Sorry, this isn't my regularly scheduled blog post. I thought I was going to post bracelets today, but I am putting it off until tomorrow. Something happened yesterday that I need to talk out. I know there is a wealth of motherly support available to me through you blog readers and I want to take advantage of it today.
Today is about Andrew (my 9year old). He is home today, and not because he is sick. He is home because he was given out of school suspension yesterday. My guess is you had no idea fourth graders could get suspended, let alone an out of school suspension.
I was torching yesterday afternoon when I got a phone call from the school. They asked if I could come in to talk about something that happened with Andrew during lunch. I asked if they could clue me in and they said they would talk more when I got there. I knew that couldn't be good. School is just a few miles from my house and my thoughts raced the whole way there. What could have happened? What could have set him off? Andrew is bi-polar and at home can have extremely violent tantrums but they have never seen the behaviors in school.
I love the vice principal at our school. She is so kind and understanding, warm and loving to the kids, and more helpful then every teacher I was ever exposed to at our old district combined. This is what she told me happened... in the lunch room yesterday, a boy named Jacob, who sits near Andrew, started talking about Santa Claus. The boy said he didn't believe and that he would never believe. He continued to push and tease Andrew about it and Andrew said "I am going to kill you." Their was a third boy, Anthony (a good friend of Andrew's), that heard all of this. Andrew's comment upset Anthony and he told an adult. Andrew was pulled out of lunch and sent to the office. The administrative intern (a former special ed teacher) interviewed the boys and no one denied anything. Andrew was very honest and said that was in fact what he said. He told them he knew it was wrong.
The school has a zero tolerance policy on threatening language and that is why Andrew has out of school suspension. I totally agree with the punishment and completely understand that children need to feel safe in their classrooms.
There are a lot of things going on with Andrew right now. We recently went through some IQ testing that reveled a very high level of depression. We have spent the past week weaning him off one medication and are getting ready to introduce a new one. He has little emotional control right now. He is swinging between manic behaviors and irate/agitated ones from moment to moment. This boy was attacking something that is a core belief to Andrew and with no filters or control over himself, he lashed out in this very hurtful way.
You might remember my post last year about whether or not we would have the "Santa Talk" with Andrew. When I discovered what had upset Andrew at lunch yesterday, I knew I had to have the talk with him. I was holding back tears the whole time. It is near impossible to talk with the lump I had in my throat while telling him the news. I started by talking to him about how it is okay that some people believe different things then we do. We talked about the Spirit of Christmas and what it means to give to others. I told him that Santa was a real person but that he died a very long time ago, but that he was such a special person that we keep his spirit alive in our hearts. I told him that this was a special secret and that it is his job now to help keep Santa's spirit alive for others, like Lauren. I told him that if anyone ever says "Santa isn't real" you tell them "he was once, and he is alive in your heart if you want him to be".
I can't tell you the shock that he was in. He thought it more unlikely that Mom and Dad went out, bought all the gifts, wrapped them, hid them, then snuck out on Christmas Eve and put them under the tree. I really don't think he understands. I think with time he'll start to understand, but it broke my heart yesterday having to take that magic away for him.
Today we have an appointment with his psychologist and we'll talk all about this then. I am having Andrew write an apology letter to the two other boys at lunch. I am not really sure what else to do. So... come on... give me some of that wonderful mom-to-mom support that I count on you gals for. I think there needs to be some cyber hugs all around.