The "right" school for my son

Originally appeared on

In some city areas of France, where I live, it’s customary for parents to put their children in a private school between the ages of 12 and 15, because it’s thought that for those grades, many public schools underperform. However, after that, many parents then put their children back into the public school system for the end of high school.

My husband and I decided to follow these customs for our son. I was not aware, however, of a government policy that governs the transitioning of private school children back to the public system. I learned that because my son was attending a private school, he would be eligible to apply for admission only to “leftover” public schools. And by the time I learned this, the private school he had attended had given away his place to someone on their waiting list (they had warned us this would happen if we showed any intention of leaving, and we had been honest about our plans).

At this point I requested the support of a Christian Science practitioner, who prayed with us. I felt calmer as we prayed to see that there could be no injustice, and that we did not need to fear that our son would be in the “wrong” school. However, on the last day of the school year, he, along with five other students in his class who had been through the same process, was informed that he had been accepted by none of the six public schools he had applied for. He had to make three more choices among the six or seven schools that were left over because very few students wanted to go there. (Many were located in the less attractive areas of the city.) Our son was crushed.

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