And it sux as much for me as it does for Damien.
See, being an ADHDer mom means I am considerably more involved in Damien’s schooling than say… my parents were with mine. Because I don’t believe I have a choice. I attend all the meetings. I join all the committees. I give my contact details to all his teachers and I attend every parent-teacher night*.
If you don’t have an ADHDer… this may seem a little extreme.
Lately- again- smoking is an issue.
South African law changed a while ago and outlawed smoking in public places- which includes schools. The department of education is now so strict about it that even teachers are not allowed to smoke on school property and they do inspections. The school now cannot take any chances because if the DOT catches someone smoking on the premises, they can close the school down. A huge complication is that the majority of South Africa’s trade unions are run on communist principles, and they see private schools as elitist, unfair and separatist. And the government has spoken before about outlawing private schools altogether. So now, the learner council is at the gate every morning, collecting and labelling everyone’s cigarettes, and they get them back at the end of the day.
Damien has been caught smoking on numerous occasions, and has paid many a fine for it- but last week he brought home a letter saying he’d been caught again, that he was now on his final written warning before expulsion, and that he had to pay a R50 fine before he could come back to school.
Now- this is the livelihood of several fabulous teachers as well as the owners of the school that’s on the line, not to mention a little over 100 learners who will have to find another school should it get closed down. And I battled for 4 months to find this school for Damien a few years ago- so I know what a mission it would be.
Damien and I had a strong chat about it, and my Glugster spoke to him about how serious this was.
I thought we could breathe for a while.
Then on Monday, I got one of THOSE phone calls to come and fetch Damien as he’d been caught smoking again.
I was furious. Technically this meant he was going to be expelled. I was furious with him and cried all the way to the school. I also called my Glugs and moaned to him too… Then when I got to the school, I couldn’t see the principal, and I was told I must please remove Damien and follow up later.
He got in the car he told me he lost the money I gave him last week Friday, to which I replied with “Bullshit.”
I was too furious to talk!
When I called the principal later (he was invigilating matric exams when I was at the school) he told me that when they said I had told them I sent the money with him last week, Damien went ballistic and shouted and told them I was lying and hadn’t given it to him. He of course also denied smoking- despite the fact that the school has CCTV!!!
So I got the same letter I got last week, which I had to sign this time and return to the school, and I had to pay another R50 fine- which Damien will be paying back to me. He gets no more chances.
And we had another talk.
A longer, much sterner talk.
I informed Damien that should he get expelled from this school, I will not be looking for another one. He will have to find work, start paying board and lodging and buying his own toiletries and so on. I have worked my ass off to find the right schools and doctors and treatments and such for him, and its like I’m doing it all for myself.
Right now, I am tired of doing it all and would pack it in with a smile on my face.
*usually because I am formally invited and allocated a time-slot