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My kindergartner was denied an opportunity to sing at his school’s winter recital today. He’s been struggling with anxiety since school began to the point that we’ve even had some assessments done by the school. We have a behavior plan in place for him. He does well some days, not so much on others. This morning was one of those “not so much” days. But what bothers me is that the school framed their decision about avoiding embarrassment “for him” or us, as parents, but pointed to his outbursts in a negative light as justification for their decision. We weren’t consulted, which makes me feel like they just didn’t want him there. If it was about avoiding embarrassment for us or him, they should have asked us what we thought—and not a mere two hours before he was supposed to show up for final rehearsal.

When I spoke with the headmaster (equivalent to a principal), the consistent theme conveyed was that this was punishment for his behavior because willful bad behavior has consequences. (Which, I agree, it does.) But (a) we’re talking about a kindergartner, and (b) a kindergartner with anxiety. My biggest concern right now is that all the self-confidence he gained over these last few months will be lost because he’s been sobbing off-and-on since we told him he couldn’t perform.[^ We ended up doing our own performance at home with hot chocolate. He nailed every song without music and only needed help on one verse of the lyrics. I’m convinced he would have done great at the concert.] I think what bothers me most is that the school is trying to have it both ways: they want to punish him for his outbursts but they also want to frame it as though they are trying to do us a solid without ever actually asking what we think our kid is capable of doing.

E.g., if it is really about his behavior, they need to do more documentation, and we should re-consider his anxiety assessment from a few weeks ago. If it is about the anxiety and embarrassment, then his behavior today—which was the apparently last straw in their decision—shouldn’t have been a factor.[^ Honestly, I think maybe they don’t want him there. It’s a charter school, so diverting resources to kids like him takes away from the mission, mission, I’d like to say I support and in which I believe. I did chose to send him there after all.]

Generally I’m opposed to airing one’s dirty laundry on social media. But, hey, my Micro following isn’t that popular (vs, e.g., my Twitter and Facebook). And this is more of a personal record of my feelings than anything else. I’m sure a good night sleep will help me sort though what I think, and feel, about the whole debacle.

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