educator say "I've been doing this job for 20 years. Trust me. I've seen it all." I am questioning the commitment both my son's college and residential program have to opposing discrimination. It became clear, via a presentation given by the staff person in charge of the Office for Persons with Disabilities at the college that while there is a baseline of CYA ("cover your ass") compliance with the letter of the law as it pertains to the protections of college students with disability, there is insufficient concern (in her office and perhaps in the college at large) for the spirit of those laws.
The reasons were several. One had to do with the misogynist outburst of a deranged parent. The other was that I realized that the person "presenting" was a functionary in place to ensure compliance who wasn't really saying anything.
When the call for questions came, my son's father's hand went up. The presenter called on him. He husband spoke, in strident terms about our son and about the lack of support many or most of the students from the residential program had been receiving. Other hands went up, one of them, mine. Just as the presenter, having scanned the room, appeared poised to call on me, a man sitting a few rows back began to flail and yell. He pointed at me. “No! Not you! YOU’ve already spoken!” he shouted.
I had not uttered a word.
It's worth noting that the presentation was happening, at least in some small part, in response to my concerns and professional input. I'm an educator, and the director of the school had been consulting me on the issues at hand. My question pertained more to policy than to my own son's case.
I suppose everyone saw, immediately, that the little old man crouching a few rows back, was unbalanced. Still it rattled me.
Without exception, every parent I have ever encountered at this program has been lovely. I had become accustomed to feeling safe in that space (whites literally a deconsecrated church sanctuary). The last thing in the world I might have expected was that a man taking part in an assembly focused unprotecting the oft discriminated against from discrimination might unleash a misogynist mansplaining torrent of flaming histrionics in my direction.
I waited for my turn. and when it came, though rattled and disgusted, I managed to say something: “I realize my husband has already spoken, but I also have a voice---"I am told—I was so shocked and distraught that I barely recall---that some clapped.
That little old venom spewer siphoned every bit of safety out of the room. He defiled the sacred space. He compromised everyone. And no one in charge thought to stop him.
Appalled and shaken, I departed abruptly before the charade had come to a close.
During a break, my spouse tried to hold the small man accountable. This, is for me, is the creepiest part. “You were out of line,” he said, “You insulted me wife. You owe her an apology.” Graciousness that led my spouse to speak up. He did so with an expectation that the old man would want to make things right. Everyone makes mistakes.
Instead the bantam grump threw another Trumplike nutty, flailing his arms, twisting around. “I’m not apologizing to her!” he shouted. “I reject that!”
Read Dateline, Brookline: The Community College Presentation and The Brookline Bureaucrat Troll Under The Bridge in its entirety on Bored_o_Ed.
Where did the histrionic spewing troll live, I wondered?
I nosed around later and learned that the Trumpesque grump resides in a pretty nice town, Brookline, Mass. I won't say his name because we all know one.
Worst part of all---he had daughters.
Men who hate women can not hear what we write or say. Their blaring enmity and self-hatred drown it out.
You will endeavor to change, Ronnie.