Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Slowly, Quietly and Excruciatingly We Were Forced Out

And so very slowly, quietly and excruciatingly my children were forced out of the very Catholic school we had kept open.

Huh??

What happened here?

How does that happen?

WTF?

.

Clearly looking over this blog it appears there is a tinge of anger over the last 12 months.

Well that's not surprising.

My children have been hurt, in the worst possible way.

By the adults I had entrusted them to.

Watching my children unravel has been the most sickening and excruciating pain I have ever had to endure.

Beautiful (Nastya Belskih by photographer Simon)

When your children are born you look into their eyes and make a promise that you will protect them.
You look at them and give thanks that they got here safely and are perfect.
You make choices to help them and protect them (what could be safer than a Catholic school?)
You give them the best you possibly can.
You sacrifice everything.

sometimes, you gotta weather the storm before you can see the rainbow

And so when one of your children unravels to the point that you do not recognise them, it becomes chaotic, unbelievable and breaks your heart in a way I don't even have words for.

I am a good person
I am honest.
I give to charities.
I teach my children manners and to respect others (yes I do)
I even created a blog to inspire myself and others.
So why this?

Isn't it ironic (yes Alannis it most certainly is)

There are no answers that I can give or be given.

(The priest could only listen in what seemed like stunned silence when I asked what had happened - and has given us no contact since - hang on, no-one has - until I demanded it, seems to be the Catholic way- silence, denial, intimidation - we've had it all )

My family has been thrown head first into the world of coping with life and diagnosis's that no one wants to hear.
Its been ugly.
Its been frightening.
Is been terribly unfair
and in our circumstances unbelievable.



How could these beautiful, magnificent souls be treated so unfairly?
They are children, and children don't lie right? (No they don't, not about the big stuff).
Don't worry we won't bother asking them what happened (because they will tell the truth?)
How could the very community I fought to help just watch us walk away?
(Or rather day after day walk out in tears because my son had had another meltdown and it was better to just let us leave than actually show some compassion or kindness).
How could these children lose trust in every single adult at school?

Awkward, uncomfortable?

I don't really care as I have been coping with judgements and accusations for some time now.

Just blame the parents, its easier.

It must surely come from home.

"Your child cannot be motivated"

"He will end up in gaol"
while insinuating that he must watch porn on the computer in the home

Huh?

A worried mom

Hang on, my child was coming home from school begging me to kill him not the other way around.
I was picking my children up from school in tears and they were begging me not to send them in there in the mornings.

 Something seems wrong here.

(White elephant, white elephant)

Didn't the issues include that he was let walk back to school unsupervised, or that the phone was hung up on him when he was calling his mother for help, or that I was asked to keep him home from an excursion?  (This happened regularly).
Or that I was blatantly lied too and my children were made to feel worthless.
That sounds more like it.
Holy Moses no wonder my son swore at them.

And what happened when I complained, when I asked for help?

Several times.

After all it's a Catholic school that promotes itself with pastoral care.....

“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.”  —  St. Augustine (354–430)

Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
You know the sound of crickets at night?

And so sadly after so much pain, after so much bullying towards my family we had to walk away.
(Clearly in the best interests of my children)
We didn't want to, we were completely forced out.

But it was your decision.
(Hang on when I cannot even get my children through the front gate without dragging them - there is no decision to make)

And the big question - what is happening in there to make my child behave in this way?
(That's ok just ignore that one, clearly not important)

We are sorry to see you go - really, really?  The last 12 months I am sure certain people could not wait to see the back of me, certainly we were made feel that way, so please don't be condescending towards my family any more.

I will endure the flicks of the wrist I receive now as they dismiss me only because I know I have done nothing wrong.  I did not lie to protect adults or cover up mistakes and ignorance.

Why didn't I leave earlier when things were so awful?
Because I am Catholic and I truly believed that someone would stand up and do the right thing.
I gave adults every chance to right the wrongs, speak up.
Listen to my concerns.
I consistently asked why my child was getting to the point were where he was having daily meltdowns at this school.
No answer.
I kept my faith even when we had lost everything else.
I had fought so hard to keep this school open (who else was going to spend every weekend alone in a cold school photocopying flyers to send out to the community or spend every moment of the last 6 years doing everything they could to promote it).

On another side what happens when I leave with my family and the community then has to face up to the fact that the school has failed in its duty of care to this family.

I had wanted to give my children the Catholic education which I had fought so hard for in my community.

Every child matters???

Really?

There is a now a school in town that I kept open and we cannot attend.

Why?

Because my children were not wanted maybe?

Because the issues my son faced were too difficult? (these issues arose at school, deal with it)

Because once again, the school failed in its duty of care?

Because, because, because.

If you ask my son he will tell you, quite maturely what the problem was.

Arr there's that white elephant in the room, actually its everywhere we go now.


truth

At no time did we ever do anything wrong and were completely honest and compliant.

All we did was ask for help.

All I got was phone call after phone to come and collect my son to the point where I now have difficulty answering my mobile without a panic attack.  (This is normal I am told).

Many parents know the feeling of being called to collect their children when they can no longer remain at school - that is a whole different story.  Living like this puts you in a whole different universe to everyone else.

Over the last 12 months my family changed in a way I could not recognise or understand.  Living on a daily roller coaster of emotions which swing from extreme to extreme is mind blowing.
Exhaustion sets in and you go onto auto pilot.
You remove yourself from social situations because it is just too hard to talk about and most times just too hard to speak.
You spend night after night lying in bed with your children while they cry themselves to sleep because the anxiety, emotion and confusion is all consuming and overwhelming.

My daughter made her First Communion recently and we were asked to think of a time when the family is doing something together - all I could come up with was family trauma counselling!
Such is our life.

So why now are my children doing as they were 18 months ago.

Magnificently.

What?

I am not complaining, I am just not use to it anymore.
A good day, what's that?

I guess when you remove the children from the source of the hurt things will improve.

I will never forget how the hierarchy just stood back and let my children down.

And so if I seem sad, I am.
Hurt, oh yes.
Confused, terribly.
Anger is a part of the process.
We were just an everyday family that had a great injustice done to us.
Unfair - oh there are no words to describe the unfairness of it all.
And a situation that became so bizarre that I cannot even explain it when I am asked.

Out of this comes many issues which we now have to deal with as a family.
For my other children watching their sibling unravel has been terribly damaging.
Watching them now doing so well is just as confusing.

What happened?

One, two, cha-cha-cha...

We had to contend with personalities that appeared to be on a somewhat misguided power trip.

Somehow I think Mary McKillop would be terribly disappointed too.

Our world has been shaken to the core from our experience.
We feel like we have been through some kind of a war.
(Yes we have survived but only just and there is a long way to go)
We are the terribly fragile, battered, confused and bruised family that I guess had to live out this time to become better.
But none of it needed to have happened.
Most of it was avoidable.
Children just need to feel safe, not react like they are in a war zone.

zen

And so what was it all for?
Why did I strive so hard for something that has now turned our world upside down and turned its back on my children?
I hold onto the hope that there is greatness ahead for my family.

I have so much respect for families that live day in day out with children that have all these challenges.
ADHD, ODD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, etc etc there are so many that you can list them down the page.
There is very little understanding for families who go through this.
There are the judgements and there is discrimination.
Too hard for most people.
These are the families who go through daily hell, quietly and unnoticed most of the time.
These are the children who need understanding and love.
These are the children who have qualities that most of us can only dream about.
They are unique, precious and deserve the same treatment as every other child.
Why write about it here?  If I dont speak up for my children no one will.



Schools.
They are a slippery slope.
Our experience is hopefully an isolated case.
Fortunately I believe most teachers and caregivers are good and try to help.

Our journey does not end here.
Slowly each day we begin to pick up the pieces again and feel our way back.
Slowly each day we try to forgive and forget - but it's a process.
Slowly each day we remember the few people who stood by us and didn't back down, even when the sky was falling in and we could not make sense of anything.
(This was not once or twice but crisis after crisis day after day).
We know as a family the type of people we do not want to become.
We will stand up for others who need it when it is the unpopular thing to do.
We will show kindness and love for others and forgive those who have wronged us.
We will continue to help each of our family through the struggles.
Everyday I educate myself on how I can help my family.
I hope one day I will find my faith in the Catholic system again.

And....



There is a line in a song for every emotion.
We have sung and danced to them all.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”


Amen




5 comments:

  1. Oh this breaks my heart reading this :( I too pulled my son (aspergers/adhd/dypsraxia) out of the Catholic System. My daughter cruised through ok, but she didn't have challenges, and was what they wanted. Concerning my son though - we went through the exact same things... He spent most of his Kindergarten year on a contract!! It was his third grade teacher that did my head in though and the straw that broke the camel's back was an email I got telling me how tiresome she found my son!

    I was always there helping with reading groups, grandparent's day, canteen etc... but in the end my child was "too hard".

    He had a fabulous public education when I moved him to our local village school who gave him back some of his self-esteem and kids that were very forgiving and accepting with my child.

    He's having a tricky time in High School now, and while his support class is great, he's finding the rest of it hard, and yes, some of the mainstream teachers just don't get it!!

    I really feel your anguish and pain because I have been there too (and I still feel it).

    I wish you the best for your beautiful family and you too xoxo

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  2. I am so sorry to hear of this terrible injustice and my heart goes out to you all.
    Sally-Ann xx

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  3. I'm saddened to hear of your son's experiences as school. You're very brave to make the change and it will all be for the better I'm sure!! Donna x

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  4. I cry for you again. Jane x

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