by BERN MORLEY
“He’s just incredibly sad all the time.”
I knew I was doing that furious blinking thing I do when I’m trying not to cry.
“He’s just not coping Mrs Morley, I’m sorry but I’m just not sure that this is the right school for your son.” I angrily wiped the tears from my face and looked at the Principal. This was a state school, I mean, they didn’t even expel the kid that constantly tried to kick his teacher in the testicles, yet here she was telling me that my sweet Sam could no longer attend? I turned to look at his teacher. She didn’t meet my eye.
“So then, what do we do?” I knew I sounded childlike, whiny. Not like I should. Not like a mother should. Not like his advocate should.
“Well, there are schools that are more suitable for a child like Sam.”
“A child like Sam?” I was thrown. Sure, Sam is an eccentric child. He’s a child that needs a little extra help with reading and writing and I’m not deluded, he is definitely different, but “a child like him” sounded so sinister, so final.
“A socially and emotionally challenged child that has difficulty learning without support.” This sentence was delivered with a well-rehearsed and I’d like to think, well-meaning smile. “Sam is not a normal child. When we met him, when you enrolled him, I didn’t foresee these kind of challenges.” She looked around nervously, at the floor, anywhere, but at me. When she finally shifted in her chair and looked up, her demeanour had changed. She wanted to get her message through to me, my feelings were no longer her priority. “Look, he’s just not progressing here, and frankly, we don’t have the time to spend with him. Not the time he needs. I’m sorry Mrs Morley, but you’ll need to make other arrangements for his schooling.” I blinked. Hard. “I have the name of a few institutions; I mean educational institutions that take children like ‘him.” They know how to deal with his quirks, his learning disability, they can help.”