I am going to say the unpopular thing that we don’t want to say, but in denying it, I am equally as culpable; so I must say it.
To those pulling the strings, writing the policies, writing the scripts, the denial of services and accommodations to all learning disabled children in the educational environment, what you’re engaging in is child abuse.
When you deny my child’s learning disability exists, this means he suffers in your school.
How does he suffer? He thinks he’s stupid which leads to low self esteem. His teachers think he’s a problem and brush him aside which leads to low self esteem. His classmates tease him because they think he’s dumb, which leads to low self esteem.
And low self esteem is a slope to more dangerous conditions like depression and anxiety.
Definition of Depression
Noun – Feelings of severe despondency and dejection
Synonyms: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, gloominess, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, moroseness, discouragement, despair, desolation, dolefulness, moodiness, pessimism, hopelessness
Defition of Anxiety
Noun – A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, perturbation, fretfulness, agitation, angst, nervousness, nerves, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, misgiving, trepidation, foreboding, suspense
In Psychiatric terms – a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
You may acknowledge the learning disability exists, but not to the degree that it is truly there. This means he suffers in your school.
And again that is abuse, and you perpetuate it upon him.
You may acknowledge the learning disability exists, but you deny services and / or accommodations.
Yet again that is abuse, and you perpetuate it upon him.
You may acknowledge the learning disability exists, but you refuse to train the teachers that will encounter my child about why the accommodations and services are important and what his learning disability means and therefore they refuse to acknowledge, help or accommodate him.
So yet again that is abuse, and you willfully perpetuate it upon him.
Because you do not train your teachers on how to work with my child, so he is misunderstood and mistreated in the classroom environment.
That is abuse, and you are at fault.
You have deemed my child unworthy of an education.
That is neglect and neglect is abuse.
You have told my child, that in your opinion, he is doomed to a life as functionally illiterate, and you do not care if he ever achieves more.
You are willingly, knowingly and without a care in the world, abusing my child.
So, how are you, dear educational establishment, any different from a parent or caregiver who strikes their child with their fists?
The emotional repercussions of the abuse you heap onto my child through your denial of his learning disability and subsequent needs is as emotionally damaging as the repercussions of physical and emotional abuse levied by a parent or caregiver.
Just because the bruises and bone deep injuries do not show on his skin does not mean he is not being abused.
You call Child Protective Services on parents all of the time, yet the abuse you willingly and knowingly pile onto my child’s heart, head and soul is equally as egregious as the abuse punched into their little faces and bodies by bad parents, and you pay no consequences for your abuse.
You help the establishment calculate the necessary number of prison beds for 15-20 years in the future by calculating how many 8 year old children cannot read in your schools, and while that is purported to be a myth, it stings as true.
And how is that not abuse?
The abuse you reap bears consequences to the individual and to society.
Some statistical facts of your educational malfeasance:
- If children do not read on grade level by the end of 4th grade, there is a 40% probability those children are going to be on welfare at some point in time.
- Approximately 80% of the children in the juvenile justice system have learning disabilities.
- Approximately 80% of high school drop outs have a learning disability.
- The #3 killer of teenagers is suicide. When the notes they leave behind are analyzed, 80% of those notes are full of spelling mistakes. Why do you think that is? I’ll tell you what it is. It’s an undiagnosed or unremediated learning disability that you choose to either ignore or not treat appropriately.
- Approximately 80% of the US prison population is estimated to have a learning disability
- As of 2008 it costs $35,000 per year per inmate to inter them in a US prison
- In Texas we spend less than $10,000 per student, but $20,000 per inmate per year. (https://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/education-vs-prison-costs/?fbclid=IwAR3xHAWZ9zoCfqj1vYCiaGR_0BOjCkpuj7xXZWfi-xImt7TLOX5NCnAPoFU)
Want some more?
- There is an epidemic of reading failure that we have the scientific evidence to treat effectively and we are not acknowledging or implementing it. -Dr. Sally Shaywitz
- In 4th grade, students need 2 hours of instructional time to make the same gains as made in 30 minutes of instructional time in Kindergarten. -Joseph, Torgeson, 2004, 2007
- Most teachers delay evaluating a child with reading difficulties because they believe the problems will be temporary…reading problems are not outgrown, they are persistent. -Dr. Sally Shaywitz
The science of reading is clear and unarguable, yet you continue to push failing methods down the throats of our children, choosing to damage them, harm them, fail them, abuse them.
But, dear perpetrators of abuse, you are really skilled in the pain you inflict. Decades of practice have made you adept at your skill. And parents feel powerless to stop you.
You have tied and bound our children to torture tables and while you beat our children with your neglect and refusal to teach, you force us to watch as you destroy the angels we gave birth to, and do all you can to make us powerless to change it.
You willingly and knowingly destroy the souls of our children, yet you take no responsibility for your role in their destruction.
You are amoral!
You are reprehensible!
You are unconscionable!
You are a criminal!
You are an abuser!
Your crimes should be punishable by the courts, yet you get away with it year after year, child after child, believing you are a good person, when in reality you are not a good person, you are a child abuser.
And to the employees of the educational establishment sitting there facing the parents who are pleading with you while you read the scripts handed to you by the powers that be, while you follow the rules espoused by your districts, not questioning, not fighting back, it is with sadness that I have to tell you that you are equally guilty.
Whether doing so out of ignorance or not, you are equally guilty. Why? Because you are the face of the denial. You choose to say the words. You choose to stand against the child, against the parent begging for help.
How can you look into the eyes of any child and deem them unworthy? How can you look at that child and brush them off as not worth your time, energy, effort or care?
When you have a parent standing in front of you begging, pleading for services and accommodations, how can you sit there and placidly read from a script and deny that child?
Why do you not question if what you are doing is right? Why do you willingly read from the script day after day when you know that this cannot be just?
How many meetings do you have to sit in with impassioned parents fighting for their children’s survival and NOT CARE, NOT QUESTION, NOT RAGE with the parent about the ABUSE being heaped onto the head of their innocent child?
Just because “this is the way that it’s done” does NOT mean that it is right!
You entered the educational field because you have a love for children. The powers that be, the ones perpetuating this abuse for years have beaten you into silence through fear of repercussions, but, if you all stood up together, do you have any idea how powerful you would be?
If you stood and locked arms with the parents who are begging for the lives of their children, do you realize what could be achieved?
Together we could end the abuse and do so much more for education.
But, back to the educational establishment.
The parents fighting for their children’s rights are not insane, they are not difficult, they are not “THAT” parent. They are fighting for their children’s right to fulfill their dreams but in more general terms, they are fighting for their children’s rights to fulfill and live the American dream; so why are these parents, why are their children so unworthy? What is it about them that makes their children’s dreams not worth fulfilling? What sin did that parent or that child commit against you that YOU DEEM THEM UNWORTHY?
WHO GAVE YOU THAT RIGHT?
Because that’s what you did!
You made the decision whether conscious or not that THIS CHILD is unworthy!
And, HOW DARE YOU!!!!
And in even more twisted logic, you teach the American dream every day in school’s across this country, yet you sit there and DENY it to the majority of your students. It’s like a pipe dream only meant for a select few.
If I could drag you in front of a judge and try you for your ignorance and contempt I would.
If I could send the criminals pulling the strings to a prison with an oubliette full of unnavigable educational torture with no help and a troll to guard you whose only job is to ridicule you and make fun of you forever I would.
You cannot escape the fact that through your counterfeit bureaucracy you have created a system of torture, of neglect, of abuse.
You sin against our children every day.
You lie to, mistreat and abuse our children every single day.
(And please note this condemnation is in no way to detract from the horror of physical and emotional abuse of a child by a parent, family member or care giver. My argument is the systematic abuse by our educational establishment can be and is equally damaging.)
7 comments on “Dear School, You Are Abusing My Child”
When the signs of dyslexia began the school was masterful at denying and gaslighting us. Our only option was to take our child for repeated outside testing. The schools response was to put him through more testing to deny the outside testing. We found the school was not following the guidelines of the tests they used and multiple individuals were covering this up. You can not go against the machine of a school district and win. The child always is lost. It takes years for Due Process to work thru all the steps. Yes we ended up reporting the school on multiple IEP violations. We were lucky because we kept documentation. The school lied, did not provide adequate services, and we did catch them. The retaliation was not worth it. They continued the same behavior. Our child is now homeschooled. You can not fight for services without repercussions. The only way to win is to fight at the state and federal level to get funding for services. The one thing all funding needs is a stipulation that the money is only used for learning disabled children. We watched for years as our school district used the funds elsewhere within the district.
I am heartbroken by the information provided in your post. I do have to report that all schools in the US have to follow a mandate called Response to Intervention when considering eligibility for a learning disability. It may seem that the professionals are “lying or refusing services” but we are required to consider data regarding interventions implemented.
Hi Donna. Thank you for commenting. We do understand that data has to be collected, for any decision to be made you have to deal with facts, not intuition, sadly however most schools across this country never acknowledge that dyslexia exists, or any other learning challenge for that matter. Our educational system is mired in poor reading methods for teaching that impacts far more than just our dyslexic children. We have a genuine literacy crisis in this country that’s growing bigger with each passing day, but to this blog post specifically, as a parent who is fighting for my child to be taught the way that he needs to be taught, as a parent advocate who supports other parents just trying to get their children taught they way they learn, it cannot be denied that what our schools are engaged in is abuse. From what you’ve written I believe you want to help our children and you’re doing all you can and I truly thank you for that. I really do. As the parent sitting on the other side, more often than not our children are systematically failed every single day. I can sadly provide testimony after testimony across the entire country showing this is true. Please stay here and keep reading. I’m not yet done sharing. Please also consider following myself and others on Facebook under Dyslexic Houston and The Dyslexia Initiative. We have a lot more coming.
While agree with all of this as a dyslexia teacher I’m on the other side of the table working so hard to help my children whom have been diagnosed with dyslexia and see the parents say in their actions that yes now it’s your problem. They quit helping at home, don’t use the ideas I provide, don’t read with them. I even had one parent tell me that they shouldn’t help anymore because they didn’t know what to do. Thank you for your perspective. As an educator I’m just as frustrated as these parents you mentioned in the article. Thank you for listening.
As a teacher (interventionist) and a parent, I fully see how learning is a struggle for students with disabilities such as dyslexia. I know there are surely instances where these children are not being fully served. Our educational system has its flaws for sure. Please, however, do not lump us all into the same category of uncaring abusers. Truly we must work with parents of each child we teach to do everything in our power to help them succeed. It’s hard, gut-wrenching work on every side. I can truly say that on my campus, we work hard to meet the needs and welcome the truth parents bring about their child’s life.
This essay is very moving and full of powerful truths. IMO, anyone advocating for children to remain captive in a perpetually abusive and indifferent educational environment, (expecting them to wait for “reforms” to come to fruition) is also culpable for neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, many teachers fit this description and need to look in a mirror. Please support universal vouchers.
This article made me cry. I echo, agree, and FEEL everything you wrote here. I’ve been battling these issues for my 11 year since she started kindergarten. I feel helpless and hopeless and have become so stressed, so overwhelmed and depressed because of this. Being a single mother is hard enough. I am exhausted from fighting with these schools. I have severe anxiety and depression— a lot of it stemming from these hardships I deal with regarding my daughter and dyslexia and ADD. My last resort is exposing all of this online through podcasting, or other media. I have cried too many tears over this.
I’m sorry you have gone through similar hell.