Well...the meeting did not go in our favor yesterday.
I am just flabbergasted at this school. Normally, each school has their own special ed class. However, in my area, the schools are small and therefore not many special students would get much of what they need. So, they formed a Co-op for the whole county. At first this was fine, because the class was held in my town at the local school. Buses go all around the whole county to pick up the kids and bring them to the classrooms in one spot. However, a new facility was built, which they needed, but in another town. So now Leiah is there. It's only about 15 minutes away, but still, this building is completely separated from any school campuses.
Plus, I'm just gonna be honest here, the place is backwards. Basically, run by uneducated rednecked people. Just ignorant. Leiah's teacher is excellent, but she can only do what she is told, and the management is the problem. They system is very disorganized and there is a huge lack of communication, which is to be expected since there are so many school campuses involved in this co-op. Even so, the main problem is the principal of the primary school down the road.
After 4 meetings about this topic, I think I figured it out. For whatever reason, they don't want any child that has special needs in their school. We actually had a 20 minute talk about poop. Apparently no one on that campus is qualified to handle a child that has an accident and can't clean themselves up. Apparently, children are expected to survive in a hostile environment, since they told me how the other children would poke fun at Leiah because she is different. It seems common sense would tell me that if I had a special child in my class, I might need to keep an eye on her. Oh, and forget getting her an aid. He illegally told me that she could not have one at all, ever.
They are trying to convince me that kindergarten is so fast paced right now that there is no way she could keep up. From what they are telling me, I am quite worried about my 5 year old daughter. They don't take naps anymore, they have homework, they are cram packed with activities and it would all be over Leiah's head. I guess there aren't any children that don't have problems learning in their school, because they aren't equipped to deal with them.
So, instead of allowing my daughter to try out living in the real world in a controlled friendly, low level environment, they prefer to keep her in the special ed compartment another town away so that she won't feel bad about her self esteem. They want to keep her sheltered away from real people who will show her her limitations and keep the bar low so she won't feel bad about failing at something. There is no room for weak people in kindergarten.
HOW ABSURD!!!!!! How dare they say this!!!!! Who are they to say that other children cannot learn from Leiah? They rob themselves and others by casting off those who have special needs. They will never be able to see when these children excel beyond their abilities, because they refuse to expect more out of them. This is like Hitler- get rid of any that do not meet the superrace requirements. Children with special needs have so much to teach others; other children can teach Leiah much better than a therapist. I've seen it too many times.
If I were a teacher that was going to have Leiah in my class, I would automatically know that she would need to be at the front of the lines, need assistance with her lunch and with going potty. Why not involve the other children in being her helper for the day or week, making it a special privilege to help Leiah learn the skills she needs to learn???? Let her participate in the real world, and she'll adapt.
It is so, so hard to sit there and listen to everyone discussing my child's abilities, which don't even score on their specialized tests because she is at the level of a three year old, and basing their decision off of that only. They have locked her in to this special ed for life idea and do not care about what is best for her. They say they do, but it's all about power and money. I was in there for over an hour with my husband and my sister, who is a special ed director at the next town. We are all upset and amazed at this. I would just take her out and homeschool, but it's just not possible with a newborn coming at school starting time. She needs more.
So, we have to move. I have another meeting with them in 10 days, just to confirm that we are both standing firmly on our decisions, during which I will act like nothing is going to happen. Then after we buy our new house, I'll withdraw her from the school and enroll her in the other one. The place we need to move to is an expensive one, and we aren't sure yet how much we can afford. I am trusting the Lord, He will provide what we need.
Still, I never dreamed that this little country school would put up such a fuss about this. My daughter, a sweet and willing to please child, she is well behaved, happy almost all of the time, beautiful, and everyone wants her. They have rejected an opportunity to be touched by her life and robbed the other children of valuable lessons that could have been learned at an early age. Shame on them.
*****Edited to add: Some may be wondering why I've ruled out homeschool. Well, I have thought about it a lot and though I do I wish I could, I just don't see how. I have never formally homeschooled before, I generally have too high expectations of myself, I will have a new baby plus the other three. Maybe that doesn't seem like much either since it's just kindergarten, but Leiah needs therapy. That means I would have to load everyone up and drive an hour away twice a week for therapy times- and that's just speech! Not to mention the cost involved in private therapy- it is crazy expensive, $45 for 15 minutes. Leiah learns best from other children and is very emotional with me. What I mean is that if I work with her, she tends to get frustrated a lot faster than with a teacher or with kids. I guess it's the mom thing.
So, as much as it would be to the advantage of all to homeschool, it's not within my grasp at this point. I know myself and it would not be a good scenario unless we could hire a live-in housekeeper.