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Terri Mauro

Yes, You Really Have to Go to PTA Meetings

By October 23, 2012

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SchoolQuick quiz: Where would you rather go, to the dentist for a root canal, or to a meeting of the parent-teacher organization at your kids' school? For many moms and dads, that's an answer that takes a bit of thought. Sure, the dentist appointment is uncomfortable at best and painful at worst, but at least they give you painkillers -- no one's administering anything at the PTA meeting to cut the drone of voices, the stabs of political infighting, the drill of minutes painstakingly followed. If they could knock you out first? Maybe.

So those meetings are dreaded, and easily avoided with a thousand different excuses. I've certainly played the "You know, my kids have special needs" card, expecting people's pity for my overwhelmingly involved life to get me off the hook. That's an expensive escape, though, because it sends the message that our kids are different, and their parents are uninvolved, and therefore no one has to really worry too much about including them. If we're going to talk inclusion, we have to act inclusion, and part of that is putting our butts around those library tables and being a voice for our kids. Believe me, no one else is going to speak for them.

If you need a little more prodding, read my "Ten Reasons to Join Your School's Parent Association." And every time you read an article about special-education students not being in the yearbook, or the school field day, or the graduation ceremony, recognize it as a missed opportunity for their parents to go to a meeting, join a committee, and represent.

Photo by Terri Mauro

Comments
October 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm
(1) Lyn says:

I couldn’t agree more!!! Both my boys are special needs and have had IEP’s since they were 3. They are 10 and 12 now and I’m co-president of our K-8 school’s PTA!!! I worked my way thru the ranks for ALL of these reasons, and it all started with going to those 1st PTA meetings. It has made such a difference, not just to me and my boys, but many friends with kids with special needs as well!

October 26, 2012 at 11:29 am
(2) Enuly says:

As Secretary of the Pta. We used to have 20 or so members. Now a tiny handful. Sad that the money raised and awareness should bring in more parents but everyone tends to sit back. But a quick to complain. Fact that the numbers are so few now means that decisions in the spending are made more quickly than before. The in house bickering and cliques are also behind us. I am also aware all of the activities and plans the school has and has input for my autistic son before most parents.

October 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm
(3) Shirley says:

Well said! Having a child with special needs is all the more reason to join. Your child is a student first, and equal to the other students in the school. When you join committees you show that you are as serious about education as any other parent who shows up and takes an active part in school.

November 1, 2012 at 10:40 am
(4) lele says:

Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. I never thought by attending PTA meetings, it would help to reinforce the ideas of inclusion or other programs to include children with disabilities. I always bought a PTA card but never actually attended a meeting.
Since I am fully aware, I will not only attend, but will advocate for special needs students while I am there.

November 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm
(5) Chip says:

Dang? Alright.

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