During the summer before Joanna went into Class 111 we
were experiencing some financial problems. I had taken a part time job at the beginning of the summer and my wages from
this were to pay the ever increasing school fees. Unfortunately, the firm I was working for had problems of their own. The
result of this was that none of their employees had been payed.
We were still waiting for our wages in September. We had
explained this to the finance group at the school. There was no question of the truth of what we were saying since it had
been in the local newspapers. However, in October the school sent us a letter stating that, if the unpaid fees had not been
received by the end of term, our children would have to leave. During the same week the school was celebrating its tenth anniversary
and the ten children who had been at the school longest were given badges to wear. One of these was my eldest son. So we had
a situation where he was walking around wearing this badge celebrating his time at the school, while not knowing if he would
be thrown out the following term. It all seemed rather hypocritical to me especially remembering the promise that no child
would ever be refused on financial grounds alone.
I remember sitting in the main room of the old schoolhouse when they
cut the celebration cake. It was in the shape of the old school building. Memories were flooding back of our early days at
the school when, full of enthusiasm, my husband had helped with the building of the upstairs classrooms in this part of the
school. I remembered coming to collect him one day with baby Joanna in my arms. We had been so happy and so sure that our
children's future was secure. So much had changed since then. It seemed to me that the ideals of that early community had
been compromised, but worse than that, instead of my daughter growing into a happy well rounded child through an education
that met the needs of her soul as well as her intellect, she had grown into an anxious, frightened little girl who was afraid
to come to school. As if this wasn't bad enough, everyone was trying to convince us that it had all happened because of failures
in her upbringing, even though it was school she was afraid of and home where she felt secure.
The next week my wages cheque finally arrived and we payed
our arreas. A few days later we sent a letter telling us that Richard would not be allowed to attend Kindergarten
until he was properly toilet trained and that the school had contacted both social services and the educational welfare office!
A cynic might wonder why this did not happen until after the cheque had been cleared.