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Katherine Carlson, Published March 13 2012

Be careful about ‘redshirting’ kids

I write to give a cautionary tale about “redshirting” kindergarteners (Forum front-page article, March 10).

My husband and I thought that we had made the right decision to redshirt our bright, only child who had a summer birthday and seemingly could use the extra time to hone his social skills. We continued to feel comfortable with our choice during his elementary and early high school years as he began to show signs of and struggled with special needs issues.

Then he turned 18 prior to his senior year in high school. Legally, he had become an adult in the eyes of the state. Without his cooperation, we could not even get medical information about him, let alone have any legal control over him, unless we pursued and succeeded in being named his legal guardians. An 18- year-old high school senior in the best of circumstances is not necessarily ready to make wise choices for himself, and a special-needs 18- year-old high school senior is even more likely to make unwise choices.

So, parents, if you redshirt your kindergartner, be prepared for the all-too-often uncontrollable situations at the other end of the spectrum when your child turns 18 before graduating from high school. There is no way of telling, by looking at your child at age 5, what you will be facing with that child at age 18.