We DO Make a Difference – PART 2
It was over a year later and I hadn’t heard any news about Bernice. I thought of her from time to time and hoped that she was finding her way.
One afternoon her mother called me at school. She told me that Bernie was applying to be readmitted into high school and asked if I would attend a meeting and speak on her behalf. I told her I would be happy to do so.
The meeting included the principal, a guidance counsellor, another teacher as well as a representative from the superintendent’s office. I knew each of them; after all, this was the high school into which our middle school students moved.
Shortly into the meeting a review of her past behaviours were presented; if you recall, this was the first of two high schools from which she had been expelled. I could sense the frustration the high school had felt, they were the same emotions I knew when she was in the middle school. I had the sense that the school really wasn’t interested in having her return. Later in the meeting I was invited to speak.
I told them that I understood their frustrations – I really did, but I asked them to give her another chance. I had nothing to indicate that she had changed her ways, but I argued that she had such potential and, for all we knew, she could be on the cusp of turning things around. I spoke of her leadership potential. I explained that as long as she was part of our educational system then we were positioned to help her find her way. I asked them not to give up on her.
They gave up on her.
She was not permitted to return to high school.
I was really disappointed but understood the high school’s frustrations. She had been given a number of opportunities when first enrolled there, but, as they say, she had played all of her cards. The school wasn’t willing to deal her another hand. Again, I felt defeated.
On the bright side, I realized that, on some level, I had made a difference with her parents. With most of our dealings having been confrontational I would have guessed that they, along with their daughter, would want nothing to do with me; however, not only did Bernie’s father show up seeking fatherly advice (reference: last blog post) now they thought I would be a good advocate for their daughter. I guessed, on some level, my efforts had made a positive impression on them.
Now, if only I could have made a positive difference for Bernie.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . .
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