No we will not offer your child a spot at Lockeland.
There is no space for him.
Even though his brother is there?
Even though our acceptance letter was lost?
Even though you allowed him to register for school and no one ever notified us that he wasn’t enrolled?
Even though two students have withdrawn since the first day?
Even though one kindergarten class only has 19 students?
Even though the school is ready willing and able to serve our child?
Hello, Ms. O’Brien,
I reviewed your situation and the enrollment numbers at Lockeland. The Kindergarten target for Lockeland is 60 students and since there are 60 students enrolled this does not leave any vacancies to be pulled from the wait list. You are correct that we over-fill the number of acceptances based on the number of historical “no-shows”. As it turns out this year we were able to hit our target without any additional Kindergarten students being pulled from the wait list at the start of school. While I would really like to be able to accept Patrick at Lockeland there simply is not a spot available.”
Yet Another Person in Metro Who Will Probably Go Home Alone to His Cats
That might not have been his exact name, I can’t remember.
It is an unbelievably humbling feeling to be at the mercy of "the system". To be explaining your story and circumstances to someone who looks so human, and to know they neither hear nor care. To be told “the decider of your fate is in a meeting, I’ve told him about your situation, but he says he can’t see you now” and then to be told the next day that that decider is actually on an extended leave of absence and there is a different “decider” you need to see. To be told that someone will “DECIDE” when there is no deciding being done at all.
I should have known it was over the night before last, when I was standing at Jeni’s ice cream with the boys and my 22” beaded necklace spontaneously broke down the middle, sending beads smattering against the stone tiles in every direction. People scrambled to pick up the big ones and hand them back to me.
Here, one man said, you lost your marbles.
Mister. You have no idea.
I had been at the metro schools office for two hours prior, where I’d proceeded to lose my motherf*cking mind. I raised my voice. I made demands. I refused to leave the building until I got answers. I STOMPED MY FEET, you guys. I STOMPED my feet like an angry little girl and thought, who am I?
Who am I?
While Larry thought I was in the bathroom, I had sneaked past the security guard and gone snooping through every office on the first floor looking for The Decider. So I could take him by surprise.
Catch him unawares, see?
Who am I?
I am not this person.
So while I totally appreciate the outpouring of love and support from all our friends at Lockeland—and the offers to picket and petition and write letters and make a big old scene on Patrick’s behalf—I can’t do that.
Even if I thought it would do any good, it wouldn’t be fair to Patrick. He wants to start kindergarten! He needs to start kindergarten. He should have started kindergarten last week.
And also there's something about his new school. Something that feels very right and has from the moment we walked in those double doors. Patrick likes the big gym with the shiny floors, the football team, and the science lab “where you get to wear real lab coats.” He will thrive in this place; we know that.
This school has been a glorious counterpoint to our interactions with metro. Warm, kind, compassionate, helpful, responsive—and patient.
Whatever you need, they said.
We’ll work it out.
He’ll start whenever you’re ready, and he’ll be fine.
It is hard not to reach through the phone and hug these people.
I’ll eat you up I love you so.
So please don’t feel sorry for the O’Briens. We’ve suffered nothing more than a minor inconvenience. And the indignity of watching me not get my way. (Stomp, stomp, stomp! Sneak.)
But we are fine.
We are better than fine. Because now we have an answer. And a plan. And a happy little boy who is starting kindergarten.