So. THAT was unpleasant, no?
I actually heard back today from the executive director for our branch of the Y. It was exactly, precisely, perfectly what we needed to hear. She was profusely apologizing, told me it was the first thing she started working on when she got in and read my email this morning. She contacted the sports director, they were both horrified by what had happened, it is not the way they do things.
In short: recreational gymnastics is recreational. It is not like swimming, where the kids are required to show certain skills before they move up to the next class, or like the higher levels of gymnastics, where they have to prove they're capable of the executing the skills before they can participate in another level. It's not pass-fail. They're preschoolers. They don't work for the class, the class works for them. Instructors are supposed to talk to every parent at the start of class to determine if there are any special needs, fears, etc. If a child appears to be struggling, there should be ongoing discussions about what needs to be done to meet that child's needs so they can fully participate. And never, under ANY circumstances, are adolescent coaches to be having conversations with parents like the one that happened on saturday.
The two directors actually went back and reviewed the footage from the gym on saturday (!!!*), watched Gracie, saw nothing that would exclude her from participating by ANY stretch, and also determined who it was that approached me. She is no longer teaching the preschool class. They will be doing some individual coaching with her and she will be pulled to do something else (well, that was implied. Or maybe she's fired? I have no idea and I didn't ask. But OMFG SRSLY: what sixteen year old takes THAT into her own hands???? BRASS BALLS. WOW. I'd like to meet her mother...)
I was asked to please, please bring Gracie back for the last two classes of the session, and also told that, if I was willing to try again, we could take the next session for free. We would have new coaches, and if I saw someone in particular form a strong bond with Gracie, I should let them know so they can permanently assign them to her group.
We're finishing the class out and signing up for the next session. I told her a free class isn't necessary- I really, really don't want her to think we were looking for something free, I don't want to take away from the message here, that things should NEVER be handled this way. She kept offering and we came to an agreement- I'm going to register and pay the same way I always do. If things are not going well, we'll withdraw, and I'll go directly to her for a refund. The other fact of the matter is that we can pay for our classes, and not everyone who goes to the Y can do that. It just feels really...wrong. And greedy. So we'll do it this way.
I should have known. I really, really should have known. Gracie's safe place to be a regular kid was, is, and always will be her safe place to be a regular kid. I should have known! But oh my god, can you even IMAGINE acting that way when you were a teenager? I seriously still can't fathom the balls on that girl, having that conversation all on her own. SERIOUSLY, people.
Last night, Gracie was stomping around the house in her new pink cowboy boots, and asked me if she could wear them to gymnastics next time. I panicked, froze, and didn't know what to say, so I told her gymnastics was over. She scrunched up her face and said, "Mama, NOOO!! Next time, pweeeease?!??!!" And I'm not going to get into the ugly thoughts I had about certain former coaches of hers. Because it actually feels so much better to know that I'm going home tonight and telling her, silly mama! I was wrong! Gymnastics isn't over yet! And YES, you can wear your pink cowboy boots. (even though you can barely walk in them because seriously, you are your mama's daughter and the future of gymnastics is not in your bones.)
*OMG, the Y has VIDEO FOOTAGE of gymnastics class!!!! WHY is my first thought, "holy crap, they video tape that? Please God tell me I didn't pick any wedgies in front of the camera...."