Nutter Fort Primary Witch Hunt

I have been frustrated with the situation surrounding Nutter Fort Primary the past few days.

The first question I would pose to anyone is: If you videotaped your life and then took a 10 second video snippet of a bad situation and your reaction, would you look like a picture of grace and beauty?

The answer is no, because life is done in much longer increments than 10 seconds. Life is a constant, moving, evolving thing. Life is messy and not perfect and beautiful.

The next is do you know anything about Nutter Fort Primary? Nutter Fort Primary is a Leader in Me School trying to empower our next generation to learn what they are good at it and run with it. I go into the school often and I see so much love and kindness, it makes me want to weep happy tears.

I decided to be completely honest here, so here it goes. When I first saw that video snippet, my heart broke. “How could anyone be so mean?” I thought. What I did next though, instead of blindly sharing and posting what was an emotional response to a situation I knew nothing about, was to investigate. I started by walking away because I know that I am a mother and a bleeding heart when it comes to children. Next I read what the parents said:

Dad said: This is my little boy in his thanksgiving play he is the last kid and has level one high functioning autism he has the biggest heart and always happy now watch it and see what a teacher of kids does to him he has came home from school and said he gets to say gobble gobble cause he was playing the Turkey🦃 I am reaching out to see if something can be don’t

Mom said: I was all excited to go to Caleb’s play everyone did a good job. I left in tears because one teacher Mrs. Linsey I think her name is grabbed the microphone from Caleb and in a mean way. My son is a little different I know this but his heart is so big and he loves everyone. What does it matter if he wanted to say gobble gobble he was the turkey🦃after all. I’m sick of kids that are not considered “normal” be treated the way they are. Caleb I love you and you were a hell of a🦃. Please watch the video til the end and tell me what you think

My child goes to this school so I tend to have a good bit of knowledge about what is going on. The first thing I actually noted was that there is not a turkey in the play and so his line “gobble, gobble” wasn’t actually a line in the play. I thought, wow, this is odd. I started to wonder if maybe the parents didn’t quite understand what was going on. I know that slips were sent home three weeks prior to the play asking if the child would like to participate. I know they have practiced a lot for this play. So I watched the entire play. I can tell you, at this point, I went much further than most other people did.

Here is what I saw in the play:

All of the children having a good time. Lots of nervous laughter. The boy got to speak several times and was enjoying himself. At the very end of the play, he moved to the back of two children where he didn’t belong. The teacher grabbed the mic with pride because she was beaming at what a great job her children did. Yes, she did take it before he got to speak. It wasn’t his turn to speak. I can’t honestly say she even saw him. As a parent, when I am anticipating something, I act. I am sure I have looked rude and stopped my kids from doing things they want to do.

Later I learn that his family didn’t turn in a permission slip and the school thought they didn’t want to deprive him of participating. That meant though, he hadn’t practiced for three weeks like the rest of the kids.

My child has Sensory Processing Disorder, her cousin has Autism, her best friend has some things going on, and so on. I am well read on the subject and consult with doctors and teachers often. Preparing them for what will happen and how to handle their own emotions is the key. Not having the boy practice didn’t give him best chance to win. I am not saying the parents did wrong because I understand things happen and change. I do know practicing would have helped. The most important thing everyone, teachers, parents, doctors, therapists, etc. do for any child is teach them how to interrupt and act in the real world. Special education is not special treatment when it comes to the rules, it is a different kind of teaching to help the children understand the rules. This story was shared to Autism Speaks and I am certain if they knew the real circumstances, they would remove the video.

Nutter Fort Primary has a very diverse group of students. There are children on IEP plans, there are kids who are homeless, there are kids who have a parent or parents in prison, the list goes on. You would never know by looking at any of them in the classroom or how they are treated. The boys parents suggested this was due to Autism. They are the only ones mentioning this. I am sure the parents often fight to have him treated normally and they are on the defensive more than they would like to be but I assure you, this boy was being treated just like every other child that night. Ironically, she also asks what would it hurt to let him say “gobble, gobble” but then goes on to say it isn’t fair that he isn’t treated normally.

Included in the diverse group of students are some who unfortunately are protected by some type of court protective order. I am sure the parents didn’t mean to intentionally put some children in harms way, but they may have. The news outlets though should have known better before posting several classrooms full of minors on social media.

The news, I don’t know where to begin with the news. The news did no fact checking nor got the entire story. One of the stations quoted someone from the Arc as some kind of expert witness. They quoted her saying it was First and Second Graders. It wasn’t. It was a First Grade play. She suggests that if they treat kids like this in public, what do they do behind closed doors? This is ridiculous. As if teaching professionals are Prison Guards?

One of my largest concerns with this whole matter is how people feel like the right solution to everything is to just throw it to the wolves. I am not sure how this was best for the boy. Honestly, by doing this, all parents are Nutter Fort are being harmed. There is a way to handle anything that comes up and this isn’t it. If the parents, had went to the teacher, then to the Principal, then to the School Board and Superintendent, and the issue was founded, maybe social media would be your next option.

I have seen so many “I don’t care, it wasn’t fair to that boy.” Why is it unfair to break the rules for one boy and not the other 40 plus children there? Because he had Autism? That is the exact opposite of inclusion. That is making special exceptions.

Here we are though, people literally calling for a teachers head. Children are receiving death threats. There are protestors at my six year olds school for a teacher doing her job.

I am so disappointed.

I am disappointed the boy was put in a bad situation.

I am disappointed his parents thought it was a good idea to blast something over social media as a first option to solve a problem.

I am disappointed that potentially children that could have protective orders were shown in a video without their parents’ permission.

I am disappointed our local media thought it would be a good idea to slander our school and teachers without any investigative reporting.

I am disappointed that a position that is already so underpaid and undervalued is being put in this position. And you wonder why we have a teacher shortage?

I am so disappointed so many people jump to conclusions without knowing any facts and more importantly, not wanting to know any facts. I am beginning to feel like we are very much in the time of the Salem Witch Hunts again.

I am proud of every single one of my friends that asked what had happened prior to assuming the worst.

I am proud of Nutter Fort Primary, Harrison County Board of Education, and every person that works so hard to educate everyone’s children.

I am proud of Mrs. Lindsay.