is this grounds?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lmf64, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Okay, I'm not sure where this post should go since it concerns school, but it's not really an IEP issue.
    On Monday afternoon/evening as I was on my way home from work my cell phone rang. It was my dad wondering if I knew where my son was. I assumed he was at the house (remember right now we're living with my entire family due to losing everything in a fire 6 weeks ago), but dad said no he never got home from school. He'd checked the teen rec center and didn't know where else to look. I got back to the house a few minutes later and called difficult child's teacher at home to see if he'd said anything about going anywhere after school. She said he hadn't said anything and that she hadn't seen him since about 2 when one of the counselors took him out of the classroom, due to his causing a scene and disturbing the other students. The counselor was taking him to the cubicle (difficult child uses it as a quiet place to sleep, but it's really an in school suspension room in the office). His teacher assumed that he had been let out of the room at the end of the day and gone home. I called another kid who rides his bus and was informed that he hadn't gotten on the bus after school. Okay so it's 34 degrees out and he only had on a sweatshirt and a jean jacket so he couldn't have walked far. So I proceed to check with the only kids within walking distance from the school where difficult child would have walked to without whining about it and calling me at work (my work number is the only number he can seem to remember and the school refuses to allow him to carry his cell phone with him no matter what the reason is). He wasn't anywhere. I called back to my work to ask if he'd called there and to tell them that if he did to find out where he was and call me immediately. Well, I then called his teacher back to see what she had found out when she called around to see what anyone else had heard. She then decided to go back to the school to look around, because she was sure they had let him out but it's not like difficult child to not go home after school. In the mean time I was getting more and more panicky, driving around stopping at stores asking if anyone had seen him, and in general refusing to call the police because since he's a teen they would immediately decide he'd run away and not do anything about it. By now it's almost 5:30. Finally the teacher called me back. She'd found him. Wandering around inside the school (locked in). The counselor had apparently forgotten about difficult child being in the cubicle and gone home when school got out and everyone else had gone home too. His teacher was furious and had tried calling the principal at home. She said she'd have her (principal) call me on Tuesday.
    Okay, so now it's Wednesday night and I still haven't heard from anyone (other than difficult child) what happened. On Tuesday the principal and school liason officer had a meeting with difficult child to discuss what had happened and told him they'd reviewed the vidoe tapes and that from then on it was the principals responsibility to check the cubicles (there are 6 of them) at the end of each school day. It's all fine and dandy that they talked to difficult child about it, but I am his mother and they still haven't contacted me to let me know they have come up with a way to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. They all and I do mean all know difficult child falls asleep at the drop of a hat and waking him takes an act of god so expecting the bell ringing at the end of the day to wake him up isn't exactly a plan. I'm not sure exactly what to do now. I'm still ****** off that they would allow it to happen in the first place and getting angrier by the minute that none of them have had the guts to call me and say hey we messed up and this is how we're going to keep it from ever happening again to anyone. Sure nothing bad happened, but you can about imagine what was running through the back of my mind as I was driving around looking for my kid.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    How in the WORLD do they FORGET a kid IN THE OFFICE????? Is he ok? I can't imagine what was going through the poor kid's mind when he realized he was alone and locked in.

    I would DEFINATELY be calling the principal tomorrow. As calmly as possible (but with that tone that lets her know you are BEYOND pi****) ask her if she was planning on speaking with you about the fact that your son was FORGOTTEN at school and locked in. Tell her that while you appreciate the fact that she spoke with difficult child about this and (I would HOPE) apologized to him, the fact that she hasn't been on top of things enough to speak with his parent (seeing as how he's a minor and all) about the situation, makes you think that maybe a lawyer or even the media should be involved. Actually, I would make two calls tomorrow. One to the principal and one to the news station. Short of mass resignation by the entire staff or the building burning down, I can't think of one good reason why she hasn't called you yet. That's just beyond uncalled for. (I can't spell the word I want to use here) HUGE apologies should go to difficult child (as well as yourself) but YOU are the one they should be meeting with and discussing protocol with. YOU are the parent and the adult here. YOU are the one freaking out wondering where your kid was. YOU are the one they should be kowtowing to. The more I think about this and type, the more ticked off I get for you. This is absolutely incredible.

    Oh yeah, call her tomorrow. Forget being nice. Ream her and ream her good for not calling you IMMEDIATELY.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you could report this to police, press, and board of supervisors/superintendent. Yes, I think it is grounds- if I understood the question correctly.

    The only time that I have heard people from the school (other than a regular teacher) say that such-and-such is the principals responsibility when it was clearly someone else who did something wrong is when it is an action (or lack of action) that is justifiable reason for parents to pursue court action, due process, etc.

    I was irate at the school when they bought a stupid trick from my 11 yo difficult child and let him get on a different school bus- and I didn't see him again until the next day. What you/your son experienced would have my hair standing on end!
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Furthermore- why did a teacher have to go back to the school to find him? Any responsible, competent, caring principal who understands that he/she IS where the buck stops INSIDE the school building would have RUN back to that school to find out where he was, who was responsible for it, and would have personally delivered him home safely.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What a nightmare! I would suggest that you pay a visit to the school. Ask for a tour of the area involved, ask to see exactly where difficult child was napping, ask what the policy is for supervision of students in this area, and ask why difficult child was forgotten. Then write a letter to the school board stating how that situation effected you and difficult child. Let them know what you went through to find difficult child. State that you have since visited the school and describe how you view the reason he was left (if there was proper supervision, he would not have been forgotten). State any ideas you have that may prevent this - do you think the school's decision to have the principal check every day is enough? If principal is gone or busy with another student, who makes sure this is done?

    There should be a plan that an adult releases the kids from this area. Having someone check the area is not good enough. How was it he was forgotten about? One thing I would suggest is a sign-in/sign-out sheet. As a student enters the area, place name and time on the sheet. As the student is dismissed, place time out and dismissed to on the sheet. Reviewing the sheet at the end of the day to see if anyone is still signed in. I guess the physical check of the area would also be a good idea. The sheet would be helpful for the administration or counselor's office to keep tabs on how the area is being used.
  6. Christy

    Christy New Member

    WOW! The school has some apologizing to do. I would think a phone call from the principal and the counselor would be an appropriate start. That is great that they have a plan in place so it won't happen again but they caused you a lot of worry and owe you an apology.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'd be contacting the school board. There is absolutely no excuse for what happened nor for not calling you back. I'm willing to bet that the reason you haven't heard from the school is they're getting their ducks in a row re school board, etc. for fear of a lawsuit.

    I'd be livid! I'd also use this as a tool to get every service I ever wanted for my child but the school refused. Right now, they should be quaking in their boots, shoes and sandals.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh I am SO sorry this must have been SO SCARY!!!

    I would go to the School Superintendent. Just go to his/her office and demand to speak to him/her.

    I would ALSO call every single news station (TV AND RADIO) and let them know what happened.

    To NOT call the MOM? WTH is that?? Except she KNOWS she and the school ahve neglected and harrassed your son all year and have gone WAY over the line.

    to just LEAVE a child with physical and mental disabilities in school?? NO WAY. don't bother with the principal. When she didn't call you, but talked to difficult child she told you she knows she messed up big time and doesn't have the stones to accept responsibility.

    Go to the TOP.

    Make sure the STATE DEPT OF ED knows this happened.

    And have a letter put in HER personell file.

    I am so sorry. this is just so totally wrong.

    Hugs and lots of support,

  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    MB, you said, " I'm willing to bet that the reason you haven't heard from the school is they're getting their ducks in a row re school board, etc. for fear of a lawsuit."

    I think you're probably right. The pity of it is, if they had done the right thing and called, then they would have had more chance of heading off any legal problems. What is more important here? A child got left behind? Or the school officials covering their collective rears?

    "Oops, we made a mistake," would be a good start. Hey, these things can happen. The aim of the exercise is to apologise when you foul up and put things in place to prevent a recurrence. After all, it's what they expect our kids to do, isn't it?

    What kind of message does this send to a difficult child? "Hey, kid, whoever-you-are, you don't really matter in the scheme of things."

    What kind of attitude is this for SENIOR and administrative staff to have, to seem more interested in 'talking to the student' (which in the case of a lot of our kids, = "revising and recreating the truth, as administration wants it seen", than in actually trying to properly fix things?

    The class teacher deserves a medal. She did her best to help, on the spot, when it wasn't her fault that this happened. Once he left her room he became someone else's responsibility. She did try to contact the principal at home (I gather with no success?).

    Whether the teacher did ask the principal to call you on Tuesday or not, that is what should have been done. First thing. "I am so sorry, Ms -, I can't understand how this happened. In future we will be signing kids in and out and a staff member has now been delegated to ensure that these rooms are checked before everyone goes home."

    You were worried. You were beyond worried, you were panicked. At the very least, you deserve an apology for the panic you felt. difficult child definitely deserves an apology (more than a mere apology) for being treated in such a disrespectful, offhand manner.

    How do we teach our children to face their responsibilities if school staff do not?

    I'd be ringing the principal. I'd be asking very sweetly, "Excuse me Madam, did you somehow FORGET to call me to discuss this matter?"

    I'd also be making the point about setting examples to kids on how to take their lumps when they do the wrong thing.

    Any chance of putting the school counsellor and the principal on detention? Do the counsellor & principal have an IEP in place?

  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can't believe the principal hasn't called you yet! I'm not really sure how far I would go with this situation, I would have to consider a number of things, especially their treatement of my son in the past. But, I would be on that phone as soon as the school opened and demand an explanation as to why you have not been contacted. This is ridiculous. Please keep us posted.

  11. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I AM the one to respond to happened to my difficult child when he was six (kindergarten). He didn't come out after the school bell rang and I had to go ask where my little bitty boy was? He was in a closed room for in-school suspension. It was the PRINCIPAL who left him in there....for about six hours!!! He luckily had lunch because I had packed it in his backpack, but he wet his pants since he was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom. HE WAS A BABY!!!! My difficult child is now twelve and I regret every day that we didn't sue their rearends off. What we DID do was go straight to the superintendent's office and have a meeting with difficult child's doctor, his teacher, the principal and the superintendent. It was funny....the principal never uttered a word. I'm sure he had been coached to keep his mouth shut for fear of us going off on him. Let me say one thing, they handled my son with kid gloves from there on out. They knew we were watching every little thing they did!!!

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this. It's scary and sad for all involved.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MB, you said, " I'm willing to bet that the reason you haven't heard from the school is they're getting their ducks in a row re school board, etc. for fear of a lawsuit."

    I think you're probably right.

    Ditto. I am outraged just reading the note! Best of luck.
  13. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would be in touch with the superintendent. And the school board. And the county board of education. And the state board of education. And I would be yelling at the top of my voice.
  14. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    I am not a person that feels you should sue over everything...BUT as I get older I realize that sometimes that is tHE ONLY way to get peoples attention and FORCE them to change their policies to ensure it does not happen again.

    I also would be VERY upset that NO ONE has called me to apologize.

    With those two things in mind...I would contact an attorney TODAY!!!!

    I am so sorry for your difficult child...but maybe you can make a big enought impact that the entire school district will put a policy and procedure in place to ensure this does not happen to another child.

  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm usually one to try to react on the side of prudence when these things happen, but are you kidding me?

    If you forgot your child and locked him up and left him alone while you went along your business taking care of your selfish needs the police or CPS would be at your door. I'd call the police (or at least threaten to) and make a child endangerment charge. It may go nowhere, but it gives a great big bargaining chip.
  16. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I am sick thinking about this! I am one to usually not want to rock the boat, but this is terrible and I would take it as far as you can go with it.

    How is your son doing after this happened?

    Keep us posted. I would definitely call the news.
  17. lmf64

    lmf64 New Member

    Thank you all for your input. I do think it's time to contact an attorney. Like witz said,
    If you forgot your child and locked him up and left him alone while you went along your business taking care of your selfish needs the police or CPS would be at your door. I'd call the police (or at least threaten to) and make a child endangerment charge. It may go nowhere, but it gives a great big bargaining chip.[/QUOTE]
    The police liason officer was already brought into it by the school. He interviewed my son about what happened the next day, so there has to be a report about the incident.
    My son seems to be okay with it all. He said,when I asked him, about their plan that it makes him feel better to know that it won't happen again. I'm not as blase as he is. He lives for the minute, like all of our kids, and the minute/s of him being locked in the school alone are past for him.
    I tried to get ahold of the superintendent today, but of course he was out of the office. He had better call me back tomorrow. Since it doesn't appear that the principal is going to do the right thing he had better make her see that not doing it is going to cost the district if not monetarily, then reputationally (did I just make up a word?) The worst part is my mother worked for the district for over 25 years and in the same building difficult child attends for about 5. He knew his way around this building before he was even in school, but there is no reason for him being left in there alone.
  18. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Inquiring minds want to know! LOL So....what happened today?
  19. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Ooops! We must have been posting at about the same time!
  20. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OMG, the hair is standing up on the back of my neck. That poor kid.

    Keep us updated!