- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son’s teacher recently disparaged military children to the entire class. She said military children are spoiled rotten and that she is not going to go out of her way to make them comfortable or bend the rules for them.

It’s bad enough that military children like mine have had to move around a lot and leave friends behind. How dare she say she won’t help them assimilate to their new environment?

My son has been treated for depression since we moved here from Washington state. Before we moved, we were members of a church with a great youth department, and he played sports and was very active in the community. Now, not only are we starting from scratch, but I feel I have to fight an enemy in his school, too.

Do you think I should move him from her class? How should I handle this? — Angry in Virginia

Dear Virginia,

I think you should schedule an appointment with your son’s teacher to gain some clarity and understanding about the comment. I’m not implying your son isn’t telling the truth, but you need to hear her side of the story.

If you should find this comment was made or if you are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, then you should ask to speak with the principal.

Continue to go up the chain appropriately.

Another option is to visit the school liaison officer at your nearest post. This officer can be a wonderful resource to help your children have a smooth transition in their new schools. They also can listen to you and provide support when needed. Keep monitoring your son’s depression and follow up with his doctor about any symptoms. I hope he can have a better transition into his new community. I know it’s tough for military children moving from place to place and starting all over again. Just hang in there.

• The following is a reader response to a previous column about how an enlisted man’s wife felt disrespected by officers’ wives at volunteer service projects:

I sympathize with that enlisted man’s wife. My husband was deployed to Kosovo shortly after we married. His company commander’s wife was to run the Family Readiness Group (FRG), but since she was pregnant, she decided to go back home.

The colonel’s wife asked for help, so a sergeant’s wife and I volunteered. We were very well-organized — we did a lot of fundraising, participated in post cleanups and put together several adult activities, including a big ball. To our surprise, though, at the ball, the colonel presented the company commander’s wife with an award for her “hard work” and “dedication in the FRG of the unit.”

We were shocked when the woman actually accepted the award and gave a speech about all the things she did — to which, the colonel’s wife stepped up to comment on her “hard work.” Needless to say, I wanted to say something to the colonel’s wife, but my husband, who was then a first lieutenant, said I should let it go, and the sergeant said the same thing to his wife.

The colonel and the company commander both are West Point grads and, as my husband told me, “they stick together,” so we shouldn’t make waves. Later, when my husband finally got command, the lieutenant colonel’s wife wanted to “run it” and I was told by another colonel’s wife to let her do it again, the common thread was West Point.

I’ve found that a lot of officers’ wives look down their noses at enlisted spouses, ROTC spouses, Green to Gold spouses and OCS spouses. I once worked with an officer’s wife who was helpful and wanted help, but it seems she was a rare breed. — Sherri

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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