Dear Dr. McCoy,

Dr. McCoy meeting with Rachel and Simon.

Dr. McCoy meeting with Rachel and Simon.

Last spring, Allderdice staff returned to the building for the first time in over a year. Counselors cleaned out their desks in preparation for the upcoming school year. In doing so, they found an archived email from a mother of an incoming freshman student. It reads as follows:


Dear Dr. McCoy,                                                                                                                                February 1, 2018 

Hello! My name is Rachel, and I am the mother of Simon, an incoming freshman student. We are delighted that our little, gorgeous boy will now be attending Allderdice High School. Our family is very much looking forward to it. Simon and I already went shopping for our “First Day of School Outfits!” However, before the school year starts, I wanted to ask some questions and share some things about Simon that I think you and the rest of the administration would benefit from knowing. I have some questions/suggestions/observations/wonderings etc…

First, is there any way we could get a personal tour of the school? I know that is a big ask, but I think it would be very beneficial to Simon’s mental health. I want him to be able to navigate the building worry-free when he comes to school on August 27. I am sure with so many kids in the hallway it will be very hectic! I already started mapping out directions for how to navigate the school for him, but this is from memory when I came to the premises during school. Unfortunately, the security guards escorted me out due to the fact that I was “violating the rules” of entering the campus during the school day! Will maps be provided (if I don’t finish mine on time)? 

Next, how does scheduling work? I have been contacting Simon’s counselor ever since I found her on Facebook and started messaging her, trying to make Simon’s schedule according to his requests. I also found her home address and waited outside her house for a few hours, but I left after getting several weird looks from her neighbors. Our dilemma is that first he wanted to take Jewelry but then decided to switch to Visual Arts. I am hearing what other students are taking from my mom friends but I don’t see some of those options on my list. Is there a “secret” schedule like the Starbucks “secret” menu? This process has been very stressful—and to make matters worse, she never responded to my messages!

Next, what is the policy on bullying? Although, like I mentioned before, we are eager for Simon to start Allderdice, I am worried that Simon may be teased. He is by all objective standards a very handsome boy, but at 5’3 and 90 pounds, he could potentially be a target. I will not tolerate bullying towards Simon. I will contact any mother of a child who does this, but I would not like it to go that far… but if I have to I will.

Next, what are the rules on snacking during class? As I mentioned, Simon does not weigh as much as some other freshmen, so we are putting him on an eating schedule. This schedule is rigorous. His pediatrician prescribed him five daily glasses of pediasure due to its high protein and anti-oxide qualities to make my boy even bigger and stronger than he is now! I would like the teachers to be aware that it is necessary for Simon to be drinking in class and give him reminders every day. An alarm, a small bell, or (better yet) a personal school-wide announcement over the loudspeakers each time would be much appreciated!

Next, what is the situation with the metal detectors? Simon has very sensitive ears so when the alarm on it goes off it could overwhelm him. I thought I should warn you that he cannot be rushed to open the zippers on his backpack. Please let him take his time so he does not have a panic attack. However, if he does, this is what you have to do: first, grab him by the arms (gently, but enough to get his attention), remind him to breathe deeply, and then lie him down on the nearest table and pull on his pinky toe. This will soothe him, and soon he will be back to his normal self! 

Next, what is the bathroom policy? I know there are bathrooms all over Allderdice, but since it is a very large school I think it would be a good idea to have a bathroom helper for the first month of school, so Simon can be rushed to the nearest bathroom (just in case of emergencies!) Additionally, depending on what I pack Simon for lunch, his stomach can get very upset. He is prone to explosive diarrhea. (In our house, we call this an “accident” or “bummy tummy.”) Please remind him, in case of emergencies, that there is an extra pair of “Tuesday-panties” in the front, small compartment of his backpack. If you would like an “in-case-of-emergency pair,” I would be more than happy to drop one off. (As a reminder, Simon only wears the Tuesday underwear in the Target “days of the week pack.”) I would like you to tell the nurses (I already emailed them, but just in case) that if Simon is ever not feeling well, put a lukewarm compress on his forehead and rub his tummy counterclockwise for thirty-six seconds. No more, no less. This will lower his nausea and ease his stomach pain, and prevent him from having an “accident.” 

Moreover, I thought I could give you a few ideas for how to make every freshman feel welcomed and included when starting Allderdice: I already mentioned a bathroom helper (a policy I think should be implemented district-wide) but I wanted to go more into detail. Could the bathroom helper be a senior who frequents the restrooms? Or even a substitute that is not on duty… Additionally, each lunch period, there could be an upperclassman assigned to sit with a kid who is sitting alone at lunch. As we all know, making friends can be challenging! Lastly, on the first day of school, can parents escort their children to their homeroom, and stay with them for a bit—just until they are comfortable in their new environment? Simon typically needs about three to five hours to adjust to a new space!

Just a few questions and ideas! The first day of school is rapidly approaching and I am eagerly awaiting your response! If you have any questions about Simon, please let me know. 

He truly is a gift.