My Name is Sarah

MY NAME IS SARAH. I am a quilt designer and the sewcial director of Sarah's Sewcial Lounge. I also have a business called Down Right Charming. I sell my quilts mostly on etsy and I make pillowcases to donate to patients in the hospital in memory of my friend Kristen Kirton. I am a young adult living with Down syndrome. I hope you enjoy reading about my life journey.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will the Police Understand...

...a sibling bond so genuine, so natural, yet so fragile...

...it could cause such hurt, such pain, such emotion when a bully uses the "R" word ?

A message from Joyce: This is a continuation of an ongoing saga...click here to read more.

Saturday morning my cell phone rang. Sarah and I had just arrived at the stadium and decided to sit in a campus bus shelter while we waited for game time. Parked in front of us was The Ohio State University Police Special Investigation paddywagon. Ironic for what I was about to hear. On the other end of the phone was RG's mom. She wanted to know if we had heard from the police. She had and was asked to bring RG into the police station to make a statement. I told her we were out of town, but I would call home to check our messages. This is what I heard...

video

We have been living with this situation for two weeks now, so my thought process is well massaged. Had this call come in the day after Matt punched Gus for calling his girlfriend "retard" multiple times, I would have been angry. I'm sure of it.

But after looking at the situation with more rational eyes and reading the many wonderful comments from our readers - Thank You - I see this as more of a teaching opportunity. An experience to learn from and to share with others.

Yet as I sat in that bus shelter I started to wonder...will we ever really get the general population to understand? Just that morning when I signed into Yahoo a big headline popped up about Guy Richie declaring he still loves Madonna, "but she is so retarded." What does that mean? Then there is the new Chris Rock documentary released on Friday. Al Sharpton describes the fact that more black hair salons are owned by whites and Asians as "economic retardation." Lisa over at Finnian's Journey did a great post about it this weekend. If you watch the latest episodes of the Kardashian sisters that play over and over and over on the "E" network, you hear Khloe call Kourtney "retard" multiple times in just one half hour segment. The word is everywhere.

So how are we to get others to understand the pain caused to our families by the over use of this term in a hurtful, derogatory way? One small step at a time. I'm not sure what the motivation is for Gus's mom to turn to the police in this matter. Was Matt wrong to punch? Of course. But this was not just some streetyard brawl over typical twelve year old stuff. This involved something greater, far greater. Yet to the family that does not have a member with a diagnosis of mental retardation defined by the Stanford Binet scale, they just do not understand what we are thinking, what we are talking about. I get that. I really do.

Our first task though is to get Matt to the police station for an interview. My gut tells me we best involve an attorney in this matter. But how does one find a defense attorney that can see the bigger picture, that understands our mission? One who has worked with juveniles.

At this point, I decided to go back to watching the fans walk in front of us. No point in taking the fun out of the day. On football Saturday there are more than 105,000 fans all clad in scarlet and gray. It truly is a sight. An event one has to experience to really appreciate. The Ohio State University has become the largest college campus in America with 57,000 plus students. Yet to me, it seems as intimate as a big family. I recalled the time I had come down for a meeting in the middle of the week and as I walked out of the parking garage I heard, "Hi Mrs. Ely." I looked up and it was my next door neighbor. And that's when it hit me...

...our next door neighbor...Mr. D...the defense attorney. I called John to tell him the situation and suggest he call our neighbor. When I walked into the house on Sunday evening, John had just hung up from that call. Mr. D. he told me, he gets it. He totally understands about the "R" word and will take the case. Of course he understands. He and his family have lived next to us since Sarah was an infant. He has watched her grow up. He has endured the lights and sirens each time we summoned the ambulance in the middle of the night. He just happened to be behind the car that came dangerously close to hitting Sarah the time she ran into the street. He has watched our boys protect their sister. I started to get that feeling again, the one that questions was this all By Chance or By Design...

19 comments:

Mel said...

Thank goodness for your neighbour- he sounds perfect. I cannot believe this other mother involving the police. As if they do not have enough to do. Ridiculous. These are children. I hope it gets sorted out quickly, but I think it is a good idea to take legal representation with you. The 'r' word is not used so much here, but unfortunately is spreading with those awful tv programmes.

Heidi said...

I'm so glad you thought of your neighbour and that he understands your situation! I'm looking forward to reading how things turn out.

Kim Rees said...

You know I'm on your side Joyce! Glad you have someone reliable on your side to represent you. Will keep all of you in my prayers that things will all work out in your favor.

Cammie Heflin said...

Sounds like a God thing to me!

Lacey said...

Oh I'm so glad you have that neighbor. Ya know, I've found that people whose kids are brats and totally disrespectful to everyone are also the ones who think their kids do no wrong. This women obviously has nothing better to do with her time, let alone teach her kid how to be a decent kid.

KDR said...

I love reading your blog. I tihnk it's so amazing the love your family has. But I have to say i'm a little put off by some of the comments.

To this boy, the R word is not bad. Just like to some in the south the N word isn't bad. He was not raqised to know not to use that word. No, he shouldn't have said it. Yes, your son had a reason to be very upset. But if someone ever hit my son damn straight I would call the cops. No matter what was said punches were thrown.

If your son was hit in the face by another kid you would be upset, anyone is lying if they say they wouldn't be.

If everyone got hit in the face everytime someone said something someone else didn't like everyone would have a black eye.

I hope it all works out for you and your family and i'm glad you found someone so close to the situation to help.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the other parents think their son has no responsibility in this incident and have escalated the issue with the police. Are they aware of their son's behavior and his verbal attacks which precipitated the punch?

They must know the details. It is remarkable that these parents will forgive poor behavior of their own child and continue with charges. In today's world your son "assaulted" their poor boy for nothing.

Your son is learning a valuable lesson. Their son is also learning a lesson. He is not being held accountable for his actions. They do him no service.

Two wrongs do not make a right... But the other parents should "own" their child's wrong, that of bully and boor. It was not the simple use of the word "retard", it was the repetitive abuse and verbal assault that resulted in your son's punch. They should own that!

Your child will be made stronger from this incident.

Lianna said...

Has the copy of the Facebook language by RG been brought up yet? I think that once that comes up, a better light will be cast on the whole situation.

Recently, I heard my son described as retarded and I cannot tell you the emotions I felt at the time, and the ones I still grapple with.

At Matt's age, there is no telling what I would have done...and at 44 years of age, I imagine that sense of rage was the same for both of us.

It is only life experience that separates us.

I wish you all luck and offer support in this. Funny enough about your neighbour...I think design has more to do with it than not. ♥

stephanie said...

It just sounds like God's hand is turning the pages here. it's unfolding, I think the outcome will be a good thing. Praying everyone you must explain this to, during this ordeal 'gets it"

Karen said...

God is good.

Mary said...

Wow. Very emotional post for me. Good luck.

Amy L said...

Praying that this will all soon be resolved. I love the picture of Matt and Sarah. The love between the two is so strong, it needs no words.
Amy

Shelly said...

I can't believe this parent took it as far as the police. what about just talking it out parent to parent.

I hope everything gets sorted out correctly for you. Yes, he was wrong for hitting the boy but I don't think it should have gone as far as police involvement. They are 12 yr olds..

SunflowerMom said...

I'm so glad a silver lining is starting to emerge! Thanks for keeping us updated.

Sarah said...

Please watch this video on Youtube. It is worth watching all the way through. This gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. The topic is on the R word even though it starts out with you thinking it is about something else. You will have to cut and paste on your browser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoqaNG0Ozqc&feature=player_embedded#

Soeran Palumbo is the young man that gave the speach.

Fentiman ~ Brumfield said...

Thank you for posting the link to the video that I sent you this afternoon. Isn't it amazing?

Sarah Brumfield

Simply, Sarah said...

If you have that gut feeling, I really recommend having your wonderful neighbor involved. I don't know why people need to take things to such extremes. This should be something that can be dealt with, with a meeting of the parents and children.

I'm sorry you have to go through this!

Scarehaircare said...

I am do glad you have your wonderful neighbor for an advocate. What does he think about taking this to the media?

sturpin said...

oh Joyce, what a blessing! I hope it all comes out well. We are thinking of y'all