• HeatherJoy Bagnall

*1. We Don’t Forgive For the Ones Who Try To Destroy Us* 2. A Grudge is Too Heavy a Burden to... no

Title Option #3: Leader of the Year Is Possibly Bovine Fecal Matter

Title Option #4: When You Destroy a Child Because Your Ego is too Big for the County

Clearly, I cannot decide on a title for this blog. I want to forgive and I want to forget these things that happened to my child. He changed. His entire life changed. His entire demeanor changed. And yet, I can forgive because I don’t want to hold this burden of a grudge. I don’t want to hold this pain. But. how do I forget when I hold him when he is lifeless and I hold him when he is sobbing and I hold him when the anxiety has made him paralyzed in fear? And, the pain? He’s so much bigger than I am now and he’s crushing me with his weight and the weight of his hurt and the weight of his pain.

How do I forget? How do I forget when the tremors and the nightmares wake us up? I hear him crying and screaming in his sleep. He thrashes into the wall so hard, the walls have scars! I can only imagine the scars on his heart and the scars on his brain. The scars on his mind, what he’s gone through... what you allowed to happen to him, what you did to him. How do I forget when his every breath is followed by ‘how do I go on?’ ‘How do I become the man that I want to become?”

How do I forget when he looks at me and wants an education? He wants to move on. He wants more in his life but he crumbles in public and he hasn’t found the power to continue or the trust to love. How do I forget when he can’t forget and every single story of gun violence brings him back to that day that when you profiled him into being a possible killer?! You accused a child, a once gentle giant who you allowed to be bullied and beaten by your other students and mentally abused by your staff, you accused of being the next shooter. This once gentle being who you allowed to be beaten, you allowed him to become bruised, and then you accused of threatening to be a murderer.

And, when I have forgiven, when I forget and when you have collected your leader of the year award, how will I know that you will not do this again? How will we know that you will stand up and be a leader that will take care of our children? Sure as hell, you did not take care of mine. How will we know when I have forgiven you that you will take care of another child? How will we know that the next child who is beaten and bullied is taken care of? How will anyone know that the next child, who a teacher or student decides to torment and falsely accuse will not become the more than accused? What is this path you are really creating? Do you have the foresight to see what you are doing? You do not have access to my child anymore. Because you lost my trust.

It was such an easy fix, within 20 minutes the SRO said, the child who is accused should not be, he should be protected, he is a wonderful boy, we should be so lucky to have so many more like him. But, a week later was not the path you chose, you kept ‘investigating’ asking students more questions about this terrible child. You had no idea what the hell you were doing. You never put two plus two together and read the 5 months of emails between the school and me. You never saw the pattern. You never looked at the pictures of his bruising, you never read the full stories of the abuse. There was never an apology. There was only blame. You blamed him for carrying a suspicious bag, his electric bass. You blamed him for making an inappropriate comment, a reference from a movie because when he gets nervous, he talks in references, but you did not know that. You blamed him for being a typical child and a child who reacted eventually as a tormented child does. Sobbing at home after walking out of school during the day, bruised shins and calves from being kicked, he stood and yelled: “Leave me the F’ alone!” He was punished for his language and sent to the back of the room. He was called out for threatening a child because he had a math tool in his hand when he stood and yelled ‘stop’.

There was no New York State paperwork for bullying filled out over the course of my 5 months of complaints. I poured my heart out to an entire oval table full of teachers and admin. I begged for help. And, yet dear leader of the year, you destroyed up my child’s mental health and ended my career at your school. I could not stay and work with inconsiderate bullies. Teachers who would snicker at me in the teachers’ room and ask what it was like to have a “kid like THAT.” Or, walk down the hall and hear, ‘hey, bang, bang! Ooooh sorry! Too soon?’ I forgive you and your incompetent, heartless leadership. I cannot wait until my son is fully stong again and I can forget your actions against my child. But, there is a silver lining. How did I forgive you?

I learned that as a leader I want to always be humble. My goal is to always apologize. I pray to never to make the mistake you have made here. I will build relationships with parents, teachers who work in my district, and students who are directly mine. I will stand in a child’s shoes and be more caring about what they see than what is easiest for me to see and what I can brush off. For these reasons I have learned and can wish you peace. I have forgiven you. My wish for you, learn to build better relationships. Learn to listen to your SRO’s they are amazing people. I am incredibly thankful for Shauna and Matt. Humble yourself, your ego is in your way of being a true leader of the year. I have no doubt you have it in you to do so. I did not forgive you because you apologized. You never did. I forgave you because you are not worth carrying a grudge around for. Learn to apologize, it might suit you. It may have made you worthy of that leader of the year award.

There is something I want.

I want peace for my child. I want him to be able to sleep again and not have to deal with crippling anxiety.

For now, with all my heart I wish you peace. 📷


Heather Joy


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