December 16, 2011

Scary Public Schools

     When we first moved into our house, I was excited about finally being able to settle into a place instead of moving every couple of years. My son Anthony attended the same elementary school regardless of where we lived because I wanted him to have continuity, and I made the extra effort to commute him there. I was looking forward to being here permanently and having a school close by that he could walk or ride his bike to.
     That wish was promptly dashed the first morning we left the house. We live next door to the high school and the kids were on their way to school. I had never been so frightened/appalled by young people before. These people were angry, slovenly, foul mouthed, and all around nasty. I surprised myself at how strongly I reacted to them. I was 'different' in high school and I believe that kids need to be allowed to express themselves and be individuals. I guess the difference between me and them is that I still had respect for other people while expressing myself.
     I'm sure there are plenty of good kids at that school but I also know that there are some rotten ones. So I decided to put my Anthony into a charter school. It is an independent study program where he studies one subject at a time, at his own pace. He meets with his teacher three times a week, and the rest of the time he is home working with me. I had concerns that he would not get to socialize with people his own age. Then I thought back to when I was in middle school, and the type of socialization I got. I had friends, but I also had to worry about my hair (which was never right), my clothes (which were ugly because at a whopping 100 pounds I was too fat to get the cool clothes), and mean girls that I didn't even know that would beat up my friends because they made eye contact.
     I decided that it was okay for Anthony to miss out on that stuff. I would just have to make an effort to get him involved with other kids that were doing something positive. He is an active boy scout in a troop of really nice, respectful kids. I would like to get him involved in sports soon as well. I don't know if I will keep him in this school until he graduates, but I do think he can be a better high school student if he can avoid the virtual torture of middle school. Hopefully he can concentrate on his studies and build some confidence. He can socialize with good kids. And if he does go to the regular high school, he will be confident enough to make the right decisions, even if they aren't cool.

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