Bureaucratic morons

This is a phone call between a school administrator and a mom.

This happened just months ago to a friend. This is the kind of thing you run into when you have a child that suffers mental illness or addiction. The very people you expect to be on your side, are not. The people you expect to be reasonable are surprisingly without compassion.

School Administrator: Hi Mrs Ellerslie. We understand your son is currently at Tucker Psychiatric but he was caught on the school bus camera smoking marijuana. That is against school policy and carries a 10 day expulsion and he needs to come in front of the school disciplinary board 5 days from today.

Mrs. Ellerslie: (on 2 hours of sleep) We are aware of his drug use and we are addressing it. Patrick was checked in at 2:30am last night for suicidal thoughts with a plan. I don’t think he’s going to be stable enough to speak to a school disciplinary board in 5 days. He’s not out of the woods yet.

Administrator: Mrs Ellerslie, I don’t think you are grasping the situation on the bus! He broke the rules and it’s likely he will be charged for a criminal offense in addition to the expulsion. He needs to address the charges in front of the disciplinary board. These are very serious offenses!

Mrs. Ellerslie: I understand and I want him to face the consequences. However, my son is currently suicidal. His father and I have to turn our attention to his immediate critical needs right now. We are addressing the situation and we will comply with the policy but he is not capable of appearing before a board of 5 adults who want to question him in his current irrational state of mind.

What Mrs. Ellerslie wanted to say: Thanks for the compassion you bureaucratic, pencil-pushing moron. I got it that he broke a rule on the bus. But if I don’t attend to this current emergency situation I won’t have a son to send to the f—ing disciplinary hearing.

The insanity and emotional drain of a loved one’s addiction

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

9 thoughts on “Bureaucratic morons”

  1. That is awful. I guess we were super blessed with our counselor and administrator. They were the ones that alerted us to the magnitude of the anxiety and suicidal thoughts. They also worked with us to get her through school. I actually credit these two for saving my daughter. She didn’t have a drug problem and didn’t break any school rules so maybe it was treated differently. I wish there was something better. What the family went through above is not right.

    1. That is such good news, Frances. I’m thrilled to hear of a good experience. Hopefully, it means things are changing! I never got that kind of support but I have noticed a change in tide over the last year. Thank God.

  2. Ditto to ME. when my son started having problems in middle school, it appeared inconvenient to the administration, as they had the school’s stellar reputation to maintain. It’s easier to label your boy as a lazy troublemaker rather than partner with you to get that 504 or IEP. Besides, how will it look to colleges if this school has kids with mental health issues? Nope, they are too busy readying their rising stars for the Ivy League. Winners are more prestigious!
    They actually accused me of being nonresponsive, which was a complete falsehood. Is it surprising that he was self-medicating by the time he was in high school? Giving a kid not-so-subtle messages that he will never amount to much is unconscienable, especially from educators. Shame on you.

    1. So well said Carol. I experienced the same. There was a really kind teacher and the special ed teacher in high school was thoughtful. But I always felt everyone else was against me. I do think all teachers should get mental health training

  3. Thanks ME for always being my voice
    and the voice of loving parents and our children that fight a brain disease that they don’t want. That they didn’t decide or choose. Unfortunately, there is not much compassion, understanding or educated administrators when it comes to the disease of addiction and mental health.
    The exact same administration is at it again in our current situation.
    No return calls. Going back on promises. And complete disregard to an IEP.
    No child left behind is just rhetorical BS
    They only care about our kids when they fit that perfect braggable mold.
    Heaven forbid they realize our kids are suffering and that our County just wants to sweep these diseases under the rug.
    Failing to admit we have a problem.
    How many children will it take before the County realizes there is a problem. And it isn’t going away.

  4. What a nightmare! You and other families who are sharing their stories are true pioneers who will make a difference for upcoming generations.

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