School in Costa Rica Says “NO” to FAILING 1st Grader

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    Submitted by: Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Rice
    Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica

    St. Mary’s School Guachipelín, Escazú- San Jose, C.R., Says “NO” to FAILING 1st Grader who wishes to attend their school!

    We have just been informed our first grader will be retained in first grade. After months of trying to figure out why our first grader is having a difficult time in school, he has been diagnosed with ADD. It makes sense now that we’ve learned more about the condition. He also exhibits signs of dyslexia. It is diffiult for him to learn in Spanish- (English is his first language) combined with the ADD and possibly dyslexia. He is incredibly distracted and simply cannot keep up with his school work in class. He has terrible difficulty remembering his daily routine and sometimes just zones out for minutes at a time. The preliminary recommendations are retention and Ritalin, and to us it seems as if it is the best decision to hold him back a year and let him ”grow up” a bit more. His teachers at his present school are fully supportive of this option. Also, our son is not particularly socially mature. We are confident he will benefit from the ”extended first grade program.”

    Here is where the problem comes in. We have been looking into several new private schools in the central valley area to have our son attend in February 2011. When we first inquired into St. Mary’s school located Guachipelín, Escazú- San Jose, C.R. we were told by the school administrator, David Reynolds, they will not accept a child that has failed “YES, FAILED! (A first grader) We were told if a student must repeat a grade they will not be accepted into their school. Again, may we repeat, we are talking in reference to a first grade child not a 6th grader.

    Our son’s psychiatrist who is in the process of running tests to actually understand how our son learns, due to the possible dyslexia and ADD, has said that it would be in his best interest to learn in English-his first language- not Spanish. The school’s stand point on this was, we teach Spanish – and the child must learn to read and write in Spanish Class, Social Studies and Music are taught in Spanish. We realize these last three subjects are important to all students- but a first grader really needs the basic reading, writing and arithmetic- and all of these subjects are taught in English. If the child were applying for Harvard University next year- we could understand these strict policies.

    When did being a first grader become an era of closed doors in a child’s face? It seems an injustice to our son. He suffers from a learning disability and this school turns him away without any doubt or conscious. When we met with, Mr. Reynolds and his two (unidentified- no name given staff members) they show good Christian faces and prayed in front of us for the well being of our son and family. In the prayer Mr. Reynolds said they are leaving the decision up to GOD- and 10 minutes after meeting with them –he out rightly refused our child’s entry into St. Mary’s School- stating if he must repeat a grade- he has no place at St. Mary’s School. God decided rather rapidly wouldn’t you say?

    God…what if your son needed to repeat the first grade?

    We now will take the next step and proceed with a civil action law suit against the school due to our child’s constitutional rights being violated…and may we finish in quoting:

    “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    *The views and opinions expressed in the above article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of

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