It has been a time of change, not just from summer to fall but from elementary school to middle school for The Child and me. He left a wonderful, unusual school where students respected individuality and bullying was nearly nonexistent.
So it's obvious where I'm going with this already, I suppose. The Child has accepted The New School fairly well, but- here goes- I CAN'T STAND IT!
The New School represents everything I balk at! It represents conventional, unexamined thinking. It represents the herd mentality- everybody is the same and should therefore think/act/dress/drive/desire the same. The teachers and administrators are so uptight that I can barely stand to be in the building with them. The students are NOT allowed to speak during lunch!!! WHAT, please explain this to me, WHAT is the POINT of squelching middle school aged students to that extent?
Now normally, I would just figure out a way to accept the new situation. I have a bit more difficulty in this case because I'm the one who brought this about! The Child could have stayed at the Old School, which is a K-8. But noooooooooo. He wanted to go to The New School, even after I explained the differences and took him to see the school during teaching hours.
Bullying. Now we know what bullying is. It happens when The Child gets off his school bus! The foul-intentioned kids sitting at the back of the bus have bullied The Child and me every single time he has gotten off that bus. I automatically shut down when I'm in a situation like that, but it seems to me that they are criticizing The Child's hair. And once, when I followed the bus in my car, a nasty boy in the back gestured in a way that sickened me (largely because he attends the same school as my son).
Yesterday I couldn't take it anymore. As the bus driver pulled away, I ran after the bus to tell him about those kids in the back bullying my son. The driver listened and said he was aware of the problem, and then as I walked away, the bus sat there for a long time. Then it moved a few yards and stopped again, for an even longer time.
I fear that the kids who were obviously being reprimanded will punish The Child at school, where I won't be around to protect him.
There's more. The Child is smart- he's in the Gifted and Talented program and he has skipped a grade in math. There is a course at this God-forsaken school called "College Prep." Well, The Child's grade in College Prep is D-!!!!! He has never had a grade anywhere near that level before, so of course I questioned him about it. He said the teacher, who is intimidating, did not clearly explain what papers he wanted turned in. The Child failed to turn in all the papers he wanted even though he had all of them right there in the room, and that's why he was given a D-. Infuriated, I wrote an email to the teacher, carefully expressing my dismay that such an appalling grade was given as a result of a problem with paper shuffling! The teacher never responded to my email.
My blood boils as I write this, and I cry every time I think of the Old School. This is the price I pay for allowing The Child to make his own choices.