posted Tuesday December 16th, 2014
The principal called this afternoon.
Not the principal of Sophie’s school, the principal of the gifted academy next door — the one that offers the drama elective she wants to take.
He was polite but I got his message loud and clear: Tell your kid to leave me alone!
Last week I posed a question on Sophie’s behalf. Could she take the drama elective at the gifted school? The answer was sure and swift: No.
The question was not, as it turns out, unexpected. Apparently Sophie’s been cornering the principal for weeks on this very topic; the schools share a cafeteria and she finds him at lunch. She figured out that the gifted kids get to take drama and she doesn’t. They don’t offer a drama elective at the regular school. Sophie doesn’t know what gifted means, but she knows what drama means and despite the fact that she attends camps and classes and performances outside of school, she wants in on this opportunity.
When they told me (assuring me that even the honors kids at Sophie’s school don’t get to take any classes at the gifted academy) I told them they could break the news to Sophie. That seemed fair.
Apparently she’s not taking no for an answer.
The principal was very kind, even complimentary. “Today she offered her most cogent argument to date,” he said. He told me that Sophie had pointed out that the gifted kids get to come to the regular school to take electives, but not vice versa.
He’s not budging. Instead, he suggested that maybe the Best Buddies program at Sophie’s school could tape some infomercials to educate students, written by and starring Sophie. He mentioned that there’s an effort underway to start a drama club; maybe I’d like to be the parent sponsor?
I said I’d love to help out but I worry Sophie’s not going to go for a drama club run by her mother, as opposed to a bona fide drama class.
I’m a little embarrassed by the whole thing, but I’m also really proud of Sophie. “She has no editor,” I told the principal. “She doesn’t understand why she can’t take that class.”
And frankly, at this point, neither do I. Oh trust me, I get all the legal ramblings, you don’t need to explain that to me, but while we’re talking about legality, I doubt the segregation that goes on here — and that goes on in this district — is strictly kosher.
The funny part is that none of this has anything to do with the fact that Sophie has Down syndrome. She’s just a regular kid asking for something her regular school doesn’t offer. And if she wants to push, who am I to stop her? I was a bona fide pain in the ass all through school (I still am, come to think of it). She comes by it honestly.
I’m going to tell her to quit bugging that principal. But I just might suggest that Sophie write a letter to the school board.