Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Post 8300 - School Advocate

Reading the campaign materials for this year's town elections, I came across several where the candidate claimed to have been a school advocate. These seemed to be women, and overlapped with children with an autism diagnosis. My immediate image was of going into the school to advocate for programming or testing for their child and having expanded that to advocating for other children, either individually at their IEP's, through helping their parents, or advocating for enhanced programming or better treatment for that group. or for special needs in general.  That's what being a school advocate used to mean, isn't it?

This seems to be different.  This might be "Going to school board meetings to tell people my opinions," mostly recently about school policies concerning vaccines. That's a citizen right, but it seems to be an expansion of that meaning, an attempt to clothe one's personal politicking in the garb of volunteer work. I can see how a person could quickly talk themselves into that, because it is advocating for something to do with the schools. However, as at least one also sells natural products and identifies herself as a medical professional - she used to be a medical lab tech before she started the product business a decade ago, but you have to dig to find that - it looks even less like how I used to view the term.

We ran across quite a few of the first kind in the mental health biz working with children: CASA volunteers, mothers whose own special needs children had grown out of the school system but stayed on to help others, and professionals from organisations or agencies trained to know how to put requests and knowing the laws around special needs to demand services when necessary. This would be different.

Is this a thing now, FB mom groups rebranding themselves as school advocates, or is this just a small sample size and coincidence locally?

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