June 18, 2006
Silent but Deadly (repost)
I think it's safe to say that when she showed up at Summer Camp in time to see Schuyler sitting on top of another, much larger kid while choking him and ignoring the teenaged counselors as they told her to, you know, like, stop and stuff, Julie had some concerns.
I'm pretty convinced that it was a case of wrestling and horsing around that got out of hand, but still. That's a disturbing thing to hear about your sweet princess, your pretty ninja. Choking a kid? What the fuck? And why was she ignoring the staff? When she finally was pulled off the other kid, she then ran off and refused to cooperate.
The thing is, this is the sort of stuff that the rest of you deal with all the time. Little kids are barbarians. They are figuring out where the lines are, what they are allowed to do as primal being and what rules govern them as humans. Without those rules and that guidance, you get Lord of the Flies. So I understand that it's an important part of every kid's normal development, and I'm trying to stay cool about it.
With Schuyler, there is the added burden of finding a way for her to express her anger and, as I've mentioned before, to tell her side of the story. I know she's been bullied by neurotypical kids who take advantage of her lack of a voice to spin their own versions of "okay, so here's how it went down". I've watched it happen before, and not just with strangers.
It's bad enough that she can only give her side of the story in simple verbal expressions, sign language and miming the action. But when she is upset and tries to use her Big Box of Words, Schuyler freezes up. She becomes daunted and punches buttons helplessly before finally giving up in frustration. She's a little like Melville's stammering Billy Budd, who is so upset at false accusations of mutiny that he is unable to answer with his voice and instead strikes and kills his accuser, and therefore himself.
I keep telling myself that Schuyler is better off in this environment, that for all the dangers and all the obstacles, she will benefit from making her way in that grand rough neurotypical world for a few short summer months before returning to the shelter of her Box Class.
I'll let you know when I actually convince myself.