My son is a victim. He just finished the ninth grade, and should have had a spotless record showing how entirely brilliant he is at everything. He usually went to all his classes and can easily claim to have tried his best and succeeded at everything he did. From his point of view, he was a model student; and there’s no reason I shouldn’t keep believing that about him.
Unfortunately, his school has an obvious bias against him which makes them take joy in reporting the opposite. Rather than tell me about all the good things he did at school this year, they insist on reporting the bad things. Like about how he got D’s in several of his subjects, and failed Algebra and a writing class. Sure, he said lots of smart things and did well on many of his tests. He even did some of his homework! But did I hear any of this? Maybe a little, from individual teachers who were on the ground and willing to go against the official school doctrine (off the record, of course). But mainly, I just get reports about how he’s screwing up and not doing his work. And this last report is almost all negative.
He did well in a few classes, but the overall emphasis is clearly on how he screwed up. Hell, they even have a record of how many classes he missed and how often he was late! But what about all the classes he did go to? What about all the times he made it to class on time? The silence is deafening. It’s like they’re pretending as if the thirteen absences he had in first period were somehow the only thing that happened in that class. And if all I had to go by was this negative report from the school, that’s certainly what I’d believe. Fortunately, I was able to get his side of all this, and now know that nothing went wrong at all. That school of his just likes to emphasize bad news, the sick bastards.
And now I’m about to sign him up for Summer School as a bribe to get them to report good things about him. But this is all their fault. They didn’t need to tell me about any of these bad things. He says he tried his best and he bravely went to school every day, and I take him at his word. This isn’t his fault at all. This is all about the people who delivered the message to me. They had a choice in what they could have told me, and they chose to tell me the bad news. I wanted to believe that my son was a super-genius extraordinaire, and despite the best efforts of his school to convince me otherwise; I will continue to hold onto that belief.
Sure, I’ll sign him up for Summer School, but I’ll be damned if I let him think of this as a punishment. As far as he knows, this extra schooling is the reward for a job well done. And if current projections show him staying in high school indefinitely; well, that just shows what a good job he’s doing and that the school is getting desperate. Last throes, and all that. After all, we wouldn’t want to discourage the poor guy into thinking his efforts were all for nothing. I wonder how much it’d cost to get him a Parental Medal of Freedom.