2002-04-10 - 7:33 p.m.
Today was the National Day of Silence and this morning I was feeling bad because it really isn't an option for me to participate. I considered putting up flyers, but caution prompted me not to. So I felt guilty and wimpy and ineffectual.
Then I get to school and right off the bat the counselor comes in with paper work on a new special education student for our team. But he acts weird, grinning and making little unprofessional remarks like "Well, you aren't going to want her" until finally my science teacher goes, "Why not?" He replies, "She thinks she's a boy." My history teacher (I love my team) goes, "So what? We want her." I said something like, "That's irrelevant, sir." He continues with his little negative comments until I said, "Sir, give me her paperwork so I can write a schedule." So he did, but he never brought the girl up. So I investigated and found out she was placed in the behavior unit (for kids who act out and have to be restrained). Well, I've had kids placed in my room who have attacked teachers and been told that I have to wait until the child acts out at our campus in order to place them in the unit. Meanwhile, my math teacher calls the diagnostician and asks about test scores and hears more unprofessional, prejudiced remarks about this girl. At this point, although we haven't me her, my team is saying things like, "Why are they picking on OUR kid?" Did I mention that I love my team? So one person goes to the principal and hears more crap about what a bad kid she is, etc. I go to the behavior unit to meet her. The only person on that campus who I saw treat her with respect was the behavior teacher. He introduced us and, yes, I'd say she's either a lesbian or maybe even transgender. I also found out her brother died of an overdose two weeks ago and her baby brother died a couple of years ago. And yeah, I bet she does get in fights because I bet kids pick on her! Anyway, she was very courteous and I welcomed her to the team and talked to the behavior teacher about getting her out of the unit and into classes. And then I went and lodged a complaint with the special education department chair (Paulson) about the unprofessional behavior exhibited by all of these so-called professionals when dealing with this child (and praised the behavior teacher, who is brand new in the position).
I know this kid is not a saint ... and she will probably cause me some problems ... but the entire team felt she was not getting the same chance other kids do. This is the second time a "butch" looking girl has been branded "bad" by certain people at my school. And, yes, that kid had a lot of problems, too, but I don't see the same stigma applied to so-called normal kids with the same behavior problems.
So tomorrow we are having her ARD and I'm sure I'm going to hear a lot of stuff about the trouble she's been in, but I'm sure going to speak up for her. And if someone YET AGAIN brings up her appearance I'm going to ask that we get past it. I've already heard people say she got in trouble for sexual harassment - but they can't put you in a behavior unit for that ... and plenty of kids at my school have had their wrists slapped for that (which isn't right, but that's another story). And I have to ask whether it becomes sexual "harassment" because it is same-sex ... ? I don't know.