It’s all about your principals

March 10, 2008 at 10:35 am 6 comments

     C attended two different kindergartens, because the first one we tried was so terrible. There was a little girl in his class who had Wilson’s Syndrome, which is an autism-like genetic illness that has at its base a high copper content in the body. I went in for lunch a number of times and sat with the kindergartners outside. Several of the kids were making fun of this little girl behind her back and saying very sophisticated and horrible things about her. Frankly, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to do or say given it was a Montessori school whose main tenet seemed to be that adults weren’t supposed to get involved in much of anything.

     I later brought up the incident with the principal, while attempting to explain to him my concern about C’s future and his complete lack of friends in his class. Mr. M’s response was that this little girl often hit other kids and that explained why the kids didn’t like her and therefore made fun of her. It seemed completely okay with him that she was the brunt of vicious comments. This wasn’t my first clue that Mr. M was not the kind of person I held much respect for, but it was one of the most telling. It broke my heart that his answer to the problem was to blame the little girl instead of working with her aide to make sure the incidents lessened as well as perhaps helping the other children understand why she often lashed out.

     The most damning moment for Mr. M, however, was the day after a particularly unpleasant IEP meeting. My emotions were raw as were my eyes from crying, and as I tried to get out of the school after dropping C off with a minimum of interaction with anyone, Mr. M called me into his office. As he was yelling at me, with door open, teachers, parents and students wandering in and out, he made a comment I will never forget. “I don’t care if C has any friends,” he screamed. “That is not my problem!”

     This, from an elementary school principal. I understand it’s not in a principal’s job description to help children have friends, but that comment brought on a light bulb moment for me. We pulled C from that school right in the middle of the year and never looked back.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

Friendly Friday C-isms

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. T$  |  March 10, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    and this is why i could never be a parent. i would have slugged that guy.

    Believe me, I would’ve liked to at many points, as you know. But I tried to come to the point of view that we wouldn’t have found school number 2 last year had we not had the bad experience at school number 1. And school number two was SO wonderful.

  • 2. FXSmom  |  March 10, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    omg! what a punk! I would have done the same thing.

    I try really, really hard not to dwell on these types of people, but I had a hard time getting Mr. M out of my mind. For the reasons described above and so many more, I get angry all over again when I think about all that happened in the short time we were in his school. But I’m a firm believer in “what comes around goes around,” and I’m pretty sure his karma is not good.

  • 3. anitz  |  March 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    😉 nice title, sad story

    Boy, I wish I could still read German – I’d read your blog. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  • 4. hfamom  |  March 11, 2008 at 2:21 am

    I’d pitch in for an ad in your local paper to tell the whole town what a %^&*%$# JERK this guy is! You’re a better person than I am– I would have slugged him too!! (I’m back! Feeling much better!)

    We did manage to get several articles in the local papers – the school had similar issues with their SPED team the year before (silly us, we thought it could never happen to us – we’re so NICE!), and the reporters jumped all over it. In a small town like ours, it became clear who our friends were….so I’m hoping we helped someone out there make the right decision about sending their SPED child to the school (or not). I generally think people in the ED field, and more specifically in the SPED field, reach saint-like status, but for some reason the majority of the people at this particular school were very ignorant. Combine that with a principal who clearly didn’t care about his SPED kids and it was a recipe for disaster. We learned some tough lessons….I firmly believe in the trickle-down theory when it comes to principals and their staff.

  • 5. Jesch  |  March 11, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Poor Mr. M will likely find himself as a character in a book some day and it will not be very flattering…

    It makes me laugh to think about it. Thanks for that! He’s definitely in my non-fiction account, but I’ll have to find a way to work him into the fiction side of things somehow. Hmmm….

  • 6. Dizzy « What We Need  |  June 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    […] that was the beginning of the end of “The Terrible Montessori Experiment,” (see here and here) which came to its final, and extremely painful, end a scant few months […]


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