A Single Father’s Reflection on Recognition Exclusion

Friday was Lily’s last day in 2nd Grade. A great accomplishment. There was a time when we did not know how she would get through kindergarten. She was having trouble and her Dad, Freddie (also my son), was noticing problems Lily was having but also noticed the horrible way that the staff at the school was handling it. Lily has been through a lot in her 8 years of life…she’s a survivor though and her Dad has been her biggest champion, friend, father, and advocate!  

Two years ago, I was on the phone with Freddie giving him a crash course on special education, IEPs (Individualized Education Plan), BIPs (Behavioral Intervention Plan), and 504 plans to arm him with the knowledge to go into an SST (Student Study Team) meeting at Lily’s school in Washington state. I sent him information, and he studied it and went into that meeting like a seasoned advocate. Needless to say, he got her the help she needed, took her out of an impossible situation, and has been involved in her education ever since.  

This week he posted this on his facebook page, and I felt compelled to share it with the readers of La Comadre and in honor of Father’s Day. As comadres, we need to lift our compadres up and give them support and encouragement as well.  Here’s the post:

“What a school year Lily’s had. It’s crazy to me the growth she’s displayed the last few years in school. I was just talking to someone who’s attending their child’s awards assembly, receiving awards (KUDOS btw), but it got me thinking how Lily is going into 3rd grade, and I’ve yet to receive any sort of invite for any awards assemblies in her tenure as an elementary school student.

Growing up we had awards assemblies, and I always seemed to get a ton of ‘em starting out in Kinder. I never even cared much for the specific paper awards themselves but always cherished seeing my family there cheering me on with love & support ❤️

Now I know my daughter, sadly is less academically inclined than most at her age. School has not come easy for her, it’s been tough, but the resilience she’s displayed, the improvements she’s made are off the charts and she’s one of the most physically gifted, artistic children I know.

Knowing all this, it sucks to think because she is gifted in other areas not related to academics how crummy it is she’s never received that same sense of pride and recognition I was given growing up in school assemblies, and seeing the love and support from family.

All of that said, I think our schools today do a terrible job of recognizing those students that may be less gifted in the field of academics, and should work to think outside the box creating awards that appreciate just how special all of these kids are in their own way.

Think Ima press this in our next 504 meeting with the principal, it’s something that’s ate at me for far too long.

Kids with disabilities deserve love, recognition, and an awards as well 💯💯

I agree. I have coined it “recognition exclusion” because it happens everywhere, regularly.  Now, I also posted here a picture with her holding a “Great Achievements” certificate that she ironically received that same day by her teacher in the classroom. Lily’s teacher sent Freddie the picture. I have to say a great big thanks to her teacher for doing that. As you can see, it made her day! We need more of that.

Happy Father’s Day to all the single Dads holding it down and raising their kids on the solo…it’s not easy. Fortunately, in Freddie and Lily’s case, Lily’s Mom, Alex, is a great mom and definitely in the picture, but hey ladies, my son is single.

What do you think?
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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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