Taking Aim

Battleship communications tower

Let go of the anger and the hurt so it does not destroy you, too.

Big, fat tears welled up in her eyes and spilled over, running down her cheeks. Her voice changed as she tried to talk around the lump in her throat. 

“But mommy, I’m going to miss all of my friends! Jackie and Bennet and Katie and all of my teachers…”

I wrapped my arms around her even tighter.

“I know, bug-a-boo, but we don’t know if your school is going to be there much longer and we need a plan B for just in case.”

“I miss my principal!” she wailed.

Changing schools at the start of a school year is hard. I remembered. But doing it suddenly like this mid year was going to be that much worse.

My son wiped tears from his wet face. “I am really going to miss my teachers.”

“I know, hon.”

You need to show a more charitable response.

They gutted the school in front of the kids. During class the teachers had to take down all of the wall and window decor. Furniture was moved. Locks were changed. The beloved principal was fired without warning while she was on vacation celebrating her wedding anniversary.

They’d promised nothing would change for the first year. It was November. Not even three months in.

Parents showed up and cussed out the new owner’s representatives. I rescheduled some patients and went up there myself to check on my own kids, to check on the teachers. Hollow eyed, people wandered about and spoke in hushed tones, shellshocked. 

Be a good steward, not just of your money, but also of your love. Give freely…

There were rumors teachers were being fired or resigning.

“I’m here for the kids. I will stick it out for the rest of the year no matter what. I can take a beating when it comes to those kids if need be. If THEY will let me…”

Meanwhile, the new owners refused to communicate with the parents or the teachers. The kids were left in a scary limbo. Friends were pulled out of classes and transferred to other schools with no opportunity to say goodbye.

Choose to show love when it is least expected.

I could not sleep. When I did sleep it was fitfully, dreaming nightmares that they were taking the kids and not letting us have them back.

The nightmare has been running for four days now in my brain, and it won’t shut off. I am struggling with what my response should be. The brain does crazy things under stress. How do you express that much anger, hurt, and betrayal in a sane way so that the person who did it can really understand? 

Would they understand?

Let my love for them show through you.

We tried out a new church because I will be transferring my kids to an Episcopal school and I wanted them to understand chapel. 

“Mom, why are they kneeling?”

“Mom, why did they take the book out into the aisle to read from it instead of up on the platform?”

“Why did he touch my forehead?”

It was part of the adventure. New church. New school. I found there was comfort in the symbolism and ritual.

“Come up to the front and get one of these crosses for your family then get one of these envelopes with $5 in it and use that this week to show kindness to someone else in a bold and daring way. Don’t just stick it into the Salvation Army donation bucket. DO something with it.”

And then I knew.

My response… 

Do something unexpected.
“It is not your fault what the new owners did to the kids and the parents and the staff. It was wrong, though, and I cannot keep my kids in this school. I do want you to know that I wish you luck as you try to repair the damage done to the relationships here. It is going to be a long road back.” I handed the new director a small gift bought with that $5 and gave her a hug. 

And then I walked away. 

Forever.

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111 thoughts on “Taking Aim

  1. This is huge! Breaking up a school can be worse for some kids than a divorce. And it doesn’t help if they don’t explain things. And as a long term member of staff when they closed down the best school I ever worked in, it isn’t too cool for big strong adults too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have notes and big presents for the teachers we are leaving behind as thank yous. They were amazing, working so hard to try to insulate the kids from all of the negativity and disruptions. Those educators have my utmost respect. They are heroes in my eyes.

      Liked by 8 people

  2. Oh my, I can feel for them. This stuff is so difficult for munchkins; difficult for all of us but they feel it so acutely. The good thing is that they will probably adjust easily too but sad.

    Happy about the Episcopal School, though. I attended Anglican schools until University and had a great education! Godspeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a gutpunch to do this just before the holidays and not wait until the end of the school year. THEY don’t have the kids’ or anyone else’s interests at heart (except their own). Oh to be a fly on the wall in the meetings.

    Best of luck to you and your kids during the transition. Sounds like you found a suitable place.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That almost sounds like a twilight zone horror movie. To put children through that is an atrocity. I hated sending my children to school just as it was. I so wanted them in a better, kinder, more conducive to learning environment. We do the best we can with what we have to work with at the moment. I am so sorry your child and the rest of them as well as dedicated teachers are not treated like the treasures they are. ;(

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How can someone buy, and own, a school; and then disrupt the students and staff this way.

    This could/should not happen in any civilized society. I know it cannot happen here in Australia; it would start a civil war, we’re basically a socialist (not to be mistaken with communist) country.when it comes to health and education.

    I cannot understand of come to grips with this, I’m completely stunned, I know it’s perfectly true yet it’s hard to believe and that it is and has been allowed.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I find that very strange. Do the “OWNERS” have any control over what is taught at these schools.
        Our children went to ‘private’ church schools. My wife being of the Roman Catholic faith , and my being an atheist it was quite easy for us to decide where they were to be educated, A Catholic school, Had we have selected a State school everything (sort of) is free (supposedly), but I thought that a Catholic school education would instill a sense of discipline and duty into the children; and it did so I was very pleased with the decision my wife made 😈
        But we have no schools here that can be owned by a family, that’s a ‘business’, in fact, even if they gave any ‘profit’ to charity. I don’t think I like the idea. But then I’m a socialist 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • The people that owned it initially did not really make a profit from it. Until they had to sell it. The company that bought it, however, takes over hurting daycares and turns them I to profit makers. This is their first venture into schools. I would say it is not going well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Was it about economics ? I don’t understand what would compel them to close so suddenly. Sorry for your kids, your family. That’s a lot of adjustment for every one involved. We were once rezoned, had to leave an award winning school that we loved, to go to a brand new building and staff in a more remote location. But as PTA, we were welcomed into the planning, the Spring before the change. It worked well that they respected our input.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My daughter, a young professional, called me today. She was absolutely furious to discover that new hires are coming in at salaries 15-20% above those being paid to current employees with years of experience. I had the same reaction as when I found out that she was the target of a bully when she was six. My job. It’s my job to protect her from all the bad stuff. I was supposed to make sure she was in the right schools so she could realize all her potential. Back then, it was at that carefully chosen school that she was actually being physically assaulted. Now, I found myself wondering, was it because she went to the wrong engineering school? If she’d gone somewhere else, would things have been different?

    And no. As parents we have to be able to honestly say to ourselves that we made the best choices among what we have to work with. We were fortunate, of course–we were ourselves educated, relatively affluent, and with the resources to actually have choices. But sometimes even that wasn’t enough, and as a parent the thought that we’d done the wrong thing (or not enough of the right thing) is devastating.

    At the end of the day, however, we have to live with ourselves and the fact that life is a process instead of a one-off decision. It means we have to forgive ourselves for the things we get wrong and the things that go wrong. But it also means that our children are gifted. Not with exceptional intelligence, or abilities—although of course we’re sure they have those!—but with the sure and certain knowledge of their parents’ love and support.

    When she was five, that same daughter had a pediatrician who was also the parent of one of her good friends, as well as her Sunday School teacher. One day, that doctor/teacher/parent went home and stabbed both of her children, killing one. My daughter was devastated, didn’t want to go to school or to Sunday School or to the doctor. I was sure that it would be a major issue for her as she grew up. But recently when the subject happened to come up, she didn’t even remember what happened. (Of course, she also asked me if that was the year that we fed the ducks. To put this into perspective, we had spent ungodly sums of money to take the kids to Disney in Florida, and what she remembered was feeding ducks from the balcony of our hotel room. So yeah, you won’t get credit for the big stuff you get right either…)

    I’m so sorry that your children and your family are going through this horrible experience right now. But I’m also certain that, for your children anyway, the takeaway will be that their parents will always be there for them. Or at least that there were ducks.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh my heart aches for your kids, for you, and for the staff at the school!! I was so hoping that this was a fiction story you were writing. But life can be stranger than fiction can’t it!
    What were these new owners thinking???
    So sorry!!
    You choked me up at the end though with how you handled it. Beautiful! My hat goes off to you in how you handled a very tough situation!
    I hope your kids end up loving their new school! So glad they have a Mom to love them through this adjustment!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That was powerful. I hope it ends up as a good thing, but this sounds like a terrible situation for your children, your family, the teachers and all of the families at the school to be put through. I do hope it goes well, and I love your frame of mind in dealing with all of this.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Heartless son of bitches. Never heard of anything like this in all my old years. I think your kiddoes will like the church school. The one is my city has had a long standing, outstanding record. I’d be surprised if it were not a quality premium school.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh my! As a preschool teacher, I cannot imagine being ripped away from my students. They would feel the same way. You handled this very well, and that must have been physically and emotionally draining. As corny as it sounds, things do happen for a reason. I hope and trust that the new school is a good fit. Episcopal schools are good. Best to you and your son, Victo.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I spent my memorable childhood in only two schools, which were seven highway miles from each other. My family home was half way between, and we often went both ways for whatever we needed.

    My children, on the other hand, were never in the same school more than a year–sometimes being pulled out mid-semester or at least mid-year. Did we do that to them on purpose? No, it was my husband’s job that took us at awkward times.

    I worried, and the children sometimes expressed sadness or anger, but we always had family. In the end family bonds were strengthened and ultimately saved our sanity.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m trying to figure out WHY anyone would do this. As I understand it, your kids were at a private school that was bought out by new owners … who then turned it upside-down and gave it a good shake. WHY? How can they possibly benefit from this level of disruption? Their reputation in the community will be damaged for years!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I feel bad for you and your son. We had to move my daughter to a different school in April, but she was in 7th grade, so it was easier to explain. I can’t understand people that think it’s OK to ruin people’s lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That’s a strange business model…well, education and business is about as good a model as education and politics.
    They once tried to change my 3rd grader’s teacher in the middle of the year because of a grievance filed by another teacher with the teacher’s union (he had seniority and said he had wanted that class). The parents fought it successfully based on disrupting the kids (which you can do in public school) but at a private school they hold all the cards. I feel for your children and hope their adjustment goes well.
    And I admire your ability to diffuse your anger. I’m having a lot of trouble with that these days…(K)

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was a strange feeling realizing that I could easily be one of those parents cussing everyone out. I won’t say I am a good person. If I were, I would not have reached that point. But I am glad that I did not do something I would regret later.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I hope the new school is as good as the church’s principles seem to be. Sometimes just a few humans can make all humans seem horrible. But really – it’s just those few.

    Your story reminds me of that again. Even in midst of having life driven into chaos by those few horrible people, choosing to be the kinder person is always possible. I forget that too often. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I am so sorry that this was your major event – it would have knocked me off my axis, too. My expat life has shown me that children are remarkably adaptable at moving to not only new schools but new continents. It adds something indefinable to the way they look at life and prepares them for their adult life. I am wishing you and your children all the best of what might be an even more exciting 2018. K x

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I’ve thought about this post a lot the last week and a half. The periods where things have been in flux with my kids have been hard periods to navigate; when the kids are hurt and confused, everything else seems so small by comparison. Sending best wishes to you and coal-for-Christmas ones to them for the days ahead

    Liked by 2 people

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