The most profound thing I remember about the word hate occurred in high school. I had a Spanish teacher who I thought hung the moon. Mr. Robinson at CCDS (we called him “Robo”) is absolutely the precise reason I wear a seat belt today. He told me that kids of parents with reverse roles were proven to do better, and I actually remember his reasoning why. He taught me a language I still try to speak today and dearly love. But all of that is another story. He also taught me, “It’s not nice to hate.”

You know how it goes. In high school, kids “hate” a different person or ideal or subject every 14 seconds. And any time he heard an outburst from one of us, “I hate that program,” “I hate vocab tests,” “I hate the coach at CLS (the rival school),” “I hate that boy!” we always – and I mean ALWAYS – heard him say “It’s not nice to hate.”

In time, I grew actually to believe that. And as I reflect over my life, there are honestly very few things or people that I hate. I’ve always thought it was such a dirty, beneath-me emotion. I’ve always sought the good in a situation or a person. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and try to consider what I would do if I were in their shoes.

Sorry Robo. This time I hate.

I can’t understand how the people who supposedly come together to determine what Catherine needs in the school environment during the IEP process can make the determinations that they do and then close their eyes at night feeling like they did a good job that day. I need to write about this – confess my hate – to try to understand.

  • Maybe they think they help all the other kids so one they turn their back on doesn’t really matter.
  • Maybe they are super afraid of forces at work that would cause them to lose their jobs.
  • Maybe they realize they only have so much money and they want to save it for the kids who show faster progress.
  • Maybe they… I can’t really think of any other reasons they could actually say the things they do.

I still contend that if I didn’t have to work, I would take on the special education system in this country for kids with severe disabilities.

I hate the ones in a certain county at a certain school. HATE.

I am acutely sorry to confess that. I am healed today by walking into our home, seeing a PT working with Catherine in her gait trainer, and watching Catherine take repetitive steps at the end of an hour-long session. This stands in stark contrast to the PT who doubted Catherine could “tolerate” more than 45 minutes of PT. This stands in contrast to the PT  in the county who wanted to REDUCE HER SERVICE HOURS. Fortunately, to be fair and a balanced journalist, at least she finally agreed to give her the same service hours she had last year. But really, why should I have had to argue that she needs at least the same if she’s not met her goals yet?

Why do I have to argue and prove that Catherine needs a 1:1 aide to access her educational curriculum? Am I the only one who thinks a blind child who can barely move her hands needs help from someone who consistently knows her and can read her subtle communication cues? The principal actually said that they couldn’t promise a dedicated 1:1 aid because, and I quote, “What if the aid was sick for a day? We can’t be sure she can work every single day.”  I told her she was absurd.

I remain grateful for all the AMAZING PEOPLE who help Catherine. The staff at Delrey. Our attorney. Our private PT. My friends and family. And my colleagues at the office who shoulder me at times. So, if I focus on these feelings, perhaps the hate will disapate. And, for you, Robo, I’ll repeat: It’s not nice to hate.

Maybe so. But it might be necessary not to be nice this time.

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