What you are about to read comes from the raw depths of a mother's grief. One of the ways that Josh's mom has been processing that grief has been to let the words pour out. One of the ways that Josh's family and friends have been finding some comfort and strength has been with this blog and the community that has grown around it.
Ultimately, Josh's family wants this to be a constructive process as we all try to make sense from a senseless, incomprehensible event. There *will* be more posts, later, that will try to discuss whether these policies work, how they might be improved, and how and whether these policies contributed to Josh's death. For now, we ask that you consider the feelings of the people who are most frequently reading this blog and the comments. There will be plenty of time for debate later.
We thought about tempering the emotion in this post so it wouldn't sound so angry, and even thought about taking it down entirely. One of the reasons we didn't is because we wanted to let Josh's friends and anyone else who might be dealing with this kind of loss to know that such feelings will come, and there is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel right now. We welcome your comments, but this blog is, most importantly, a place where family and friends can come together and remember Josh and grieve for him. Part of that process involves being able to express very strong emotions in a safe space, and we ask that you please respect that need while commenting.
From Josh's aunt, Monday, March 23 4:00 pm EDT
I blame the Fairfax County School Board's policies that dictated their treatment of Josh that led to his death.
These policies must take into consideration the fact:
- that these are immature kids in a harsh world and
- that there is a difference between dealing drugs and stupid teen use and
- that great damage is done when you yank a kid out of the community that loves them and
- that when you expel a kid and take away the opportunity to participate in an activity in which they excel and derive a lot of self-esteem and confidence from (in Josh's case, football), you are taking away a part of their heart, soul and passion which kills them on the inside and
- that it is tough enough for our kids to compete for college admission spots and when you expel a child, you effectively make that goal exponentially more difficult to obtain and in the case of Josh, more than he could bear and
- that the county should do everything they can to make sure that every kid who wants to go to college, despite their mistakes, should be able to do so and
- that those who have never smoked pot in their HS/college years should cast the first stone.
Josh wrote two sentences on the note that we found. I believe the first is directed to FCPS and I would like to know the answer.
"Why does it have to be like this?"