My fifth grader brought home her class picture last week. It’s so fun to see the different kids in her class. I pointed out one boy and said, “He’s a cutie,” and she said, “Well, he’s gone.” Gone? Gone where? She went on to say that this boy has been expelled. When I asked her for how long, she said he wasn’t coming back. Ever?! A boy who has been a classmate for 6 years is just “gone?”
My mind immediately went to the possibilities of why he was expelled. Obviously, the school wasn’t a good fit for him. Does he have a diagnosis? ADHD? ODD? Something else – NOS (Not Otherwise Specified?) Poor kid. Poor parents. I am sure this decision wasn’t made lightly and the school has an obligation to keep all kids safe so I’m not saying that this child shouldn’t have been expelled, I’m just saying that it is truly sad that he was. Again, poor kid, poor parents.
To the parents of this child who wasn’t able to stay in this classroom for whatever reason, I want to send you a hug. I want to tell you that when I saw your son, I saw a cute kid. He may have had a little twinkle in his eye which I recognized and thought was cute. That very twinkle that makes him unique is probably also the twinkle that causes the trouble in the classroom. If your child truly was forever expelled from this classroom, you have my sympathy. I doubt you are sure where to turn next. You are probably faced with many educational options and decisions. You are probably very angry and very frustrated. If we met, I would like to comfort [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[you and say that everything will be alright, but I’ll be honest….I can’t be sure that it will. Your child being identified as a “challenge” at this age will probably lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and he may be headed down a path of self-destruction. I will pray that this isn’t the case. I will pray that your family will survive this disruption in placement and that you will get the help that you all need to weather this storm. I pray that the twinkle in your son’s eye will make him resilient and will help him rise to this challenge in a positive way. And I will also pray for you at home. I’m assuming that the problematic behaviors at school are also problematic at home. It takes huge effort to raise a child like this at home day in and day out and I know you get weary of dealing with it. You get weary of dealing with the behaviors at home and you get weary dealing with the calls from the school and other parents regarding the behavior outside of the home. It’s a tough road you are traveling.
Be strong parent. The next time you heave an exasperated sigh and throw up your hands and say, “Oh, god” recognize that it is a true prayer. It’s not a sigh of defeat, it’s a sigh asking for help and God is truly there to help you. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2) and even the maker of this child with the twinkle in his eye.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.