Monday, October 27, 2008

To meddle or not to meddle

Sometimes I feel like my son and his friends are in a bubble, kept safe from the normal stress of adolescence by their special needs and their self-contained classrooms. And then sometimes I hear about one of them having something stolen at school, or get a look at the way some of the girls are dressing way beyond what their emotional sophistication can protect them from, and I worry about the way the world pops that bubble.

The other day I heard from another mom about a boy who's been in our kids' classes since first grade. He's a sweet kid, polite and smart, a survivor of many medical procedures we haven't been given much information on. He's also a child who doesn't get a lot of the sort of helicopter parenting I favor with my own kids. I've seen him around the community with boys I don't like the looks of, and now this other mom has mentioned that, according to her daughter, he's in a gang.

And you know, it just makes my heart sink. I feel like I should do something for him, talk to him or a family member or a school administrator or someone who can protect him from himself. I think he's recently been mainstreamed, bright idea, so I'm not sure he even has supports from special-education personnel to be put in place. I don't want to make my son a target by getting involved in gang matters, but there's a degree to which I feel motherly and protective of all these kids who've gone through self-contained classes with my son. This boy in particular has been one of my favorites.

What would you do? Should I try to help? What's the best way to do that? I feel like I'm caught in an episode of 7th Heaven here.

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