What have I learned from our friend Dr. Suess?

That with a few words

we could All call a truce.

*

We must say what we mean

and Mean what we say.

This gives us all time

to come together another day.

*

A jumble of meanings never helps us

speak out.

Those twists and those turns

gives others a chance to pout.

*

Come with me today

on an adventurous new road.

New markers and paving

makes the journey smoother,

I’m told.

 

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Where are the emails within ASD?

Sexual attack at Rogers Park Elementary

Have we ever talked about that attack?

Let’s begin.

***

One day parents were panicked,

the newspaper loaded with the news

Oh, we didn’t want to hear it.

This District is all about the right to choose.

*

A child had been sexually attacked by another,

in the bathroom,

in a grade school.

Oh dear!

*

Where did it happen, were our schools really safe?

Oh, it happened somewhere else?

so comforting the threat wasn’t near.

*

Cover up where it happened,

Ms Comeau needed  to keep a clean space.

Keep it a secret, don’t  tell anyone,

on the orders of the District’s attorney

while speaking directly to our face.

*

A meeting soon was happening on the orders of the Board,

between us and Ms Comeau

where the atmosphere was charged and holding in overload.

“We shouldn’t have to move from Bayshore to get our kids to a school which is safe.”

All the while Ms Comeau sat there knowing the sexual attack had just happened

in our newly chosen place.

*

The teacher who didn’t  know where those children were to be

was not removed, and was never named

But, the principal’s head did roll.

the incompetence covered up, so that parents wouldn’t ever really know.

*

A name which might be recognized and upset the public sport.

accountability, the order is extremely tall,

but we know here in Anchorage

a five-year old

is not as important as winning a season of … football.

Rogers Park Elementary

1400 E Northern Lights Blvd.

Anchorage, Ak
99508

I have to wonder

what brought it on.

The whistleblower concept

to release the sound of a different song?

*

I sang a song, so long ago.

But where ever I turned, people said…

We Don’t Want To Know.

*

How could they miss him hitting the kids?

Ordering the falsification of records?

They didn’t,

and that’s the problem…

of which Ms Comeau demanded to be hid.

*

The Code of Ethics, it should mean a great deal.

Ms Comeau didn’t follow them,

and I wrote it down, turned it in, documented it…

for real.

*

Where did all of those records go?

Those statements,

those emails?

What file 13 in which someone was ordered

in which to throw?

*

I really think these Anchorage School District leaders

should hold themselves up high,

and pronounce a new beginning

so employees aren’t ordered to lie.

*

I’m very glad it’s changing,

I wish my cost hadn’t been so high.

when the secrets must be buried deep,

will only rot and come back to haunt

to those to whom it should really reap.

*

 

on the first day of school

from preschool

’til now

each year showing more gray hair,

longer legs

time closer to being

out that door!

August 16th, 2011

Just how long does it take?

 

When you are a gardener

you are compelled

to plant the seeds.

Churn the earth

bring up to the top,

to meet the poppy’s needs.

If you are a gardener

you know how time will foil,

those best laid plans,

with weathered demands,

growing surprises in the soil.

When you are a gardener,

you know the meaning of time.

You weed, you pick,

you water, you wait,

and hope, again, that all will be fine.

When you are a gardener,

you know right now isn’t it.

But  to work you must,

because in goodness you trust,

others will have shade under which to sit.

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

– Irish Proverb –

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

– Helen Keller –

Dear Jack, Kim and Keelin,

Some day I will be gone and there are a few things which I hope you remember.

Today the police came and said that if I emailed the Anchorage School District again, I would be arrested.  The officers were nice, but they didn’t want any information.  And that’s a shame, because I must continue to speak.  I must.

When Kim was crying and twitching and tapping and a total emotional mess, I still had faith in a system for whom I worked.  I had a faith, which was destroyed by Carol Comeau, the very top leader of the Anchorage School District.  When she sat across from you Dad and myself and said she got my letter about the kids being hit and chose to ignore it–well, as a mom, I knew I could never protect you in school.

No mom should ever feel that way.  I tried to protect you and I failed.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t do a good job as a mother.

We met some really nice people at Rogers Park after we moved from Bayshore to get away from a teacher who hit children and a principal who knew it was happening and hid the mistreatment.  But again, a teacher at Rogers Park was negligent and  children were hurt.  Again, the Anchorage School District covered up an incompetent teacher so that parents wouldn’t know.  I am grateful that Keelin had a different teacher for kindergarten.

But Kim didn’t tell me that her 4th grade teacher was scaring and intimidating the kids.  I ‘m sure I would have just blown apart to known, once again, I couldn’t protect my kids.  Talking with several other parents, I now know that their concerns were taken all the way to the Superintendent’s office and Carol Comeau did not respond.

I am so sorry to ever allowed you to be with people who are mean to children.  This information has been hidden from us, and now I do try to pull you out of any classroom where the teacher’s behavior is a concern.  And there are many of them.

I don’t understand why someone would take food away from children, but that’s what the cafeteria manager did at Wendler.  I’m sorry you couldn’t get lunch that day, Kim.

I’m sorry Kim, that you had to sit in a room with a teacher would punish an entire class for a couple of children misbehaving, but that’s what your Math teacher at Wendler did.

I don’t understand why people would steal money from a PTA or Pennies for Patients, but that’s what I believe staff at Wendler did.

I’m sorry, both Jack and Kim, that you sat through classes with the Wendler PE teachers and they only graded you on how many laps you ran, while they sat around.  I didn’t know then, but after talking with you both, as well as other parents, I know the PE teachers have bullied kids at Wendler for years.

I am sorry Jack that the Student Government at East plans the prom and pep assemblies instead of giving kids a real opportunity to participate in students governing themselves and speaking out for issues that are important to the students.

I’m sorry Jack that you have had to sit with a Social Studies teacher who only put in videos of college lectures and a Math teacher who played the “teacher pet” game and didn’t assist other kids.

I’m sorry Kim that you ended up with a Cosmetology  teacher at King Career Center  that had so little to offer you, that you read library books during class in order to keep yourself occupied.  Or that she told you it was OK to sleep during class as long as you did it on the massage table so no one would know.  I know how much you were looking forward to this class and what a disappointment it has been.

I’m sorry Jack that you have written the Anchorage School Board members for the past six months and they will not respond to you.  Please know that their behavior is a reflection on them–not you.

The Anchorage Police Department says that if I speak out by email again, I will be arrested on criminal charges.  I must speak out.  An email to ASD is not important to me, but I must speak out that children continue to be hurt.  That teachers within ASD have mistreated kids and Carol Comeau knows, but will not use her power to make things better.

I want you all to know you may walk away from any classroom, any teacher, any administrator and come home.  I want you to always maintain your own power.  No one in the Anchorage School District has the power to mistreat you, even if they try.  You always have the power to walk out of any situation and I will be right there to get you.

I will continue to speak out–how I do it doesn’t really matter.   Someone has to be loudest.  I didn’t really want the job, but at this point I volunteered, so I’ll finish for however long it takes.  The cover-ups of abuse within the Anchorage School District is not acceptable.  I beleve Carol Comeau will continue to try and make me be quiet.  I want you to know that each and every one of you is too precious for me to ever be quiet.

Love, Mom

What was the point, really?

There was never a way to make it right.

The meeting was taped, the tape transcribed.

And when I said, “We shouldn’t have to move to get our kids to a safe school.”

Carol Comeau knew that we had put our children into the very school where a sexual attack had happened only a few days before.  And she knew that parents in Rogers Park Elementary were never going to be openly told that it was at that school.  And that the negligent teacher would not be removed from a classroom.

And our children are not safe in any school, due to the cover-ups of abuse by Anchorage School District employees.

If grief is like a slough,

then anger is a pair of boots that help you walk though it.

because you can’t ignore it.

You can’t walk around it.

You must walk though it.

And, when Carol Comeau said, “Ben Hardwick has his supporters.”

and Mike says, “Hitler had his supporters, too”

And when Jan Christensen said, “The bar is not high enough to fire him.”

and I said, “My children are not a high enough bar–what will it take?”

So who determines what to grieve?

Trust gone?  Betrayal?  Being told, just told anything

to fill the space that truth will invade if left empty?

Permeate the air with new energy, only to find the same black spirit

pervasive, with no change.

To grieve anew, when lied to, used and with choices denied.

Who should take it upon himself to withhold?  Is that how he would want to be treated?  Or was it the easy way, the learned way, repetition numbing responsibility or ability to reach out.

Playing games on planes of the Universe.

Slapping aside any who say they want to play.

Paid players winning with fouls, refs bought to say the play.

and the commissioner says, go forward, apply constant pressure

But don’t get mad.

I think it is really–don’t let people see you get mad.

Mad, anger, motivation, to apply persistence.

Who could do it day in and day out

in the middle of a Happy Dance?

I had set it aside,

Really, I had.

Time to move on and spread a new ripple.

Sunlight replaced with shade trees,

Cedar siding for blue aluminum.

Mountain views exchanged for a room of my own,

tucked up under the eaves, and walking out of a tree house.

Swimming upstream, forming new bonds.

Always being knocked off-center with

Demands that couldn’t be met.

I’m sick I say… I think I say

Since I could no longer think.

Lamaze breathing on the drive to work,

worse than any labor because it would not end.

and…I just stop.  Stop.  One.  Day.

I can no longer put one foot in front of the other.

I can no longer speak.

Months go by and I can begin to look again…

but what do I see?

What do I feel?

Will I learn new ways to be what I was?

The damage is done

Yet continues because the force has not been enough

to change the inertia.

The force where other children are hurt

Other families are injured.

and each classroom is an island.

And each island is either a safe island

Or

an unsafe island.

And if you are on an unsafe island, you will not be allowed to

Leave.

 

art is Crank Whimsy

Rogers Park Elementary

Anchorage, Alaska

 

 

 

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