Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Price of advocating

On Tuesday, I connected with the director for aftercare and asked for an update on all that had transpired from the week before. Following a Monday morning of emails to the principal and some discussions with the aftercare teachers, I had a sneaking suspicion that the mother of the other child had stopped attacking, finally seeing that her aggressiveness was actually making the situation a lot worse, but no one had confirmed with me what had happened. Talking with the director, my hunch was confirmed. I learned that an extended meeting had taken place, where not only were the rules of proper and acceptable behavior laid out for this woman, but she was told what the next steps, which would involve CPS, would be given the seriousness of this incident and the safety concerns for all involved. I learned that this mother was finally open to listening, reversing a lot of her previous story and statements.

Then I learned that she apologized to the staff, the director and the principal, leaving all of them feeling better about this situation. It was when the director saw the look of surprise on my face and then learned this woman had not reached out to me, she froze. Then she asked about the medical bills, learning I had again heard nothing.

I've been struggling since I learned about these apologies. A part of me says to let it go and proceed with this new normal; embracing forgive and forget is something many would like me to do. The problem is that the other half of my brain reminds me of all the trouble and heartache that came from this approach, often exacerbating bad situations and leading to far worse outcomes than if I had addressed them sooner. With Cyrol the end came after he filed a lawsuit against the association with his explicit goal (detailed in a letter) aimed at hurting me. It took a judge ruling against him, the association winning a counter lawsuit and threatening him with jail time to get him to reconsider. Even then, the stalking didn't stop and likely would still be happening if not for the fact he has no way of contacting me. With Latham, the man who raped his 16-year-old daughter, it took social isolation and holding him accountable to debts to get him to move. Fleur literally missed a forcible eviction by the sheriff by 1 day (he showed up the morning she finally vacated the property after months of squatting). And the list goes on. There's also my history of being the whipping boy in my family, with my emotional health taking a beating solely so others wouldn't become upset about being called out. Being silent has not served me well.

What's foremost on my mind is that I don't want Teddy to become a focus for bullying from this other kid. Though I know CPS investigations are stressful, the child is still enrolled in this aftercare program and the mother has not modeled for her child the need to make amends following wrongs. No mediation has been scheduled to resolve this issue. And given all the lies, false accusations and anger, I don't foresee this mother taking ownership.

Yesterday, after doing some reading and reflecting, I contacted a personal injury lawyer about the unpaid medical bills to explore our options and gather information for how to proceed. To date, nothing has been done and no one has been hired, but I also am aware of the power of knowing one's options, even if they are unpopular to those not intimate with the situation.

I'm already paying the price for advocating, even though all of this is speculative; very similar to ones I have paid before. What those outside looking in don't consider is the much larger price that comes from not advocating. How remaining silent and not rocking the boat can ultimately enable unhealthy acts that can spiral out of control. Frankly, the paying the price for silence isn't one I'm willing to face given all we've already been through.


  1. I am shocked by so much of this. The other parent, the fact that the director talked a big game AND THEN COMPLETELY DROPPED THR BALL, the fact that this kid is still enrolled in the program, the fact that you are left having to be the one moving this forward. All of it is incredibly frustrating and so wrong. If I’ve learned anything since November 2016: it’s that we must take a stand to protect ourselves and our kids. I absolutely think you should be discussing this with a lawyer and I absolutely think you need to let the director know this. Perhaps that will spur on some action. I’m dumbfounded that they essentially are letting this go simply because the mother backed down. Empty threats are akin to apathy and every American is paying for the epidemic of apathy these days.

  2. Good grief. Last year my parents watched Dexter while we were on a trip. They had him on a leash and a bigger, unleashed dog attacked him. It was horrible, horrible. But this lady offered apologies right away and paid all the vet bills without even being asked.

    Like Heather, I am shocked that this lady has reflected on her behavior (and her son's) and apologized to others, BUT NOT TO YOU. She has made no move to make this right. I can only hope that her block is about supreme embarrassment, and not that she's in denial or defiance of her responsibilities.

    I'm sorry that you are dealing with this. It's wrong, and you are correct to figure out how to make it right. Rooting for you.

    I wonder if the Director also bears some responsibility to get the mom to step up. The center is also supposed to provide a safe environment. I wonder if you can say something innocent like, "Where shall I send the medical bills? To the other mom or to your corporate HQ? I'm not sure what arrangements you've made with the mom because no one has looped me in. Surely you agree that on top of the injuries, our family should not suffer the financial wounds as well."

    My ire is up.

    1. To their credit, the director of the aftercare center has offered to cover Teddy's medical bills. They really have been apologetic about all of this. The thing is (and I feel guilty for feeling this way) I want this mother to own this. I want it both as an act of good faith to rectify the wrongs she committed and to model it for her son.

      To this end, I've decided to move forward with a demand letter.

  3. I am reading along through this series of posts, and I am angry on your behalf (albeit not entirely surprised) that this mother has made no move to make amends with you or fix the situation with her son. Grrrr...

    (And can I say that I was really struck by the question of who is going to pay Teddy's medical bills -- because in Canada, this would not be an issue at all. Sigh.)


Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved