Tonight was our local elementary Meet the Teacher night.
Even though we met last Thursday with special services, we didn’t hear back from them until tonight when we were emailed a half hour before it started, with special services telling us Mary would not be enrolled or assigned to a class.
She was heartbroken.
We clarified with her that the confusion is not about her, but about them learning how to help Deaf children, and not to worry because it will all get figured out just fine.
(Note: these issues are not about the state Deaf school or Wright or Northeast Elementary, but we cannot clarify what is going on or comment publicly until the issue is settled.)
To encourage her, we surprised the children with t-shirts as a show of support, and a way to include her as part of the team.
She went with us, as did Kyrie, to see inside the school and learn her way around.
We had to check in at the office first, and cautioned the children that it was not the time or place to discuss Mary’s story, and that no matter what, we are kind and good and polite and respectful.
Even when a child is still waiting to tell her story.
The children had a blast meeting their teachers and settling in! It was so exciting!
Alex’s teacher was super soft and sweet, and patient with all his questions and seeking her out but also able to set limits to help him chillax. I was relieved.
Kirk’s teacher was cherry and bright, and seemed a perfect match for him!
Barrett has met his match, too, with a good teacher who listened attentively to his story but also redirected him back on task already. Go teacher!
And Anber nearly met her teacher, but wasn’t having any of that – kudos to her teacher for not pushing it, but good luck to them both on Thursday.
She was excited about having a locker, though!
They were super excited to see the library, where Kyrie was busy yelling back at all the animals:
And they were even more excited about the gym!
We found what maybe is the Speech room, which was lovely but so ironic and made me cry:
But Mama! This means they want to be kind, they really do. They just don’t know how, and we will help teach them.
But it also means that intended or not, the experience is teaching Mary hard things about life and systems and the way the world works.
And how much it hurts when it doesn’t work well, or as promised.
There is only one other brown kid here, besides me and Anber, and they already don’t want me because I am Deaf.
They say I am welcome.
But it doesn’t feel like welcome.
We will teach them, Mama.
We will teach them like Ruby Bridges did.
I love this girl, and I am really proud of her. She will continue to learn as the system learns. She will feel welcomed when she is able to go to school, and see there are more brown skinned children even if not as many as in Tulsa. She will make new friends, and teach them about sign language, and learn other things from them. She will grow and learn in her own way, just like the others.
I am also proud of all six children, who were so good and patient while we were at the school for hours. Meeting so many teachers takes ages! But everyone was patient and waited their turn. We were there for several hours, and the children were so amazing sitting in the hall and reading and waiting so long just so that I could have the individual experience with each child.
Nathan did a great job keeping them together in the hallways, and carrying our Keeping Kyrie book to give to the teachers.
Kyrie played all over each classroom, and was the only almost-naughty one, so we will see how long it takes her to get sick or if she can maintain all the way until Cincinnati, even with school starting.
I love our family, and we are doing our best, and I am so glad we were able to experience this evening together – and so touched by how the other children supported and encouraged Mary. It was really lovely. The plan of happiness, I say, even when life feels hard.