Oh, I so dearly love my daughter. I’m missing her a lot right now. She called me yesterday to tell me about her bad day at school. She has lots of bad days at school. She’s feisty and outspoken, and she’s going to a small, rural high school in a rather closed-minded area of Arkansas. Imagine this tiny, punky kid with died hair extensions, crazy clothes and assorted piercings walking into a classroom full of farm kids each day. Sigh…my girl.
So, newsflash… she got suspended. Again. Keep in mind that she has one of the highest GPAs in her school. She’s very bright. But, somehow, she manages to mess up now and then. This time, it was by using her friend’s cell phone in the school bathroom because her ride to work had fallen through. She was trying to make desperate, last minute arrangements. A teacher walked in right in the middle of her conversation, and BOOM! My little darling daughter was immediately escorted to the principal’s office. So was the girl whose phone she used.
She cried, she begged, she explained. She didn’t try to get out of the in-school suspension. She was trying to let the principal know that this was in no way her friend’s fault. She told him that this was entirely her doing and that she’d take whatever punishment he gave her, but to let her friend have her cell phone back. She even told him that she’d stolen the phone from her friend’s purse, and that the girl didn’t even know that it was gone. The principal didn’t buy it. He’s making the girl’s parents come and get the phone. Her very mean parents. My daughter’s worried about what they’ll do to her friend when they find out.
It’s hard to help with these things long distance. I told my daughter that I wished I could hug her and buy her a cup of cocoa. I looked the friend’s parents phone number up on Infospace and gave it to her. She’s going to call them and explain that this was all her fault, and see if she can diffuse things a little.
“Wait Mom. It got worse.” She told me that she had to go to the office to find out the date of her suspension. It was supposed to be today. The day she was scheduled to go on a special field trip for kids who’d scored really well on some state testing. She’s been looking forward to it for weeks. “Mom, I lost it. I just totally broke down,” she said. The woman behind the desk took pity on her and rescheduled the suspension for Monday.
My daughter then had to go back and talk to the principal about the fact that the LAST time she had an in-school suspension, the teacher in charge of the suspension room gave her a hard time for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. She’s had problems with this before, as you can imagine. I’ve always told her to stick by her principles, but to be prepared to back them up. This teacher told her that if she didn’t stand for the Pledge, he’d report her and she’d be given an even longer suspension. My daughter challenged him on this by presenting him with a copy of the student handbook, which defends a student’s right to quietly not stand. This made him angrier, and he gave her a very hard time. She took the handbook to the principal today, a preemptive strike to avoid another confrontation with the same teacher over the same issue. The principal actually agreed with her, told her he’d talk to the teacher, and that she would not be harassed.
It’s hard to watch her struggle while she figures out life. And as her mom, I’m more proud of her than upset. She’s learning to correct her mistakes, show loyalty to her friends, fight her own battles, and she has integrity. Have I mentioned how much I love her?