Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Punching Children

Last week, my son was punched in the stomach at school. The boy ran and lunged into him with his fist, knocking the wind out of him as he knocked him to the ground. I have been angry and distressed since. My son internalizes things, and the result for him has been that he has been physically sick to his stomach and unable to sleep since Friday. He has now missed 2 full days of school and 2 half-days.

My son asked to talk to me and his father afterwards but was told he could not. I was not called for 3 hours.

I could go on and on about all the reasons I am unhappy about this, but it boils down to one thing: injustice.

I have kept my kids at their private school this year despite my great unhappiness with my daughter's experience there. It seemed very important to my son to stay there, and as a single mom I don't have the luxury of taking them to 2 separate schools. (I barely could manage our 3 hour commute to this school.) I felt that my daughter was heartier, so I made the decision to keep them both there, with precautions.

But this confirms for me that what is bad for one will be bad for both.

For a long time, I have wanted to protect my children. I thought sending them to a private school was doing that. I thought in giving them a good education they would always have something to stand on. I thought I was making a worthy sacrifice that would yield great results.

But in doing so, I was also overlooking one of my own core values, which is that all children are equal. And I see very clearly now, that they are not here. And I am realizing that I should not be surprised.

So, while my daughter has been penalized for every little thing this year, including an immediate conference in front of her peers and their parents for the crime of coloring in too many pages of her journal, a punch in the stomach seems to be no big deal. I was told we shouldn't shame the children.

Or, more accurately, we shouldn't shame this child. Shaming my children is fine.

I was reprimanded for posting the following to my Facebook page: "Not happy about my son being punched in the stomach. Don't kids at least get sent home from school for this???"

Clearly the needs of the aggressor outweigh the well-being of my son.

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