Reform Rochester Now!

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Collecting my daughter’s personal effects

This is the last day in July. In my news feed there came a post by someone I knew to the FaceBook page of my child’s former school. I followed the link and went to the page.

Then I remembered that I never got her final report card! I saw an instruction given to 8th grade parents to call the school, because the office is open. So, I called my daughter’s former school. The secretary answered the phone. She was happy to hear from me!

“Come on over,” she said. “I have a box of your daughter’s belongings right here….” So I went over there to pick up my daughter’s belongings. While you’re reading this, I want you to keep in mind that I wasn’t allowed to set foot on school grounds once her principal permitted her father to abduct her on June 15, earlier this year.

I showed up in the office. Another woman went to the secretary when she saw me. She looked like she was in a panic. You see, when my daughter went to that school, people knew that NO ONE was allowed to bully my child. When my daughter’s hoodie sweater with the hearts on it got taken recently, I wrote a note. The sweater was returned. I’m THAT kind of mom.

I answered the woman, saying, “I was invited to come.”

The secretary asked me how my daughter was. You see, HER name is Nancy, too. They were the only two Nancys in the school. I told her I didn’t know. But I quickly added, “I got to talk to her on her birthday recently, and she seemed OK.” I told her I found a way for her to speak to her best friend Robert who told her how the talent contest worked out, and how Exhibit Night went, and how graduation went, since she couldn’t be there. I asked if any of my daughter’s classmates asked about her, and the secretary told me one of the 6th grade teachers took time to let the class know that my daughter was “in a safe place.” I looked her in the eye and told her, “you know that’s not true, right?”

I reminded her how I struggled years before when my daughter was only 6 years old and a bully girl who had been beating her up all year stole a prize from her that she had won by being a good student. She made my daughter agree that if she wanted her toy back, she would have to tell EVERYONE that she made up ALL the stories about the bully girl abusing her. The bully girl even looked ME in the eye and tried to convince ME that it was true, that my daughter had been lying the entire time. How often does this happen to grown women in Family Court? “They” steal our children away and force us to discredit ourselves to win them back?

I reminded the school secretary how tired school officials get at the end of the school year, how stuff gets by, how people kick the weakest link to solve a problem so they can lock the schoolhouse door for the summer…. At the very least, if you work in a grade school, you could take the time to READ A COURT ORDER before letting someone bluff you into enforcing a fictitious order that’s 8 pages long and no one cares what it says.

Before this turns into a shaggy dog story, let me just satisfy all of you with the understanding that I reminded Nancy the secretary that the principal had promised back in January that she would not let my daughter go until I had arrived. That made her uncomfortable. They all knew I was a good parent. I told her I was not allowed to see or speak to my child any more, and that because the school had permitted her father to take her away out of state, my daughter now no longer has an attorney to argue for her best interest. And as I turned to leave, I reminded her how hard my daughter worked to get good grades in that school, how she ALWAYS helped others, how she earned the right to be there at the end to enjoy the rewards of her six years and at least say goodbye to her friends.

Probably the most important lesson my daughter learned at that school where she’s gone nearly as long as she’s been alive is NOT to trust adults. And I said to the Secretary that if I ever see my daughter again, that is going to be a hard HARD lesson for me to have to work with.

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