Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Playing the Cards We Are Dealt...


I'm not normally an overprotective mom.  I'm a proud mom, but not over protective.

And now that my Daughter is in a more secure situation I can Unleash.



  Most of you know my daughter Graduated May of last year in early childhood education. She graduated from USU with honors. Some of you came to her Graduation Open house.    She was hired immediately by a school who was excited to have her. Their first black teacher in a school with a very diverse student body.   Her hard work has paid off. Her dreams were just beginning!
Soon after the school year began she  noticed that wasn't getting the support she needed by the very principle that hired her.

 She had a very difficult student who would throw chairs, desks, hit and spit at her and the other kindergartners. When she would follow protocol to call down to the office for help, the help would either never arrive or help would be delayed 20- 30 minutes. It got to the point where when this student was acting up, she would have to designate another student to lead the class out of the room to another location for their own safety, while she dealt with this child.  It was difficult for her to teach a class that is constantly being disrupted and where kids are in fear of being hurt. 

When another child was hurt because of it, she would then have to follow protocol and notify the wounded child's parents and have to deal with them being concerned about the safety of their child.  She would speak to the principle and vice principle every day about this student. She would speak to the student's parent  about their behavior.  Other teachers would speak to the Principle and VP  about the disruptions in her class. They spoke in her behalf to which admin still did nothing or "assumed" it was an over reaction of a first year teacher, OR feeling the importance of it was not properly communicated. I'm not sure how  " I have  student throwing chairs, spitting and hitting other students and myself" could be miscommunicated, but  then again, I don't know the kind of people she's dealing with.  My daughter, being who she is, documented everything. Every time she called for aide, how long it took the to respond, when they didn't respond, and their resolution when they did respond, if there was one.
It took administration from the district to come into her classroom on one of her observation days to jump into the behind of this principle to move her into action. They, were in shock at the constant disruption and the lack of support my daughter had in her classroom.

 She is good at what she does so she pushed through and the end of the year after having worked so hard on this child and his behavior it turned out he would listen and respond positively to only her.  She then requested to have him in her 1st grade class to created and continue on with his progress and to give him that same stability for a second year in a row. The principle decided to not allow him back to the school because of all the "issues" he caused.

She was inundated with communications from this principle and the other Kindergarten teacher that  were labeled as "misunderstandings" and "miscommunication" and so on and so fourth. The other Kindergarten teacher would be upset with my daughter when my daughter wouldn't take her advise or or teach the same schedule.  She would literally burst into tearful dramatics about it. My daughter was then requested and strongly suggested to take a personal interest in this other teacher. To "be her friend" and "have lunches together" and Spend time with her." Things that professionally shouldn't even be considered or asked of her.  To the point where my daughter was no longer comfortable meeting alone with the principle or the other teacher. She then wanted to start requesting for her mentor or a member of her union to attend each meetings .She finished the year with high scoring evaluations, and comments to which the districts and her mentors  were highly impressed with her. To which her principle would respond... 'you did pretty good for being a first year teacher.'  By the time summer came she was stressed and exhausted. But she finished. She decided to take the 1st grade spot that opened up in her school for this next year so as not to have conflict with the other Kindergarten teacher who tried to push demands on her.

 At the end of the school year was also told by the principle if she didn't take a certain class over the summer she wouldn't have a job next school year.  Being a first year teacher she didn't know any different so she took that class over the summer. Typically she has 3-5 years to take this particular class.
Turns out that was a lie. She had time to take that class(she had the typical time line for taking it) and her job was never dependent of her taking it  this summer.  
 
 Last month she returned to the same school as a first grade teacher.   On day one when she went in to set up her class room the principle let her know that her student numbers were low.  And just about every day after that the principle let her know that their numbers were low. She wasn't too worried about it because she had 1 year seniority over the other 2 teachers who were just hired and she was a k-3rd grade teacher.  While having lunch with the other teachers she mentioned about the numbers being low.  None of the other teachers knew anything about it. Which apparently when this kind of thing happens the faculty as a whole should be notified and then they come together to discuss that solutions and then vote on it as a faculty.   In My daughter's case, this didn't happen at all. She was being singled out and was encouraged to contact her teachers union. The numbers cannot be helped, that, she knew. But she actually had seniority over the 2 new teachers who just started. So she didn't really pay too much attention to the numbers.


The 2nd week of school during a faculty meeting as the principle was addressing an issue and asked for questions or suggestions from the teachers.  My daughter raised her hand and offered a suggestion to which the Principle  angrily spouted back "YOU can do that if YOU want to...."  or something to that effect. There was an audible gasp in the room from her coworkers and the teachers who had their hands raised to offer other suggestions, quickly put them down.
  When she privatley confronted the principle about afterwards, the principle was "shocked and horrified"  that she came across that way to her.  However the staff was receiving "a clue."

                                                       Discrimination IS NOT DUCKY!!!

  It was after that faculty meeting that the rest of the staff "got the picture" which then became so OBVIOUS to them.  No less than 4 teachers came to my daughter afterwards and remarked  on how  looking back at the last year and how the Principle has treated her and has been treating her they believe my daughter to discriminated against and the principle and the only reason that made sense was because she was "brown". They began to tell her about little comments and disapproving looks "Daggers" they've heard and seen come from the principle within the last year regarding my daughter. One of them being "we have a  brown teacher to go with all of little brown kids at this school don't we?"

 These teachers, so disgusted with the principle, started calling in to the district and their union in her behalf. My daughter was encouraged to call her Union by the other teachers, which she did immediately. Her union stepped in right away she described to them the situation and they recognized it to be discrimination. The Union rep flat out said.. "Oh, no, this is discrimination...."  Interesting enough, the principle called that same day...a few hours after my daughter.  Which the district agreed was suspect and suspicious.
. In the end, my daughter could continue on at that same school in a different capacity that would be less than favorable for any teacher, not to mention a 2nd year teacher Or she could put her name in the district pool  and be sent to another school while they determine what course of action to take with this principle.  She only had about 24 hours to decide.  Staying and battling and putting up with  this principle who is now being looked at and reviewed by the district.

 I told her THIS is why we stayed in Utah, to be pioneers and to help pave the way for those who could come behind us and to help fight discrimination (race, gender, religious... whatever form it takes) even if just by being a presence to be seen.   
She volunteered as tribute to leave and  will be moving to another school.

Timeline: Last Monday was when she first called the Union. By Tuesday she had to make her decision. Last Thursday it was announced in their faculty meeting she would be leaving.  She said everyone was in tears at the announcement and it felt like she was going to the Hunger Games.
 Even the principle pretended to cry. (Several teachers commented to her about the lack of sincerity in the principle.) Friday she was wondering what her next move would be. They spoke of sending her to Magna.  However Magna has it's own issues with race. So she will not be going to Magna.
    She did finally receive knowledge of where she will be teaching, however, there is no classroom for her. She will be teaching in a portable. Which she has no problem with. Actually will welcome the isolation.  The only issue is that her "RELO" (relocated classroom)will not arrive to her new school for another week.   She starts teaching at her new school tomorrow..

3 days ago She had to tell her First grade students she was leaving them. They were scared and some cried.  Yesterday she spent the day reassuring that change can be good. And she has to go be a teacher for some kids that don't have a teacher. And that it's ok to be scared about the change but they will be taken care of by their new teachers. Then at the end of the day she packed up her student and took them to their new classrooms. They were scared and confused as she dropped each one off and left them. 

   I took the day off work today so I could help her pack her class room. Her  former students would stop and peek in her door with sad faces and wave to her through the window of the class room door. 
 It was really one of the saddest things I've seen.

  Several teachers came in upset and  teary eyed with their desires for her to stay.  They let me know how much of an asset she is and how she will be missed. They also let me know how they were about the situation.  I assured them she was not happy either and as a mother I would rather have her leave then continue to be abused and mistreated.  They all agreed.  I'm also finding out that parents are ringing the phones upset about her leaving and the district is continuing to get calls and complaints regarding this principle.

   I have been silent waiting for her to be located to  a different school so as not to make it more difficult for her.

 But now that she is off the clock today  leaving that place I don't mind saying I AM MAD AS HELL!

  Why did this woman hire my daughter just to mess her around, make her experience as a first year teacher hell, full of  frustration, tears, stress and discrimination?  THIS is not what I wanted for her. THIS is not what she wanted for herself. THIS is not what anyone who knows and loves her wanted for her.     People like that can only hide who they truly are for so long because truth speaks loudly in actions and in expressions. Truth will manifest itself always. ALWAYS.

We are told that in life to play the cards we're dealt. Except, when it comes to that Race card.  It automatically makes you a victim, dramatic, one who antagonizes and is a hater. They say that black people are ALWAYS looking for a time to play the race card.  MY daughter not once mentioned her race in all of this.  She refuse to play all the cards she was dealt. People would have expected her to play it.     However those who know her and the kind of person she was and the amazing teacher she is, they grabbed her hand and played that card for her.  THEY recognized it. THEY  saw it and THEY played it in my daughter's behalf. And it meant something to the district. It meant something to her as well.

 I remember when she experienced something like this in high school and was so upset I got a call from the school to come right over. A student had singled my child out for bullying that day. And she stood up to this bully, but ended up in the office.  Her Counselor asked if she was hurt or harmed. She wasn't.   After speaking with  her and her counselor for about an hour her counselor asked her what she felt was the worse part of this experience.
My daughter said, "I don't care about the person who was trying to bully me. But, it was watching my friends sit back and do nothing at all, they didn't stand beside me, come to my defense or my aide. They just watched and did nothing." 
Her counselor asked her is she wanted to have her friends called down and have a discussion about that.   Props to the counselor for allowing her to have that conversation with her and providing a teaching moment.


 THE SADDEST PART ABOUT RACISM & DISCRIMINATION IS WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH IT AND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY STAND BEHIND AND WATCH INSTEAD OF STEPPING UP AND HOLDING YOU FIRM AS YOU GO THROUGH IT. Those in bondage can never free themselves, it takes those who are free to come in and assist.

                                                            OH  AND SERIOUSLY:

  *drops mic, exits stage left*

6 comments:

s'mee said...

I am so glad that she went to the Union and that things are finally working out.
That said, I am so sad that things like this are still happening. Good grief, when will it stop?

Black Mormon Girl :) said...

I wish I knew. With thing going on and the shooting of the young man down in Saratoga Springs... and "friends" not believing or recognizing what is and isn't discrimination I'm ready to go off. I had a friend doubt me about a harassment issue I was having. This was 6 years ago. Her disbelief and lack of support when I reached out to her for help of what to do and where to go was so hurtful and painful I couldn't even look at her. It's finally taken me THIS long to even have a desire to even try and speak to her again. It's devastating when those who call you friend, sister, and anything else of meaning don't believe of or diminish you're experiences. This happens quite a bit when black people try to share their experiences and issues with their white friends. I'm glad in this case her colleagues decided to take actions and be witnesses in her behalf.
So many "friends" wouldn't do that

Joy Buhler said...

I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. Big Hugs to both of you.

Kara said...

So Karen, you've brought tears to my eyes. I guess since I haven't ever been discriminated against, nor discriminated someone else I just can't understand. Why? It makes me so upset that someone who was educated (assuming this with good reason), and educating my children (or at least the next generation) is allowed to get away with something like this. It is outrageous!

Black Mormon Girl :) said...

It's absolutely outrageous on so many levels. and I would absolutely be raising hell in the school district if my daughter would not feel the backlash of it all. This principle ň needs to be gone.

Black Mormon Girl :) said...

My Daughter's "RELO" that she was supposed to have by Wednesday September 24th Showed up yesterday. What a mess. So many issues with this situation. It was never picked up, Then it was picked up and lost for 2 days, then they didn't have a "permit to move" the darn thing (it's the size of a small mobile home), Then it sat at the wrong school for at least 2 days. Finally it was "Police Escorted" to her school yesterday morning. It was supposed to be a new on. But of course it's an old dated one. Keep in mind during this time, she's been rotating into different classroom "co-teaching" with other teachers. As the desk, shelves and other equipment and furniture sits in the halls of the main school unassembled. We were up late last night packing our vehicles with the items we put in storage from her old class room to take to her new class room. So I've got 1/2 a day off of work to help her move in. Here. We. Go!

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments

Big Brother, Little Sister Moments
Hand in Hand

*sigh*

*sigh*
I earned some temporary wings!