More commentary continued to arrive as a result of U.S. 1’s March 26 cover story on “An Inconvenient Child,” a first person account by Michael Graziano about his effort to have the Princeton school system recognize and effectively deal with a nervous disorder exhibited by his son, a first grader at the time.
To read the complete article visit the online magazine, www.aeon.co. Herewith excerpts from two recent letters:
We can sympathize with the parents and child in this story. We encountered similar problems (though not as severe) while we were living in Princeton and our children attended Johnson Park. Fortunately, the Princeton school district has a wonderful program at Riverside that helped our mildly autistic son (he was moved there in the second grade after a lot of hard work, research, and nagging from my wife).
We currently live in West Windsor and since relocating the West Windsor school district decided to ignore all of the documentation and evaluations from Princeton (and our doctors) and we had to start the process all over from scratch. We have had to fight to have our children recognized as needing assistance for their learning needs.
One of our children with auditory processing issues attends the Lewis School thanks to the generosity of my father-in-law. After several years of IEP meetings [individualized education programs] and denial from the West Windsor school district, which I believe is also driven by economic concerns, we finally have our children in some programs that will help them with their special needs and allow them to learn and grow.
The boy with social awkwardness and lack of physical coordination as described in March 26 issue will never get a formal apology from anyone at his former Princeton elementary school. Our American public schools are evolving into social service agencies for children and teens with less emphasis on students’ academic achievement. This is why I support alternatives to public schooling like vouchers for private, parochial, online, home-schooling, and even quality public schools, where parents can have true choices for their children’s best educational experience.
Given the parents’ high educational and professional status, I believe that there was blatant jealously here as well. Elementary schools can be small worlds, and the parents got an unusually hard dose of that reality. There was no charitable engagement from this school shown to this boy or his parents. His parents were courageous, and I pray this child will blossom into everything that God intended.
It is also a good lesson for all of us not to engage in either conspiratorial fabrications or pseudo-psychology about innocent behavior. This Princeton school must be held accountable for gossip and calumny that tried to ruin the reputation of this boy and his valiant parents.
In addition, thank you U.S. 1 Newspaper for alerting your readership to this occurrence.