So, about three months ago, I received a phone call from the mom of my daughter’s very best friend. Apparently, her daughter and mine were linked on their tablets to this game. I won’t name the game, but let’s just say it’s a dress up game where you can pick outfits and accessorize. I’d fully vetted the app and kept close watch on its functions. She said she really enjoyed hanging out with her friends and checking out the outfits they all created. Then, I received…The Phone Call. Not your ordinary phone call but ANGRY PARENT PHONE CALL. These are the ones that make you wish you had a bottle of wine chilling or at least some good chocolate. Alas, I had neither of these. I sat down and politely listened to this lady explain her side of the story. Knowing that there are several sides (their side, your side, then the truth) I heard a story of two girls, comparing the outfits they’d created. My daughter was asked what she thought of the other girl’s outfit. My daughter apparently replied, “I think it’s damn ugly”. *screeching sound* This is NOT what you expect to hear. You raised your child to never use bad language, to always treat others kindly and if they didn’t have anything nice to say, to say nothing, right? Well, this is that moment when you find out that yes, you are MUCH more naive that you ever thought possible and you feel bad that your child is going to get a schooling in friendship. I apologized only for the fact that I didn’t know about this incident sooner. I said I would speak to my daughter to find out “her side” and would have her apologize in person to this child. This was not good enough. Although the parent was kind and respectful to me during the conversation, she said that due to the horrific nature of what my child had done, the friendship was to be permanently terminated and that my daughter would not be welcome to speak to her daughter ever again. *crickets* OK, well it’s her right to terminate any friendship she deems inappropriate for her child. However, I was a bit taken aback by the finality of a years long friendship over the word damn. It is NOT OK for my daughter to curse, but I thought it was a bit much. I was also told that HER daughter would not speak to my daughter either. So, naturally, starting the next day, this girl proceeded to tell every single person she knew that my daughter cursed and her mother put a stop to it, etc etc. Another child (friends with both girls) said her mother would not allow her to speak to my daughter every again due to her being an “extremely bad influence”. Since this began, these two girls have continuously treated my daughter with contempt, dramatic gossip and eye rolling and all manner of fifth grade drama. I have sat back and let my daughter deal with it in her own way. She’s been depressed and sad and I have her in counseling (stemming from the death of her father, which some kids in school like to remind her that “she has no dad”). I forget how cruel some kids can be.
I’ve been listening about this issue for months now and was starting to think about calling a meeting with the school counselor. I at least wanted to vent my frustration at the situation and to be honest, find out if there were any other sides to the issue. Just when I thought things were getting better, I hear a knock at the door. Of all people, it’s the mother of a child in the neighborhood. I don’t see her much. She and I don’t have much in common and although I tried to initiate a friendship, she didn’t seem interested, so I just went on my way. Her children are younger than my daughter and they don’t seem to get along with each other, let alone my daughter. We moved on. OR SO I THOUGHT. I invited her into the foyer. She proceeded to let me know that THREE WEEKS AGO, my daughter apparently pushed her daughter on the bus so hard that she banged her head on one side of the bus and went to the other side. I’ve already spoken to two other people and their children said no such incident occurred. She included that she called the school, demanded mediation, involved the vice principal and wanted to know if I’d be contacted (she was told that is protected information) about this whole debacle. Not one word was said to me. No phone call, nothing. She proceeded to tell my daughter that her daughter was afraid of her and although she “looked up to her” she worried she would be hurt again. The day care provider called her that day and said she was holding her ear and neck, saying my daughter grabbed her by the neck and shoved her. Soooo, OK. My daughter said at the time she had no recollection of anything like that happening but that they were fooling around on the bus and the younger girl did wind up getting pushed, but nothing like a fight. So, I guess I’m calling the school tomorrow, demanding to know why my daughter was brought in regarding an incident and counseling and other types of things like mediation were done, all of which without my knowledge. I think there is a whole lot more to this story than is being told. I don’t want anyone to think I’m not taking this seriously. When I get both sides, ALL sides of this story, I will take appropriate action and will involve her counseling team. I do believe my daughter hasn’t told me everything, but I’m sad that weeks of opportunity were lost. I could have gotten her counselor involved and worked through any issues she might have been going through at the time. My daughter spent fifteen minutes tonight just crying. I felt like I was living under a rock, totally in the dark. Of all the times I’ve been angry with my daughter’s school, this is moving very close to the top of the list.
I never for a moment have believed that raising two children on the Autistic spectrum would be easy, but some days are so much more trying than others. This was one of them.