Child Expelled for Accident

Girl Gashed

Little Ksenya got a raw deal (courtesy of Pix-11)

Since I work in higher education, advise college students and teach classes from time to time, I have always considered myself to be an educator. We all know this profession rarely comes with a high (or even fair) salary, but it is rewarding in lots of other ways.

I still remember the first time one of my former at-risk students walked across the stage, shook our president’s hand and collected the degree they once thought they would never achieve. Catcalls and cheers from family members echoed through the auditorium and honestly, I even felt like a proud father myself. It’s a moment I will never forget and one that exemplifies the reason I chose this career: to help students.

So when I read or hear about other educators treating their students badly, it burns me up inside and makes me wish I lived closer to them so I could give them a piece of my mind in person. Since this obviously isn’t possible in most cases, I instead choose to voice my disgust in this forum.

And believe me. This story is pretty disgusting.

Ksenya Strelyayeva was a first grader at the Staten Island Catholic school, St. John Villa Academy–no different from any other child her age–until last week, when she was suddenly expelled by the nuns there. The reason?

Ksenya accidentally bumped her head in class and started bleeding.

Seriously. That’s it.

The accident happened when Ksenya bent down to throw away some papers and bumped her head on the sharp corner of a shelf. She immediately started bleeding and was rushed to the front office since there was no school nurse available. Someone there even used a Clorox wipe to clean the cut.

Yeah. I can see how this was all Ksenya’s fault.

At any rate, the dismissal letter arrived a few days after Ksenya’s mother asked for and received an accident report from the school. Since attendance at St. John Villa is by “invitation only,” the nuns had chosen to revoke the one they originally extended to Ksenya.

“They throw a six-year-old child in the street because she bumped her head,” Anastasia Strelyayeva, Ksenya’s mother, later told reporters. “They broke my heart and they broke my daughter’s heart.”

mom Gash

Mother Anastasia was shocked (courtesy of Pix-11)

As if this weren’t bad enough, the school also refused to comment and instead released a statement just as confusing as their decision to boot the little girl: “I deny the accusations that St. John Villa Academy is unsafe.”

Pardon my French, but what in the hell is that supposed to mean?

At first, I had no idea. I thought we were talking about a girl being unfairly expelled, not school safety. And I didn’t remember hearing anything involving accusations against the school. Then it occurred to me.

The nuns kicked Ksenya out because they think she’s accident prone and could tarnish their reputation as a “safe school.” If parents found out about this, they would start yanking their kids out so fast that the place would have to shut down, right?

Give me a break.

As a parent–and I hope that I speak for most of the parents out there–I understand that accidents happen. And they happen to children a lot. Some of them we’ll be around for, others we won’t. And given all the time our kids spend in school, it’s only logical that some accidents would happen there, too.

I want to emphasize the word logical because honestly, these nuns are anything but. And correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t nuns supposed to be working for Christ or something? Kicking a little girl out of school for bumping her head doesn’t seem very Christian to me, but I’m certainly no expert.

As sad as this story is already–and as sorry as I feel for this family–their mistreatment comes with another unfortunate consequence. Now that Ksenya must attend a different school, her parents have to pay even more in tuition–something like $2000 more each year.

St. John Villa Academy was nice enough to return half of Ksenya’s annual tuition, but they have not yet returned her registration fee or uniform costs. And from I understand, both were rather large.

Is it me, or does this seem like one final insult to the poor, victimized family? I don’t know for sure, but I do know one thing.

I am staying the hell away from nuns!

Posted on February 11, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I feel for the little girl though if her parents can find a suitable public school for her to go to, she’ll probably be better off. I grew up in Oak Park Illinois where they had and still currently have an excellent public school system. I went to the public schools until High School when I was accepted to an elite Catholic High School also located in Oak Park. It’s long story I’ll tell on my blog someday. But I attribute my staying out of formal education for 30 years in part due to my experiences there. About the only thing positive I have to say about my time there was I got read the Summa Theologica (no, it was not part of a punishment) without having to purchase a copy. Great Post!

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