I’ve never taken politics seriously. I mean, I take seriously the fact that there are men and women in positions of power throughout our country who make decisions that keep our government running. Sort of. The part I’ve never really taken seriously is the part where we, as citizens of the United States, are encouraged to voice our opinions by writing letters to our representatives in congress. It’s a good idea, really. But I’ve never imagined that one guy writing one letter could really make much of a difference. Then I remember that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa won a trip to Washington, D.C. thanks to an essay she wrote. She got to meet her local congressman and was discouraged by his corrupt attitude. After that, she changed her essay to reflect her new feeling toward the American government. A low-level aide heard her new speech and reported back to the president that a little girl had lost faith in democracy. This sent the powers that be into action and, within seconds, that congressman was removed from the House of Representatives. If only things in congress moved that swiftly. No, I don’t really believe that one letter can have that kind of affect on how the government works, but that doesn’t make a voice any less important. That doesn’t diminish the need to be heard. Several years ago, I was so disturbed by something I regularly saw in the workplace that I felt the need to write a letter because, really, it was something that had been bothering me for years. I don’t look for approval from visitors to this blog, I just wanted to share with my readers the words I shared with our leaders.
Dear Mr. President,
This is the first time I’ve written a letter to the President of the United States since I was in the third grade and Reagan was in office. I’m grown up now and write today as a concerned citizen.
I’m not an expert. At anything, really. But I have had certain experiences in my adult life that I feel qualify me to voice my concerns. I work as a counselor at a small, rural elementary school. I can honestly say that it’s the most frustrating and fulfilling job I’ve ever had. I love every minute of it. Well, I love most minutes of it.
But this letter isn’t about me. It’s not about the job I do and it’s not about any of my fellow counselors or the educators with whom we work. It’s about the state of social services in our country. Specifically, my concern lies with Child Protective Services.
During the first half of this school year, I worked with a client in the second grade. For reasons of confidentiality, I won’t go into the specifics of his case. I will say that I felt and still feel that he should be receiving services currently. However, someone somewhere decided that his behaviors were not severe enough to warrant continued services with a counselor. It’s a decision that was made by someone who has no contact with my clients whatsoever. This complaint does not involve the Department of Social Services. But I use this client’s situation as an example oft he problem I’ve seen in social services.
Over the years, I’ve seen a number of cases where Child Protective Services has been called to get involved in certain homes. I’ve been appalled, at times, to see CPS remove children from home with parents who genuinely care about their kids. For whatever reason, they’ve fallen on hard times or someone presented circumstantial evidence that could not be ignored.
On the other hand, I’m even more appalled when real evidence keeps piling up in homes where abuse is obviously taking place. Yet, in those homes, despite numerous reports to Child Protective Services, the children are left to suffer.
My former client and his siblings are examples of the latter. Each day that they come to school, it’s difficult not to wonder what fresh horror story the teachers will hear from one of these children.
Again, I’m no expert. I do realize that the people in the Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services are just that: people. They are busy and stressed out, just like anyone else with a job. But it’s difficult to ignore certain injustices, particularly when it comes to the welfare of those who are incapable of finding justice for themselves.
I don’t expect this letter to amount to much and I don’t expect a sweeping change to suddenly occur. I simply want to draw attention to what I perceive to be a serious problem concerning the future of our country. That said, I am sending a similar letter to my local congressman, both Virginia senators, as well as the state legislature. In my opinion, the more eyes that read these concerns, the better.
Thank you for your time.
Aaron L. Peck