Paralysis is my reaction to the extreme pain I see reflected on Karen’s face each day, for the last few weeks. She’s been shut out by the girls in her class. The boys are willing to play football with her, but don’t want to be friends. And now, even the “nice” teachers and school admins are sick of her anti social behavior. She has only us and home as her refuge from the real world. Even the school principal came up to Karen and DH and told them it’s time to look for a different school. Karen was deeply hurt by the rejection of an authority figure who had, up until recently, done a lot to get Karen to trust her. Now the trust is gone, and a child who has already faced the ultimate rejection, is again abandoned by someone she was expected to trust.
I originally ignored the bizarre statistics I’d heard, that up to 60% of the children in our area are on psychotropic meds to keep them functioning as automatons of the school system. I thought the number was inflated by reactionary parents. But no, I met a teacher from a kibbutz school, traditionally considered “better” schools with smaller classes. She told me about half the students are on Ritalin or it’s relatives. Those numbers are completely crazy. It’s not our kids, it’s the molds they are being forced into by the modern world. It’s making me want to live off the grid…as I ever could!
The school wants us to take some sort of drastic action. We’re not sure what, yet. Meeting the whole crew from school next week to hear the principal’s verdict. They can’t force us to medicate her, but they can make her life, and ours very unpleasant if we choose not to. We suggested they transfer her to a different first grade class, one with a more experienced, and stronger teacher. So far, they’ve refused, but it may be the only option open to them at this point. Of course they wield the ultimate weapon. Apparently someone has mentioned it to Karen, because she’s terrified they are going to suddenly switch her to a different school. I did my homework today and found out it’s not so easy, but if the principal is convinced nothing can be done to turn Karen into a pliable student, like all ordinary, domesticated students, she has declared herself willing to force us out of her school.
Our plan, as parents, is to be as supportive as possible because she really needs to be reminded regularly that she’s not inherently “bad”. Last week, at bedtime, she told me, “I was already bad even before I was born. I’m bad from before I came out of the tummy”. All I can do is keep on pointing out the kind things she does. Her therapist started a book with her, where, at the end of each day, we list the times she was able to overcome her desire to do something to hurt someone else. We also list anything especially nice she has done for others. The point is to keep her focused on the positive actions she accomplishes. She already gets enough attention for the negative ones.