So, I’ve been following THIS STORY and I’m absolutely stunned. Basically, the story runs that an 8 year-old kid comes home with a “Catastrophe Award” for making up excuses for not having homework. The teacher was “joking”.
Mom goes to the principal who says “Suck it up. That shit’s funny” and blows Mom off. Mom marches to the media. Story makes it to Good Morning America and Yahoo where the comments piled up. And here’s the stunning part. 75% of the comments trashed her as a bad mom. AND several of the comments called her a “lazy Mexican” and stated someone should check her immigration status.
Now, here’s a little story to clarify why this pisses me right the fuck off.
A couple of months ago, I found out from a friend on Facebook that the principal at my kid’s Middle School was going to be let go. Essentially, the Superintendent (a temporary person since our last sup left for a better job and there’s elections coming up) wasn’t going to renew her contract. Since Mrs. Drumm was the primary mover and shaker to keep Special Day Class funded and open, I wanted to keep her around. Call me selfish.
So, I attend a School Board meeting. This item was on the agenda and several of us spoke AGAINST this action. We were told (mostly by Marilyn Strehl who, though she is probably a nice lady, is going to get a big, fat NO vote by me) that it was a personnel issue and not a parent issue.
What. The. Fuck??????? The school board shut us down, refusing to allow more conversation, unwilling to address parental concerns about this.
And where I went in with an open mind, knowing Mrs. Drumm may not have been a righteous employee, I became pissed off beyond measure. Of course, to save herself from being black listed in the industry, Mrs. Drumm (on the next agenda item) tendered her resignation.
Well, shit. Now what? Nothing, that’s what. She resigned. End of story.
Only it isn’t. Someone in that school board meeting leaked the minutes to the Eureka Times-Standard and I got a phone call from a reporter. I spoke my piece and said what I thought.
If that turns into a TV interview, am I going to get up there and say the same thing? Damn skippy I will. I’m not seeking 15 minutes of fame. I want justice. For my kids, for Mrs. Drumm and for Toddy Thomas. Don’t fucking tell ME that it’s “not a parental issue”.
So, back to the drama in Arizona. Ms. Valdez went to the principal. She complained. She was brushed off. Now, if I was treated like that, I would be incensed too. How do we know that Ms. Valdez contacted GMA? It doesn’t say that. It’s possible that Ms. Valdez wrote a letter. Or had a friend outraged on her behalf. It’s possible that GMA knew a good controversy when it saw one and put that poor Mom on the battle lines of media opinion.
At this moment, there are almost five thousand comments and most of them are some of the meanest shit I’ve ever seen. A parent seeks justice, stands up for her daughter (albeit in a very stupid way) and she’s a shit mom who’s fat and lazy.
Again, charming.
Were there better options? Sure. But it’s opened dialogue I think we should consider. I asked my ten and eleven year old what they would think if they got an award like that. Demolition Boy was adamant that it was “whack” and “stupid” that a teacher would do that. Train Boy shook his head (this is my kid who has been one of Mrs. O’Reilly’s victim, a teacher who shouldn’t be teaching at all IMHO) and said “That’s wrong, Mom. What did the mom do? Did she make sure they knew that was inappropriate?” (Yes, he used the word “inappropriate”.) I told them that the Mom went on TV and told everyone.
Here’s the kicker. Both of them nodded. “Good. No way a mom should let that slide.” (Demolition boy is big on justice).
Funny, right? I was actually thinking the kid would want to sweep it under the rug, laugh it off or something. But both my kids have been the recipients of ugly bullying and, in Train Boy’s case, adult meanness. So, their perspective is that the teacher should have given the girl a bad grade, not a messed up award.
I have to agree.
Don’t get me wrong. As a volunteer who deals with fucked up parents, parents who refuse to see their own kid’s deficiencies, I get how a teacher can get massively frustrated. But the kid is not the problem. It’s like having a kid whose mom drinks at the bar all the time and giving him the “Late all the time” award. Bullshit.
There’s enough blame to go around though. I think Ms. Valdez didn’t think this through and put herself in the line of fire. But if we’re all so afraid of this kind of rabid backlash, people will continue to condone shitty behavior.
If nothing else, it started a conversation with me and my boys, one I’m going to remember.



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3 responses to “Unbelievable.

  1. Sue

    Yup, that award was wrong on so very many different levels. Bad grades, parent/teacher conferences (now there’s a novel idea *sarcasm*), suspension from school would all be fitting…but an award? Really?

  2. Yeah I agree with Sue…The award was so not smart…

  3. Jen

    Funny though. Conversation with some parents last weekend and it seems that the Mom here is regarded as “irresponsible” . I heard similar comments that I’d seen online. Surprised me!! I’m all for parental responsibility, but I also think it’s our job to stand up when our kids are dicked with and say “No. You can’t do that to my kid.”

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