The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Monday, September 29, 2014

Being afraid of retaliation and what to do

I have been dealing with some issues lately - these are all related to not wanting to be retaliated against for having my own thoughts, opinions, and experiences.  

I have written so many things I wanted to post but all of them end up sharing some true and honest events that have occurred with a person or people in the school district my children attend.  Even if I did not mention the district or the person/people and wrote about the topic in general, I was afraid of retaliation.  

I write frequently about how students with disabilities are marginalized and discriminated against because teachers do not understand what it is like to be a student with a disability.  When parents stand up for students or advocate for their own children, retaliation occurs.  It is often covert but sometimes it is overt.  It is a way to keep parents in check; a way to bully us into silence.  

No parent wants their child to be treated poorly and no parent wants to be excluded from school events because they have been supporting and advocating for their child/ren.  The hard reality is... this happens so frequently and right now I feel that I am being held hostage because I want to attend an event with my daughter due to the fact she is a student with a learning disability that also has severe anxiety as a result of being LD.  I'm scared because there is a history of them denying me these opportunities because I am a parent who speaks up for ALL students with disabilities.  I believe that they retaliate in these ways to bully me into silence because there is NO reason I don't qualify for these events.  I'm actually over qualified because of what I do for a living, my background, and my education.  Furthermore, I have always been respectful to others even when they have been disrespectful to me.  I have always treated others with kindness and shown empathy.  I do NOT attack others or come across in an aggressive way.  That is just not my nature so the only thing they have against me is the fact that I remind them that we have to include ALL students and educate students appropriately.  

I am paid by other school districts to conduct professional developments on Empathy, Inclusion, Supporting all students, Diversity (including disability diversity), and Understanding Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADD/ADHD.  I have offered these services to the school district my children attend for free but they have never accepted my services.  I know it is a way to keep me in my place and most of the time I'm fine.  Right now, I'm scared.  I'm afraid that even being honest about how scared I am and how school districts in general keep parents in check by using retaliation I am putting myself at risk of being excluded from an event I am qualified to attend.   

This fear is real and causing severe anxiety and depression.  I know writing about it is risky and I bet you are wondering why I decided to post this today.  Why was I willing to openly share how scared I am of the retaliation?  

Well, it has to do with the fact that many parents are bullied into silence for speaking out for their children.  Retaliation is real and it happens all the time to parents and children.  I hear these stories on a daily basis.  I have always been open about my experiences because I believe that we need to make changes for the better and we can't do better if we don't know better so we must face reality and be open about what is happening. 

I want to be the voice of those who can't or don't know how but what happens when I am the one that is retaliated against because I am that voice?  Who will help speak up for me?  Why do I have to live in fear?  I'm posting this today to give me strength and courage to keep doing what I am doing, because if I don't - who will?  

I will not be bullied into silence.  I am going to discuss these issues because they are important.  I will, like always be as discrete as possible because I know that every thing I do and say is being used against me and my children.  We will all suffer.  I will say this - I can't wait until all my children graduate from the school district they are attending because then I will be free.  I will be free to say what really has happened over the years, I will be free to share my own stories without being told that I need to watch what I am saying about the district, and I will be free from this anxiety and depression caused by knowing retaliation will be occurring.  

So here is what I want you to know parents - go ahead and keep that journal documenting all the events that happen with your children- the good & the bad.  Keep the emails and recordings of the phone calls in a safe place.  Speak up about what is really happening to your child and at all cost protect your child.  When retaliation occurs take it with stride that you are doing your job as a parent and taking care of your child.  Know that you are helping other parents by being strong and not backing down.  

One of the reasons I have been filled with anxiety and depression is the fact that I know the district has me by the balls (so to speak) and if I say or do anything they will prevent me from being able to be there to protect my daughter when she needs the most protection.  It then feel terrible that I can't be my true self.  I can't take care of my children in the way I need to take care of them.  I'm scared and therefore I wrote about it here with a belly full of acid and tear running down my cheek.  

I thank you for your support and appreciate you taking the time to read this post.  I am hoping to get my courage back!  Bear with me as I work on making myself stronger.