The other day my husband and I were talking about the school situation with Beans last year, and how I was still angry at one of our friendly acquaintances (Beans bus driver) for not taking a stand for Beans. He said I was taking it too personally.
I said, " I don't think you're taking it personally enough!"
Here we have a very outgoing, friends with everyone, well known,very popular person from our town, and probably whole area. In an effort to not get messy she chose to pretty much not take a side, though I do feel like she leaned on the school's side a little. She seemed to always give them the benefit of the doubt. "Maybe he fell down?" She would pose. Or, "So and so's mom said that her daughter had GREAT results with that teacher." She totally ignored the fact that my child was sent home seriously injured from that classroom, and then thrown aside as the school attacked me, as if I was the one who was wrong for asking what happened. She chose to remain quiet, and supportive of my family so as not to ruffle feathers.
It was very personal.
A few days ago I was in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for my items. I have tunnel vision most of the time. I can't filter my attention on all of my surroundings, so I tend to only be paying attention to one thing at a time at the exclusion of the rest of my environment. This keeps me from getting visually overwhelmed. I could feel someone inching closer, and closer behind me. I always feel a bit of anxiety when I need to pay for my items, so this is a kind of anxious moment for me anyway. It is a ton worse if I feel like I'm being rushed, or bothered. I went from annoyed to downright irritated as the person kept moving closer. All that I could think was " Who the f*ck stands so close to someone they don't even know? I mean, come on!" By the time I was gathering my receipt I looked out of the corner of my eye to see that it was one of the paras from Beans old school. She had been in his classroom many years, but not the last one he was hurt in. She was trying to non-verbally get my attention, and of course for me in a busy grocery store that takes about the equivalent of a baseball bat type of body language move to hit me over the head with. I am also moderately face blind, so it's amazing I recognized her at all.
I froze. I didn't know what to do. She was a good para. She is a good person in general. I however could not shake the fact that she was one of the people I had reached out to (through another school para from a different building) ask what happened. She was just in the classroom next door. Did she see anything? Did she hear anything? At first, she was forthcoming with info, until she went to work the next day, and was likely threatened by the principal to not talk to anyone about the situation. Then she clammed up, along with all the staff that I knew from that building. I know they were threatened with their jobs. I know we all need money to get by, but I would never ever choose money over doing what is right.
I made the snap decision to completely ignore her. I know it is not the socially acceptable, keeping the peace with others by not being difficult way. I don't care. I don't do what I am told to do. I do what is is ethically right. I may not make a lot of friends that way, but I don't need a bunch of fake friends who would forsake me, and my family for their own social standing anyway.
So, I did take it personally, and I still am. I probably still will be next year, and the year after that. Some call it holding a grudge. I'd let it all go in a second if any of those people from Beans school approached me, and sincerely told me they were sorry for unfriending me on FB when this happened. That they were sorry for what happened to Beans. That they were sorry they didn't stand up, and speak out for him when he needed them to. Until then, you're damn right I'm calling them out for choosing their own comfort over the safety, and well being of disabled students.