Sarah Morris

As Interviewed by Jette Morris, March , 2018

Sarah Morris: In Her Own Words

It’s been different this year, he got teased.He’s said that people have started rumors that he was mentally ill or crazy.

An observer noticed that Jonah had his hood up in class and that’s against the rules. You cannot have your hood, or hat on in school. And so we were in a meeting and she kinda commented; Jonah is breaking the rules. He’s got his hood up- I keep telling him to put his hood down. And I looked at her, and I said; well, he knows that’s the rule. My experience of Jonah is that his hood is up when he’s feeling insecure or embarrassed or threatened, that he uses the hood to screen out what’s going on around him. ‘You can’t see me, I can take a little break from your scrutiny, or I can regroup inside the little shield.’

But if you look at that as a discipline problem, that he should not be allowed to go to recess, because he broke the rule of having his hood up- then you’ve missed the point that he’s not feeling safe or comfortable in some way, and if you punish him, it doesn’t have anything to do with it. So umpteen times a day, for small things like that, he’s being rewarded or punished for thing that aren’t really about what’s troubling him.He didn’t have someone he could tell he wasn’t feeling safe or he was feeling overwhelmed to. He doesn’t need to be sent away to be explained what the expectations are, he doesn’t need to be sent away to be told what he needs to do to ‘behave’, so they’re taking him and putting him into a box that they think they know what to do with, which is incentives and discipline.

We went to the teacher and principle and said; hey, this therapist said we should try having Jonah chew gum. And the principle responded that; Well if we let Jonah chew gum, everyone would have to chew gum. And it blew my mind because her way of thinking was that we handle everyone exactly the same - that treating everyone well, means treating everyone the same. When I was saying, it never occured to me that was in her mind you know because we do what people need in our family.