize and catch up to their peers – even the half of the class that removed their children due to this horrific school situation.
While that particular teacher was not permitted to return to the school the following school year, the damage was done. And I remained confined by the threats of attorneys and the attitude of the school leadership, to keep my child in that environment.
Those of you reading this and thinking, “This would never happen to my child! Unacceptable! I would pull my child out of there in a heartbeat and give them a piece of my mind!”
Be my guest.
Walk my path.
(but holy bejeezus, I hope NOT)
Have multiple attorneys threaten you with the safety and well-being of your child.
One threat: to send some stranger, in a van, to your home to physically remove your ptsd anxiety ridden child, and force your child to spend time with his abusive clinically psychotic father (who wants to murder SonHerisme and Herisme), if you make any questionable decisions or moves. You know, because it turns out that, according to attorneys and potentially the court, it’s probably ME that had the problem – you know because of my anxiety about MrexH, and I am too overprotective and hypervigilant. Yeah, that was the REAL problem here…
And so, you move those feelings to somewhere else (dissociation much?), and wake up in the morning to take your screaming crying frightened child into, what you KNOW, is an abusive school situation, and you leave him there because you’re fairly certain no one is going to murder him in a public Montessori school with a tough-as-nails, protective school secretary, watching the front door.
The unknown social worker in the van transporting your child to his psychotic abusive father is what you are avoiding.
Once that teacher was not invited back to the school for the 2015-2016 school year, new teachers arrived, and a new school secretary (the previous secretary made an extra effort to introduce SonHerisme to the new secretary and let him know that the new secretary knew how to keep him safe too. I truly appreciated that!). The school leadership divided that classroom of children into smaller groups, so that they could have a chance to normalize into the environment.
So far, so good, in terms of the classroom dynamics shifting and allowing education and positive learning to take place. Of course, this is only as far as I can tell from observing my child outside of school, as no parent is permitted inside, except on the occasions listed above.
However, the recovery is taking extra time for us because not only did we have to move through the tragedies of our home environment, but also the severe tragedy of an abusive school environment 2014-2015, as well.
Which brings me back to the school conference, now that there is context for what comes next.
The consistent and patient teacher SonHerisme is in his second year with (multiage Montessori classrooms, he has not been held back), shared with me that SonHerisme confided he was worried sometimes at night because his dad wants to kill him.
Holy Fduck (D-)
At a follow-up meeting about extra educational support for SonHerisme, his teacher shared that SonHerisme told his peers in a classroom discussion about sad things in everyone’s lives, that his dad wants to, and tried to, kill him.
Holy Fduck (D-)
When the class discussion moved on to how to deal with the saddnesses, SonHerisme’s response was, “you just forget about it.”
Or, SonHerisme is growing, changing, and starting to forget somethings and remember other things in a different, maturing way.
I hope that my lessons to SonHerisme are not that the primary processing of emotions includes dismissing them, disposing them.
I want him to be able to acknowledge emotions,
move successfully and healthily through the strongest of them,
to live his long, healthy, full, fulfilling and safe life.
Maybe I am too good at dissociation and disposing of my own emotions to know how to guide him through this.
Thank G-d, and the generosity of SonHerisme’s therapist,
his therapy continues weekly.
Obvs I need to be in therapy – which takes private insurance – which takes money – which takes an income – which requires employment.
In time. I feel that I will get there.
In the meantime, thank you all for your patience.
If you know me irl and know our school, please be kind in your judgements of them and of me. Challenging extremely unpleasant circumstances tend to bring out the worst in everybody.
Love, Ms. Herisme xo
ps. yes, it continues to be difficult for me as an adult to process what has occurred. I cannot imagine how these situations have formulated SonHerisme’s young little being. *spirals into worry*