More on the preschool saga. We did find a spot for Catie, beginning January 2 (I think, need to check that!) at the Fish Church. It's going to be great for her and we're all very excited about it.
I informed the current school, in writing, on Dec. 7. that Catie will not be returning for the next semester. On Dec. 8, I was greeted at pickup, by Cathy (the director) with "I wish I'd had some notice. I've turned several families away for January and now I have a budget problem." She asked why, I told her of our concerns for Catie's social welfare, and I had an impromptu meeting with her and with Catie's teacher. It felt really good to lay it all out on the table and let my inner-Mama Bear loose. I didn't go into my concerns about the program itself. At this point, those are secondary. I was specific, I named names and I pointed fingers. At the end of our discussion, both Cathy and the teacher were aghast and badly upset to hear of the experiences Catie's been enduring during after school playtime. Both were quick to lay blame at the parents' feet for the children's poor behavior. I pointed out that the kids feel comfortable doing that after school because they get away with it during school, because no one is watching. By the end of our meeting, the tune had changed and Cathy was genuinely upset and apologetic; she wished us well and said "oh well, someone else will call for a spot".
Fast forward two weeks. On Sunday night I got a call from the mother of one of the children who's been not nice to Catie. She asked for a playdate, to which I agreed after asking whether she'd discussed it with her daughter, who's shown no interest in playing with Catie. Ranee was rather taken aback by that, but said that she had, and that Avery was excited about it.
We had the playdate yesterday, and toward the end, Ranee and I talked about what's been happening. It turns out that Ranee was told last week that Avery has been naughty at school. She and the rest of her Gang of Four were ganging up on Catie, running away when she came near, covering their ears when she talked to them and generally being mean. Ranee, to her great credit, was horrified and furious that she hadn't been told of this immediately and sooner, and came down quite hard on Avery. The playdate yesterday was an apology. Nothing like a pity-playdate to warm a mother's heart.
In Catie's backpack yesterday were 'cards' given to her by a couple of the other girls in the Gang of Four. I asked her why she had them, whether she'd made Christmas cards for the kids at school and she said no. "Christina and Angel were not nice and they had to say sorry and they didn't get to go to computer or gymnastics and they gave me the cards."
I guess Catie's departure and my discussion with Cathy and Angie have been a public service. It would seem that this behavior has been going on for weeks, if not months. The PTB are only now paying attention because I called them on their crap. They, finally, are calling these horrible, hateful little bitches on their crap and they're being punished.
We talked to Catie last night and told her that if anyone is mean to her again, she should go to one of the teachers, or Cathy, and ask for help. She should just say "Avery/Angel/Christina/Devon are being mean and I need help". She didn't say anything, just did that sidelong glance she does. I know it sank in, and I am sure she'll do that.
Santa is at school today. Catie asked why, and I said that he'd come to see that the children were being good at school before he decided whom to bring presents to. I told her that she should tell Santa that Avery, Angel, Christina and Devon were all very, very mean to her and they should get no presents.
Jimmy and I are heartbroken that our sweet, kind, compassionate little girl has had to endure this. We're infuriated that we were denied the opportunity to help her cope, or understand what's been happening to her because no one told us.
I don't have the words to describe just how sad I am.