Before school this morning I had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting for a young lady who is struggling in all of her classes. D is a sweet child with a difficult past. It was awesome to see the teachers come out to support her. However, it was beyond discouraging to sit back and watch D's grandparents (her guardians) rip her apart. As a team, we tried to be positive. Each time something encouraging was suggested or stated by a staff member, D's grandparents would tear it apart. They are convinced that D does nothing in class - I had to tell them that I actually see her with my own eyes - and she works. I repeatedly asked D's grandparents to allow me to finish my sentences...they interrupted me on several occasions. The negative words that came flying from their lips was unlike anything else I've ever experienced. They were harsh towards her, her failed mother, her failed teachers, and her overall failures in life.
Never before have I had to leave a meeting out of fear - fear that I was either going to reach across the table and slap these people, or fear that I might say something inappropriate. My cue to leave this meeting came as soon as D's grandmother made a statement about the future..."If D doesn't get her act together, she's going to fail in life and have to work alongside those retard people."
Are you kidding me?
To these people I say, "Ha. You might be having a difficult time loving your child, but I am here to help fill that void. When you tell her that she's not good enough, I will tell her that I am proud of what she has accomplished. When you insist that she is never going to amount to much in life, I will remind her that she is beautiful and life is full of endless possibles. Each night as my head hits the pillow, I will pray for this young lady and her rough home life. I will even seek out the prayers of those around me. D has the ability to go places in life - to be someone who others admire, respect and look up to. I will do whatever it takes to help her realize this...and remind her that not everyone in this life is against her. Ha."
P.S. Did I mention that D was present at this meeting? Yeah, how sad! Oh, and every teacher who walked out of that room today cried on behalf of this child.