I am writing this blog post on behalf of a dear friend & my 2 year son's daycare provider. I have known her since we were in the 5th grade myself, and she is a wonderful, responsible woman whom I am both glad and proud to call my friend.
She is a stay at home mom, and watches my son each day while I am at work. She has 3 beautiful and intelligent children, ages 12, 8 & 6 who have thus far been educated in the Meriden School System, and has had some mishaps with communication in the schools before, but in the wake of Sandy Hook, this seriously distresses me to the point of not wanting to send my own son to Meriden schools when he is of age.
Over the weekend, her two younger children were sick with a cold. When Monday rolled around, the youngest (age 6 - same as many of the Sandy Hook victims), stated that he was still were not feeling well, and needed to stay home. As any good mother would do, she asked what was bothering him, and he said he still didn't feel good from the weekend. She thought nothing of it as he was really sick earlier, and left it at that - caring for him throughout the day.
Then, this morning came - and as he seemed fine in the afternoon & evening hours yesterday, she figured she would get him ready, and off to school he would go with the other children. However, he told her in the voice of a little 6 year old first grader "for today I still don't feel good, but I don't want to go back to school tomorrow either because I'm afraid." I am SURE as a parent, hearing those words out of your child's mouth would break your heart, as they did hers. It brought tears to her eyes when talking to me about it this morning - she told me, "How can your look at your child and know you have to send him somewhere he doesn't feel safe?"
Clearly, after he told her this, she took the time and sat down with him, explaining (much like child psychitrists have been saying all over the news, facebook, etc...) that the bad man is gone and won't be coming back, and that his teachers are there to make him safe, along with other reassuring remarks. He came back with "but there will be more, what if there is another one - I am safe here at home with you mommy." Heartbreaking. At this point, as any parent would do, she embraced him - and was at a loss, tears hidden behind the face of a parent who is being strong for her baby.
After he went to play, she reached out to the school in hopes of talking to the guidance personnel for help with what to say, do, and to let them know what was going on. That was hours ago, and school is now out of session, her son has missed two days this week, and NO call back from the guidance department, or anyone for that matter. So what needs to happen now? Should she have called someone different? Does he need to miss yet another day of school? Does she have to physically go down to the school after getting all of her children on the bus, and with her daycare charges in tow? Should she have to do that? Why, in the wake of such a senseless tragedy - when MANY schools have "stepped up" their security & support can she not even elicit a call back from a school she has sent all 3 of her children through in their time of need?
I don't know - to me, it is not right... I recognize there have been "budget cuts," and that many other variables are at play each day and in each situation, but she is a caring mother who wants the best for her children, and just wishes their school would do the same.
About an hour ago she placed a call and left a message directly for his first grade teacher... maybe that will elicit a response.