After an absence, I feel pressured to write something notable in this space. However, this is beyond my present capabilities, if indeed it was ever within my grasp.
I’m still lurking at home like a furtive, prehistoric cave-dweller. I suppose I could begin by telling you that things have improved for Six. He's going to a new school, and he's settled in quickly, like a fish to water. No more panic attacks about going to school, or being at school.
Six's new classmates have welcomed him into their group. He is popular. In his first week, he was invited to a birthday party, and he was Student of the Week.
So, I’m relieved the dog days with the former school are over. I wish that we'd changed schools six months ago. Oh, hindsight. The notion that it was my social responsibility to change the school's culture seems quaint and naive. HAHAHAHAHA.
I’m grateful for the friends who listened to me blather about my problems with the former school. But I still have post-traumatic stress. I’m disappointed that nobody with a child in Six’s class helped me talk to the school. Were my expectations too high?
Why didn't anyone say, “This is not acceptable. I don’t want my child to see another child being bullied.”
Instead, the culture of bullying was ignored. I heard, “Oh, the school is naughty about that.” If our family had problems at school, we must be the problem. “You need to be more resilient.”
If only I was what Kiwis call a European New Zealander, and also a man with a certain income. Then the school would have listened to my complaint. My social class, gender, race determined my worth.
New Zealand prides itself on its egalitarian society. The first country to give women the vote. However, in many places, even my little village, it's influenced by the stratified aspects of British culture.
And I'm disgusted, repulsed, by the stern school headmaster's role in the British psyche. As a single mother, I need to defer to the headmaster's authority. Really?
Such a pity we no longer cane students that we unjustly accuse.
My apologies, but I don’t believe that education is meant to produce mindless sheep who will become puppets of a British-inspired regime. I am a republican (note the small “R”), and maybe I'm hindered by my American sense of entitlement. I want to dump your tea in the harbour.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
I've learnt about the limitations of my community. We like to believe that in the face of adversity, when something in our society is wrong, we would do the right thing.
Yes, I'd hide Anne Frank’s family in my attic. OF COURSE.
But the reality is—most of us measure personal cost and find it too high. And we're quiet, standing stoically in a queue, barely concealing our loathing of The Other, hoping to remain unnoticed, whilst flying under the radar.
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