Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Continued . . . Racism Still Exists

The first thing I must do is apologize for the delay between posts about this topic. I find it to be a very emotional topic for me, and thus it is very draining when I do write about it. Hence, I tend to kind of wait until I know I can "handle" writing about how this topic has affected my family.

I left off with the remark that keeping DQ in her school was a decision that we would live to regret. Pretty drastric remark, but it truly reflects what consequences that decision had on us. In retrospect, I wish we had made a different decision, but it doesn't do any good to ponder the "what if's". It is what it is. I do know, in the long run, it has made all of us (in particular, DQ) stronger and closer. So, in that regard, all is not in vain.


DQ was going to go back to her "old" school for 8th grade due to all the upheaval she experienced during 7th grade at the junior high she had enrolled at the previous year. However, a couple of weeks before 8th grade started, she had a change of heart, and decided to return. She said she had wanted to "make a difference" at that school, and show them how to overcome their preconceived ideas about different races. I had a talk with the principal, and he assured me all would be well, and that he and the teachers would monitor things closely. About three weeks into the school year, DQ's sister became ill again, and was hospitalized for awhile, plus had several outpatient procedures which required a lot of time away from home on my part. I wasn't able to monitor DQ's emotional state nor her progress in school. By the end of October, I found out that all was not well at her school. Her grades were slipping, and she was moodier than normal. DQ has ADD, and I had asked the teachers repeatedly to do certain interventions to help her out. None of the interventions would have required much effort from the teachers, but their attitude was one of being put out by my requests rather than interested in the well-being of DQ. Her teachers had the attitude that DQ was "lazy" or "irresponsible" rather than trying to help her develop some organizational skills within their classrooms to help her achieve. I could do some of these things at home, but I couldn't be present with her all the time at school. I went to the principal over this, and it fell on deaf ears. Finally, in December, when DQ began speaking about some of the treatment she was getting from the kids, I went to the principal again. I told him about my frustrations about the so-called Christian learning environment within his school, and I said that I was considering withdrawing DQ. His response? "Well, we'd hate to lose another student, but if you feel the need to do so, then I will understand". Nothing whatsoever about trying to meet DQ's social or academic needs. Oh - and did you notice that he had not even called DQ by name, and just referred to her as "another student"?

The holidays came and went, and during this time period, I was able to spend some more time with DQ. She told me of being taunted by the other kids. They would say to her "you have no friends". They would say to her "If you don't like it here, they why don't you just leave?". They would exclude her from group activities and discussions. They would turn their backs when she'd enter the room. They would giggle when they'd see her, and lower their voices as she'd walk by. When the class went to a game at a larger town, they saw a group of black teenagers, and they kept on commenting - "Why do THEY dress that way?" (in reference to the style of clothing and jewelry). We discussed ways of handling this, and she really wanted to go back and try once again. I decided to bring it up again at the next school board meeting (I was president). I did some research to ascertain how many kids had left the school over the past two years, and perhaps not too surprisingly, what I found out was astounding. This little school of around 100 students had about 10 kids leave the year before. Five of them were from a different race. Two of them were overweight and ridiculed by others. One who left was "popular", but her parents saw what was going on within that environment, and wanted to get their child out of there. Another one left due to financial reasons, and the final one left due to being sexually assaulted by another student.

I was unable to discuss this at the January or February school board meeting because the principal circumvented the discussion (I wasn't even able to get it on the agenda). In mid-February, the proverbial shit hit the fan.

DQ walked in on a conversation that the "cool" kids were having with one of DQ's male friends, another biracial kid. They said something about him having black toes, and asked him if he got them when he lived in Africa. SAY WHAT???? DQ was furious, and hauled off and hit the "queen bee" of the girls in the face. The girl hit DQ back. Obviously, they were both sent to the office, and they were suspended for one day. The principal spoke to them together, and he actually had the audacity to say "Now, Queen Bee, you know that because of DQ's skin color, she is at a DISADVANTAGE". . . It was later that DQ told me that she felt like screaming "I am NOT at a disadvantage". She kept her mouth shut, but later when we were talking about it, I explained the remark to her in this way: some people say things like that out of ignorance, others out of fear, and even others out of pure hate. I said I doubted that he was saying that because he hated her or was fearful of her, but rather because he just didn't understand what he was saying and how he perceived her race.
Now, mind you, DQ has never hit anybody. When she got home, she burst into tears when telling me about the whole incident. She felt absolutely HORRIBLE about herself for doing it. She said "Mom, I tried to use my words with Queen Bee and the other kids, I tried to tell the teachers and the guidance counselor and the principal - and you tried, too, but nothing helped - it didn't help!".

My next entry will be about what I said to the principal when he called me about this incident, and how I handled it with the school board. Believe me, I am like a lioness when it comes to protecting my kids, so be prepared. . . In the meantime, I am heading off to Michigan in the morning, and won't be back until Sunday night, so I won't be posting again until Monday. Have a great weekend, everybody!


At 11:22 PM, Blogger QueenBee said...

I am not an advocate for violence and I don't think it is the answer. But in this case, I just can't help but say, "Go DQ." When you wrote that she hauled off and hit Queen Bee, I almost cheered. Sometimes, people just suck.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger The Gray Tie said...

Good for DQ, yeah that's right I said good for DQ. LOL But I am sorry she had to go thru this crap. I can't wait to read next installment and how you handled this situation.

Have fun in Michigan...wait, Michigan? LOL

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Tyra said...

It's awful how cruel other kids can be. Your daughter shows incredible strength for even wanting to face that again. After a while I think even the most gentle of kids just lose it which is what DQ did the day she hit Queen Bee.

My daughter is going through some drama at school right now. A girl she considered a friend has made it her mission to make her miserable this week.

Have a wonderful visit with your family.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Hi Cindy: Thanks for stopping by! I almost cheered, too, because I hate violence, too - and so does DQ, which is why she felt so bad about doing what she did. I visited your blog, and will come back again to leave a comment.

Hi Carol - Yup, I had the same reaction "Good for you!". I didn't say that to her right away, but her doctor did! And yes - I am a Wolverine fan - I take it you're a Buckeye fan (seeing how you lived in Ohio for awhile)?! It was very "interesting" when I was going to college at OSU!

Tyra - Kids in this age group are extremely cruel - and there needs to be some sort of program(s) in schools to nip it in the bud. I hope your daughter is able to withstand the meanness.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

I have had my children in parochial schools in the past, ironically they were subjected to more crap there than in public schools. Many of the religious schools are cliquish and are often full of students whose parents are using that school as the 'last chance for little Johnnie'. I reached a point where I had had it, pulled my kids and put them in the local public schools. I have never regretted that decision. Public school boards are pretty much required to listen to parents, not so in the private. Your daughter did the right thing, yes, the right thing. At some point someone needs to shut Queen Bee up.

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Nettie said...

Wow, I can understand how this would be difficult to write, but s very powerful when you do.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Julana said...

What a tough experience to have in high school. I am so sorry your daughter had to go through that. I have also heard that Christian schools can be cliquish, and tougher than some public schools, in that way.
Given the track record of that school, it sounds worse than the norm, for Christian schools.

(I think you used your daughter's real name in one place.)
I hope you have a great trip.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Thanks for leaving me the message to come read the next installment. I've been busier than all get out this week and have barely read any blogs.

This...this was definitely worth my time, though. I know this kindo f thing still goes on in schools across the country but for the life of me I don't understand why. These children - who exactly ARE their parents and WHY are they out there reproducing??? Oh...that's keep the "others" from taking over.

Can't wait for the next part of the story...

At 9:50 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Stacy: I think that a lot of private schools are as you describe. My mistake was thinking I could somehow "change" this school in particular!

Nettie: Thanks for stopping by!

Julana: Yes, I think this school is worse than others. Thanks for letting me know about using DQ's real name - I corrected it! I had a great time in Michigan!!!

Jules: I'll be working on the next installment later this week. I hope you had a great visit with your folks!

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Tony said...

I am sorry to hear of your daughter's problem. I had the same issue with my daughter, and we both went into school to talk with the principal. I have always told her that if she's in the right, she can always count on me in her corner.

The short story is, the principal was very understanding. He said that there was zero tolerance for harassment at his school, and he told us the steps he was going to take in the order he was going to take them with contingencies and he would let us know the status every step of the way.

This is a public school, BTW, but in a small suburb we moved to specifically for the school system.

Everything worked out. I hope it works out for your daughter.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Tyra said...

Hey Val, I tagged you, come visit to find out!

Hope you are well!


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