The Opposite Of Closeted Behavior

| WA, USA | Learning | December 8, 2014

(I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. When I was growing up, it wasn’t readily understood by most experts at the time and rarely diagnosed properly. My erratic behavior and extremely strong will got to the point that my teachers would quite literally stick me in a closet in the school office for the day, allowing me out only to use the bathroom and grab my lunch. Of course, my mother was absolutely beside herself with fury for how I was being treated, but she wasn’t the only one. A woman came in one day just as I was being put back in the closet after using the bathroom. She noticed the secretary about to shut the door on me.)

Woman: “Hey, wait, she’s still in there.”

Secretary: “Oh, no, she’s supposed to be in there.”

Woman: “Huh…?”

Secretary: “She’s a bit out of control so this is a way to keep classes going smoothly.”

Woman: “So you… lock her in the closet?! How is THAT beneficial?”

Secretary: “It keeps her calm and out of trouble.”

Woman: *becoming irate* “Have you tried counseling?!”

Secretary: “They can’t handle—”

Woman: “No, no, no, no. You do NOT stick a child in a CLOSET just to spare yourselves the trouble of dealing with her! That is ridiculous!”

Secretary: “Ma’am, I don’t believe it’s any of your concern.”

Woman: “The h*** it isn’t! I’m a parent with my children at this school and here I find that you’re locking problem children in closets so you don’t have to deal with them?! So, what, if my children act up, will they be joining this poor kid?! Are you completely nuts?!”

Secretary: “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Woman: “Oh, you bet I will, and you can bet my kids are going with me! The district attorney is going to hear about this!”

(She stormed out and I was pushed into the closet, and the door shut behind me. She came back a while later with three kids in tow, all with their backpacks on and looking very confused. She was shouting at the principal who looked extremely uncomfortable while she continued to point angrily toward my closet where I could see out the little door window. She slammed some papers down on the counter, threw me a sympathetic and enraged look, and dragged her kids out of the office. I would find out years later from my mom that not only did she tell a good two dozen other parents about me, but she succeeded in convincing them to pull their students out of that school. She also alerted the school district’s attorney about what was going on with me. However, because nothing could be or was ever done to try to correct and counsel my behavior, I was kept in the closet space until I graduated from that school a year later. I’m older now and understand that bullying is done by students and teachers alike and that more often than not, mental conditions like mine aren’t given the proper care and attention they need, resulting in traumatic experiences for children. My bright spot in that memory was my mother who called every day to scathingly tear the principal apart about my treatment, and the woman who managed to make a small statement in the name of my treatment. To that woman, if you’re reading this, thank you. It made no sense then, but it does now and it means a lot.)

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