Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red Tape

When my son was about 2 years old he did the most incredible thing.

Now, before you run screaming from reading this, let me say that I'm not generally the kind of parent who chirps about every tiny accomplishment made by my children. They are special, but I don't need to broadcast that fact to validate myself as a parent.

That being said, my son is quite unique.

He taught himself to read. Really.

My boy has an amazing memory and, for some reason, is gifted with language. He loves to play with words and understands subtle humour that many adults struggle with. Along with his linguistic prowess, he possesses a very short fuse. Frustration and anger are easily incited in him and he does not "cool off" as quickly or easily as most of his classmates.

Because of these anomalies, his father and I had him formally assessed a few years back, in an attempt to make some sense of how to best deal with his gifts. As a result, he has been officially designated as a gifted and talented student, according to the school board criteria.

Now his father and I are faced with some decisions: Do we keep him in his French Immersion school and continue with the existing program, or try to have him admitted to the Gifted And Talented Education program? We chose to apply for the GATE and see what happened.

We filled out various forms and submitted them along with an 18 page psych assessment report. It seems, though, that the report is not current enough, even though it falls within the 3 year range described in the program application package. They would like us to have another assessment done.

Apart from the fact that this means my son will have to undergo several more hours of testing, there is a tiny problem. It seems that the school board only allocates a certain number of assessments per school per year, and guessed it. My son's school has "none left". Now we're on the hook for arranging and paying for yet another round of testing by trained professionals, at a cost of at least $950! Needless to say, this does not make me happy.

I have worked for this school board. I understand the limitations of time and resources, both human and financial. There comes a time, however, when I become less than understanding and veer slightly closer to pissed off. I find myself searching for ways to politely ask for answers when what I would really like to do is grab someone by the shoulders and scream,"Why the hell are you making this so difficult? Can't you see my son just wants to be challenged at school?"

For the sake of my son, and my blood pressure, I will be calm. I will follow the proper channels. I will behave in a courteous and respectful manner, all the while wishing I could strangle someone with all this damn red tape.