There is an old song that goes, "Look down, look down, that lonesome road, before you travel on." Facing that lonesome road, the adult might travel on. Often, the child can't.
During her twenty-year career as a school social worker, Anne Stilwell worked with two thousand "problem" children. She and her husband, professional writer Hart Stilwell, present here twenty-one factual accounts of children who suffered rejection in the public schools.
Some of the children in these accounts are unusually bright and some are mentally retarded. They are belligerent and destructive or withdrawn. They are from broken homes or happy homes, from the slums or Middle America. They are blacks, Chicanos, and Anglos. There is only one common denominator among these children—tragedy.
Every classroom teacher will gain from this sympathetic evaluation of the problems faced by children in the public schools. No one who reads this book can remain unaware of major areas that call for deep concern on the part of educators and parents. The Stilwells have described school children and their problems and at the same time offered telling portraits of the families of which the youngsters are a part. In the struggle to see that the problem child has a chance to develop and advance within the limits of his or her ability, parents, teachers, administrators, and social workers must work together or all fail. When they fail, the child must walk alone.
The authors' objective in presenting these cases is to show what has happened and does happen, and to encourage others to work for change. A prominent educator describes their account as "an exceptionally worthwhile teaching document—stimulating, touching, well written, and honest."
While this book was originally written in 1972, the issue of rejection in the public schools is, sadly, still timely.