I am completely mentally and emotionally exhausted right now. This is not how I thought my day would end at all. Early this afternoon, while at work, I got called out of a team meeting because my six-year-old son’s principal was on the phone. She was concerned about some of my son’s recent behaviors and, due to the severity, asked that my husband and I both meet with her and his teacher immediately. I left instructions with my team on the next steps of the project we’d been working on, called my husband, and promptly left to meet him at the school so we could get to the bottom of what had happened.
My husband arrived shortly before I did, and we walked into the school’s office together. Our son, DJ, was sitting in one of the chairs with his arms crossed and a look of defiance on his face. When he saw us walk in, he remained where he was, only shifting slightly in his seat. Before I could say anything, the principal walked out of her office to invite us inside. DJ kept looking straight ahead as if he didn’t care whether we were there or not.
As we entered her office, I noticed one of DJ’s teachers was there as well with a very somber look on her face. She was normally very bubbly, so this caught me off guard. My husband and I sat down in the two empty seats as the principal shut the door and sat down at her desk. I felt my heart racing and had to take a deep breath because I had no idea what I was about to be told. I could tell my husband was nervous as well, so I gave him a slight smile as we braced for the news.
The principal thanked us for coming in on such short notice, but reiterated how important it was that we meet as soon as possible. She and DJ’s teacher proceeded to inform us they would describe momentarily some of the behaviors they’ve witnessed our son display over the last few months. Unfortunately, today’s events escalated things quite a bit and action had to be taken. Our son was being expelled from school.
I could feel the air leave my chest, and I wondered what on earth my son could have done that would have led to this situation. The teacher could see from our reactions that we were both a bit shocked. She started off by saying that when it comes to six year olds, it is understood that some things are to be expected. She’s been teaching for a while and has seen quite a bit over the years and knows this year has been difficult given they all have to wear masks to keep each other safe. At first she thought DJ was displaying typical behavior, but it soon began to intensify.
He started interrupting other kids when they were trying to answer a question after being called on. He was reminded each time to wait to be called on. When the kids would be asked to line up to go to the library or lunchroom or even recess, he kept pushing his way to the front of the line and even elbowed another child in the side. He would be asked to go to the back of the line, but pretty soon, he’d push his way to the front and the other kids would just get out of his way to avoid injury.
One of the major problems was his refusal to wear a mask. The principal explained that she knows it’s not fun to have to wear a mask, but she had directed all of the teachers to explain why they were needed. She even had them do a fun experiment when in-person school started back up using bubbles to explain how far droplets can travel. The kids all seemed to like it, and it seemed to get the point across. Despite all this, and the constant reminders, DJ quite often refused to put his mask on and would call the experiment or “bubble race,” as he put it, a “stupid waste of time.”
While on the playground, several of the teachers noticed DJ would occasionally call other kids names. They would quickly remind him that name calling is hurtful and that he should say he’s sorry. He usually did so, but it was getting to be a more common occurrence. The principal said that it wasn’t brought to her attention until several of the teachers had witnessed the same thing but were unaware that it had happened more than once or twice. It turned out that it was happening quite frequently.
The last two things that the principal mentioned to us had happened that day, and they were the last straw. After catching DJ cheating off another student’s numbers worksheets, his paper was taken up and he was asked to move his chair closer to the teacher’s desk. As his teacher had her back to him while writing something on the board, DJ got up and walked over to the teacher and pulled down her skirt in front of the class.
There was an audible gasp both by me and my husband!! I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact with DJ’s teacher. I was mortified that my son had acted that way and that it wasn’t an isolated incident. The look of disappointment on my husband’s face was something I’d never seen during our entire marriage and it broke my heart to see it. I knew immediately that we had a long and serious road ahead of us. We were going to have to work together to figure out how to handle this. The principal is a very kind woman, and she knew this was hard to hear as parents regardless of how difficult it was to convey it as an administrator. She informed us that the expulsion was effective immediately and that we could reach out to her with any questions.
I thanked them both for the time, yet I still don’t know how I got the words out of my mouth. My husband didn’t say a word. Before we left the room, and since I know my husband so well, I told him that I’d take DJ with me and we could discuss this further once we all got home.
For those of you who know me or who have been following my blog, you are very aware that I am neither married (anymore) nor a mom, although not from a lack of trying (see Surviving Those Questions and Comments). My point here is that this behavior of a fictional six year old would make most people concerned. The idea that this would be tolerated by adults or overlooked by parents is inexcusable. Unfortunately, these actions are being brushed off by many people, but they aren’t coming from a child, childish as they are. These actions describe the very actions displayed by the President of the United States.
It was four years ago yesterday that the Hollywood Access tape was released, where Donald Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, yet still voters supported him and continue to do so. We’ve heard him, almost on a daily basis, call those who oppose him names. Even as recently as today, when he referred to Senator, and Vice Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to be on a major party’s ticket, as a “monster” and “communist.”
We all watched as he pushed Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way at a NATO summit in 2017, some describing the move as showing confidence, while others described it as that of a bully. He has embraced dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un while alienating us from our allies across the globe.
He’s either downplayed or refused to wear a mask from the beginning of this pandemic. Just this week, he promptly removed his own mask upon returning to the White House from Walter Reed Hospital after being treated for COVID-19. He entered the residence with no concern for the well-being of those around him, who he was putting at risk for a disease that has already killed over 212,000 people and infected over 7,000,000 people in our country in less than a year. He has proclaimed himself an expert and very knowledgeable in the matters of science, yet he argues with climate scientists when they plead with him to listen to the science and he responds that he doesn’t think “science knows, actually.”
He spent the entire first, and maybe only, Presidential debate talking over Joe Biden and the moderator, refusing to follow the rules his campaign agreed to prior to that evening. This, of course, was only two days after a report in the New York Times revealed that the President had paid far less than his fair share of income tax not only during his presidency, but for at least a decade prior. There’s a reason he has refused to make them public.
My friends, the time is upon us to use what platforms we have to make our voices heard. It is clear that Donald Trump wants you to doubt that your ballot will count. It is clear that he will not go quietly when, yes when, he loses this election. It is clear that another term means the behaviors I have described above will grow exponentially worse, as it is clear those around him allow him to go unchecked.
Let’s show him that we will not tolerate his childish behavior. Let’s show him that we know our vote matters. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and need a ride to a polling station and I am available, I will gladly provide you with my personal masked transportation. Let’s show the WORLD that America is not Donald Trump’s vision of America, but rather a country that believes in loving one another because what makes us all different is something to be celebrated, not feared.