Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Understand, So Don't Worry!

Over the past week I have essentially become the PITA of our school corporation. The decision by corporation administration and school board members to cut the autism consultant position beginning in the 2011-2012 school year has propelled me into "Mission Mom" mode and I have been using every available personal and public platform available to express my disappointment and anger over this decision. And I am certainly not alone!

BUT I want to explain a few things to my friends in the teaching field and others who may be impacted by how vocal I am being regarding this issue:

1. I understand that while many of my teacher friends support our stance in the privacy of their homes, they cannot use their voice publicly to stand with me and the other parents who are fighting this decision. You have jobs that you need to keep and students who depend on you. PLEASE do not worry or think that I am disappointed or angry at you for not joining our "mission". Your hands are tied and I understand.

2. There are parents of students in our school corporation that for one reason or another cannot publicly voice their negative opinions on the various budget cuts in 2011-2012. It's OK! Not everyone is comfortable or able to be a "trouble maker", and I don't harbor any resentment towards anyone for their decision. As your friend, I ALWAYS want you to make your decisions based on what is best for you and your family :)

That being said, I also want you to know and try to understand why I have to make a stand, whether that leads to me being thought of as a PITA or not:

1. Of my five school age children, 3 are students with IEP's in place. Two of those three are on the autism spectrum. It is my job to protect their educational rights and do everything within my power to ensure they receive every service available that will help them become independent, productive adults. There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that not having an autism consultant available will negatively impact my ASD students.

2.  Academics are, of course, very important, but there are life lessons that I believe every child needs to learn. Being able to stand up and fight for the things you believe are important is one of those life lessons. We are a house filled with visual learners. I truly believe that my children both need and deserve to see me stand strong in my beliefs, and when necessary go to the mat defending those beliefs. Each one of my children needs to know and believe that the MOST important thing to me is THEM. They need to see for themselves that I will do whatever it takes, whatever is within my power, to make sure their needs are met at home and at school. They need to understand that sometimes when you take a firm stand in your beliefs, there will be people who don't like it and try very hard to make you be quiet and back down. They will have many tests in life, but the test of character will always be the important one - the one that will determine the course of their lives. It's my job to make sure they have the tools to pass that test. If doing that leads to me being labeled as a PITA, so be it.

"When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted." - Eleanor Roosevelt-

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