Saturday, October 10, 2009

We needed a hero-letter from psychologist

Here is a copy of the letter from our hero, Dr Melissa Black.  Her continued emotional support, whether by email, phone or in person, inspired us to continue to fight for our little girl.  I know, deep down, this is the reason the changes were made.  Her phone call to the Middle school head was ignored and denied. Even her phone call to the headmaster was not taken as seriously as we all thought.  Given the way he started our discussion.  In seeing this letter, we first noticed a difference in the demeanor of the Headmaster. 

Mr. Scott Griggs

414l SpringValleyRoad

Dear Mr.Griggs:
I am writing this letter at the request of Jeff and Alyson Ray to clarify my thoughts about
the recent situation involving Lucy and the need for schedule adjustments. As I
understand the situation, Lucy felt that she was pressured by not only her history teacher
and the teaching fellow, but also by her advisor to "confess" to cheating. The experience
of being confronted by 3 adults who are all in an authority position was a very negative
experience for Lucy. The most distressing part for her, by far, was feeling that her
advisor was not advocating for her and in fact, in Lucy's experience of the situation, was
joining with the teachers as another accuser. While I was obviously not present and
cannot attest to the actuality of what transpired, what seems most important is Lucy's
perception that she was not protected by her advisor. Whether this is because of a
stylistic approach, a personality conflict or simply a lack of understanding of Lucy's
emotional world at this time is not being debated. What concerns me is that Lucy and her
parents have specifically asked for a change of advisory and a change of language class
to help Lucy feel protected and heard and that this request has been categorically denied.

My thoughts and recommendations are based on my understanding of Lucy's emotional needs at this point in her life. I do understand that for some adolescents there would be considerable merit in "working through" this situation with her advisor. However, I strongly believe this is not the challenge that either Lucy or her family needs to face at this time. Given the entirety of the family situation at this point, it is imperative that Lucy feel she has advocates both at school and at home. Equally important in this situation are Jeff and Alyson's feelings. As parents, we need to feel that we can protect our children and that we give them over to educational environments that are flexible enough to consider our child as an unique individual whose needs may, at times, require certain protocols be adjusted. Lucy appears to be a well liked and engaged adolescent who wants to please the adults in her life. I strongly believe that making the requested changes for Lucy will result in decreased anxiety and increased trust in her educational process.


Melissa Black, Ph.D.