At three Mark was nearing mobility, had emerging but unintelligible verbal language, could sign his needs, some feelings, and name basic farm animals.
I had to return to my teaching job, and Mark had to go to Day Care. I had known all along the county had a preschool for special needs children. And it was FREE. It was 1989.
Our county preschool for special needs children was housed at our county fairgrounds. I went to visit. From the outside I walked up to a 10x 12 patch of dirt and weeds, surrounded by a dilapidated chain link fence. A few 1950’s red metal tricycles lay around. Several preschoolers were milling about the yard, and no supervision was to be seen. That was IT for the outdoor activities. Inside, the classrooms were dim and largely undecorated. One youngster was huddled under a teacher’s desk. I had been there for 15 minutes and had not seen an adult anywhere.
Then I heard a woman screaming, “Time to come in!” I will call her Mrs. Scary. She was inside the hallway door out of view of most of the kids. She hollered a few more times and got into a frustrated rage. She had not taken one step onto the “playground” to signal the children to come in. I knew these were children with various learning and language disorders. This was a poor method to invite them back into the classroom! Her tone had clearly alarmed them as much as it had alarmed me. The more upset she became, the more they huddled at the far end of the yard. They looked like tiny criminals against the chain link fence about to face a firing squad.
I was determined to stay out of the fracas, but she shot out a last threat unless they came in- and they began to creep toward the door. I had come up from the classrooms behind her. Suddenly, as the first children approached to slip past her into the dim hallway, I saw her arm come up sharply. I can only say I had an instinctive reaction and caught her wrist on its way down to club a few kids.
I remember saying to her, “I don’t ever want to see you treat children this way again!”
Maybe I just happened to meet Mrs. Scary on the worst day of her life………
Yes, I called the director of the pre-school and the superintendent.
Yes, I called C.P.S.
Yes, I inquired amongst the special education community.
Yes, I was labeled a nosy bitch mother, and Mrs. Scary kept her job at the Special Ed. Preschool.
No, Mark did not attend the county special Ed. Class, even if it was for FREE.
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