Saturday, March 22, 2008

"By your endurance you will gain your souls" (Luke 21:19)

Judy mentioned this verse to me this morning, and after what I saw in the IEP meeting yesterday, she certainly got me thinking. That meeting revealed real depravity, and what it does to those who practice it.

The case manager, a doctor of educational psychology in charge of that function at West End SELPA, could not understand that refusing to go to school, or shutting down because it's too horrible to endure, is in fact behavior. She appeared truly puzzled when we tried to drive home that point.

She undoubtedly knew back in elementary school that refusing to go to school and laying your head on your arms when confronted with school work is behavior. 15 years of schooling and maybe 30 years of work experience in education, and now the chief educational psychologist at a Special Education Local Plan Area - and she doesn't know that anymore!

The Due Process coordinator, who joined us when the conversation seemed to them to be going badly, objected to my discussion of Stephen's PTSD that Shawna was not licensed in California and did not have a graduate degree, so that they didn't have to pay any attention to her evidence. Never mind that the most traumatic event in Stephen's life, followed up by another year of the same people continuing to threaten him with harm, what else would it do to anybody? Never mind that he becomes physically sick even in the presence of cops or school personnel. Never mind even that both evaluators noted it and commented that Stephen was afraid to work with them unless I was physically present! The point for this woman is not to know the truth about Stephen's condition, so as to do him the most good and the least further harm possible. It's all about finding any way possible to deny him whatever she can get away with denying him, and covering in every way possible for his abusers.

Count on it, she didn't get into education to use her intelligence and skills as effectively as possible to do all she can to rob wounded kids of the help they need. 30 years ago, if she could have seen a video of herself yesterday - with her voice and features disguised so she didn't know who it was - what would she have said? Today, she has become that person, and perfectly comfortable having become what 30 years ago would have horrified her.

We aren't the captains of our souls, as one fool wrote, drunk on empty conceit. Through endurance in the truth we can come to possess our souls, as Jesus said, but how easily we lose them!

But you've written quite a story and you've changed since the womb.
What happened to the real you, you've been captured but by whom?
-Bob Dylan

These women are not paragons of depravity. How typical they are! 30 years ago, those women were just as far from what they are today as I would like to kid myself I am right now. They were wrong then about what they would become, and when I think that way today, I'm just as deluded - and not far from losing my own soul.

They are my enemies and the mortal enemies of my son, but what's really scary is none of that, although of course I have to take fitting precautions. It's that in them I get a long look at myself in the mirror - and if I want to endure to the end and gain my own soul I need to keep gazing into that mirror and see myself.

We can't love our enemies because we're terrified to really look at them and thus into ourselves. We're hating the mirror for not telling us we're the fairest of them all. And if we don't confront that madness in ourselves, we'll be just as insensate as these women were yesterday.

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