Kicked out out class for 7 weeks for talking?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Masta, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. Masta

    Masta Member

    My youngest easy child 10yrs old has been kicked out of class for the rest of the year (this happened 2 weeks ago) because he asked a question to a fellow student.

    my sons 5th grade class was at Music class at the time. My son asked a girl next to him a question (if she knew the song they were singing). On the other side of this girl was the class trouble maker making noise. The music teacher sent all 3 kids back to class.

    each day the class goes to either music, art, library, P.E, computers or art for 45mins. Once the kids were kicked out of their 45min music class they were sent back to the teachers classroom. The teacher said they will no longer be attending any of those classes for the rest of the year.

    I was never told/called about this situation. I found out this weekend by talking to my son about music, he then brought it up.

    I know this is not appropriate punishment. I emailed the teacher this weekend and her is her input:
    Please tell me what you would do when students get "kicked" out of a music, pe, art, computer, or library class. This is not the first time for Nick, and not the only teacher who has complained to me about his behavior in their class. I figured that if I talked to him about his behavior in these classes, it wouldn't happen again.
    But, it has, and now I don't know how to help the teachers who have to put up with his behavior in their classes, except not allow him to go. I even asked him if I should talk to his parents, and he answered "no." But, it sounds like he has talked to you himself. Maybe this is extreme, but the only other choice, as I see it, is for me to attend these classes with my students, so that I can control their behavior, and, since this is part of my daily preparation time, I really didn't want to have to do that. Please advise me.


    Her 45min prep it me she spends on her cell phone while these 3 kids get to read or write words & meanings from a dictionary.

    I have been told the whole class is noisy during the 45 min classes.. no-one likes the music teacher and their normal teacher has had to sit in on a art class to quiet the kids down.
    Now my sons teacher has never mentioned to me ever ( I keep in contact via email and go to parent teacher meetings) that my son been a handful, he has skipped a grade because he is very smart. And he is still the top of his class when it comes to his knowledge.

    Anyone know the law on this stuff? Or any advise on how to handle this?
     
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No way would any of this fly in our school district. First off, the music teacher should have called to let you know she was having problems (so should the other specials teachers if they were having a hard time). What is the principal's take on this situation? I'm quite sure it wouldn't be legal to keep them out of the classes because it is part of DPI requirements.

    I'm appalled that the teacher didn't seem to think she needed to tell you of her decision and the tone of her e-mail is very insulting.

    I would request a meeting with the music teacher, teacher, and principal.
     
  3. Masta

    Masta Member

    Wiped out:

    the principal doesnt know about this situation. so i have emailed her. havent heard back yet. we are on spring break but will be going back to school tomorrow.

    DPI? dont know what that is.
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, you have not been told of any previous problems at the time. Therefore for the teacher to raise them now, simply doesn't fly.

    She is sounding like the sort of teacher who gives teachers in general a bad name.

    To punish a kid for simply asking what song they're singing and especially to punish the girl who simply has the misfortune to be both the one asked the question, and the one standing next to a troublemaker, is extremely unfair.

    it is possible that your son didn't want the teacher to talk to you about it because he is happy to be out of the class of an unpopular teacher. I would carefully ask your son, however, about the content of the talk his class teacher gave him. Don't specifically ask if she offered to talk to you, his parents, but simply see if he can volunteer the information. prompt gently, but don't lead the witness.

    I have seen a version of this before - a teacher reacts out of anger and frustration (we're all human) and then has to uphold the decision or be seen as weak. Then the problem for the teacher escalates - parents get involved and the teacher ends up having to lie to protect her stand. Be especially on the lookout for a teacher making added accusations about your child, that he has been a problem all year in various ways and she is sorry to have to tell you this. it is a neat trick to deflect anger away from the teacher and back to your own child. I've seen it so many times - a parent marches down to the school to demand an explanation, little Johnny feels hard-done by and mother is angry at the injustice. Teacher neatly deflects, tells mother some nasty home truths about what her son has REALLY been like all year and then mother feels shame-faced to have been angry with this nice woman and angry with the son who put her in this situation with his long-term deception and bad behaviour, so she marches right home again and grounds him (or similar). Kid is left wondering, "What did I do?" and "No way am I ever going to ask my mother for help again."

    Before you even consider getting angry with your son, do go through your records and make careful notes. Document EVERY email where she has said he has been good, helpful, kind, courteous. Document every email describing problem behaviour. Then check his school report.
    In one case of the scenario I have just described, I had been asked by the mother to be a witness, since the problem involved me inadvertently. I was helpless as I watched the teacher manipulate my friend and was present when she chewed out her son for being a more difficult student than the mother had 'realised'. of course t he son denied it all indignantly, but since the teacher had planted the seed that ALL YEAR he had been dishonest, untrustworthy, not a team player, the mother didn't believe him.
    Then over the next few days my friend calmed down. She checked his school half-yearly report (which had been issued a month previously). The teacher described the boy as being an effective worker in a group situation, very bright, conscientious and always willing to help (which is what had got him into trouble - long story, not here).

    basically, when confronted in being caught out in mistreating a child with inappropriate discipline, the teacher had lied rather than admit to having made a mistake. She had deliberately made the mother angry with her son, for things he simply was not guilty of.

    A teacher has a large number of students in her class. If some of the kids are unruly, this makes the job of teaching more difficult. The behaviour I just described is NOT typical of GOOD teachers; it is a tool of inadequate teachers who lack confidence and who are desperate to not let their fears and weaknesses show.

    Such a teacher is a paper tiger. Find the paperwork to back you up, find all the opportunities the teacher had to pass on such vital information and DIDN'T, be fair and list the times she did, include the teacher comments from recent school reports (and any other written reports from any other activity) then go back and insist on some honesty. Have it all summarised in writing and be prepared to pass copies up the chain of command.

    When she asks, "Tell me what I should do," this is passive-aggressive (typical of weak bullies). So tell her. It is a forty minute class. The classes are ALL unruly, so this is not your son's fault (not alone, anyway). If the classes are unruly she should sit in randomly to keep order. Once the kids get to realise that random visits are likely, they are more likely to keep their behaviour under control. But if a teacher lets that out of control behaviour continue, it will be harder to stop it and turn it around. Nip problems in the bud, never allow them to continue. It will give her MORE free time if she steps in early.

    A lazy teacher is a predictable teacher. They give the same homework. They do the same things at the same time every day. A child reports an incident and the teacher deals with it as simply as possible. The simplest way to deal with a problem is to make it not to have happened. "It's just your imagination," or "He didn't really mean to kick you," or "Don't tell tales."
    I know this last paragraph is apparently off-topic, but I include it to ask - does this happen in difficult child's class? Even to other kids? Ask him how morale is in the classroom, what kids do if they're being bullied. Listen carefully to his answer. You can't use the information except to help you build up a picture of how this teacher uses her free time.

    Teachers do need free time. They have a lot of work to do in these times. A lot use this time for parent-teacher interview. See if you can schedule an interview with her for the time when she claims she is free from face-to-face teaching.

    And now these kids have been excluded from the extra classes - who minds them when those classes are on?

    If, after all your digging, you meet a brick wall, don't push too hard. Your son might not like the results. Maybe he is glad to be out of that class anyway.

    Marg
     
  5. Masta

    Masta Member

    Marg: the music teacher kicked the kids out.. they were sent back to their original 5th grade teachers classroom to write words and meanings from a dictionary in cursive or to read. now when the class goes for music etc these 3 kids stay behind and pull out a dictionary.

    our school districts website is down otherwise i would be pulling up district rules and quoting them.

    i know we all have our days of frustration but she should of realised she was harsh and fixed it. i truly believe this teacher has been busted so she is claiming my son is is a trouble maker, which i know is untrue.

    i am the last person to say i have kids who are angels... look at my info.. i have 2 difficult child's. no kid is an angel, but i do know my 10yr easy child has never been a problem in school.

    i called a parents from one of the other kids who has been kept behind she told me the kids dont like this music teacher and there were others who were talking that day and they never got punished.

    in this school district kids who do drugs only get suspended for 2 weeks, my 10yrs has been suspended from certain classes for 7 weeks. ridicoulous!
     
  6. oceans

    oceans New Member

    I would have a meeting with the principal and the teachers, It sounds suspicious to me that if he was causing problems all year that this would be the first time you have heard about it. It is also wrong to blame three kids, when the entire class is out of control. The teacher who cannot control the class has the problem, and needs to learn some skills to be able to maintain order in her class.
     
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Masta, you said, "i truly believe this teacher has been busted so she is claiming my son is is a trouble maker, which i know is untrue."

    This fits with what I suspected. So who was it who said she couldn't go in and supervise because she needed her time away from the kids? And more importantly, who was it who replied to your email with "please advise me"? Because it is THAT person who I think you have a problem with. If it's not the music teacher, then the class teacher is backing up what really is an unfair decision. Seven weeks is ludicrous. So it could be both who are now a problem.

    But she's given you a foot in the door with "please advise me", even though I think it was intended to make you back down.

    Gather your data on him, list every infraction you can find but also list every good comment and make sure that if you can't find enough infractions of Nick's, you say so.

    You've caught her out in an over-reaction and being unjust. She's an adult who got cranky and lashed out. She SHOULD be prepared to admit if she made a mistake not too many teachers cannot because they are afraid that it shows weakness to the kids. It does not. It actually shows great strength of character and teaches kids the right way to behave.

    Oceans, that's good advice you gave, too. It's what we would do, but that information will back up parental claims that although he's not perfect, he shouldn't be the scapegoat.

    Marg
     
  8. Masta

    Masta Member

    Marg: what you suspected was right!!!

    the only thing the music teacher did was kick the kids out of her classroom.

    everything else that happened was my sons 5th grade teacher. That teacher is backing up her own seven week suspension off all the classes I mentioned.

    my son has never had an infraction, I never ever have been called up from the school with complaints. I’ve looked through my sons school reports for this year (I have terms 1-3) we are on the 4th term here. All 3 school reports say he is "Excellent" when it comes to class/school rules. He is in the school chess club… has won 3 yrs in a row in the district tournament. He is should be in 4th grade but skipped a grade because is he is very smart. his 5th grade teacher who we are discussing and having problems with has told me he is so smart he could be in 6th grade right now and still wouldnt have any problems. My son is generally a nice kid, he is not the kid she is making him out to be. No kid is perfect and I’m sure he has his buddies he like to chat to in class (which is normal). I know my son hasn’t been acting up. She is using him as a scapegoat.

    There is no way this teacher is going to admit she is at fault here for over reacting and being unjust.

    I’m about to email the teacher and the Principal asking that my son be sent back to music, art etc tomorrow. if they have a problem with it to notify me asap so I can contact the school district so I can hold a meeting with all who are involved (the other parents, music teacher, principal & the 5th grade teacher). I have a funny feeling the Principal is going to back the teachers up here, I want to involve the school district (from past experience I know this needs to happen) because I want to know the school policy when it comes to how many of the classes the kids are legally allowed to keep my kids from and what sort of discipline is normal in this situation.

    my husband has emailed the 5th grade teacher (she is a 55yr+ lady never married)

    his email: Miss teacher,

    To answer your first question, "NOTHING." I think the kick out of the classroom is the problem. The other teacher should solve his/her own problems. Sending kids to another teacher undermines their authority, making the problem worse in the future.

    Check the policy when you’re not sure what to do, and if it’s unclear help to make a policy update. The few words he spoke surely aren’t worse than drug possession, which only get two weeks.

    I've never heard of any behavioral problems before. Even at parent/teacher conferences you give nothing but praises. I need to know when there are behavioral problems. After all I am the parent and really the only one permitted to issue punishments.

    I think that you should apologize and have those three kids back in regular classes on Monday. They deserve to be educated.

    I would like to be notified about future kick-outs. Call me any time.

    i will keep you posted. its 10.28pm sunday night here. tomorrow is school. i hope the crap dont hit the fan tomorrow.

    Masta
     
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I hope that last couple of lines weren't in your husband's email!

    Otherwise, it's a good start. In any communication with the school you need to be calm, courteous (even if you feel they're not - set THEM an example) and state the facts. Then state what you would like as a resolution. Always make it clear that you understand their position as best as anyone could, but you feel that in this situation they have made a mistake. ALWAYS give them room to wiggle out of the corner they've painted themselves into.

    You have two aims here:

    1) Get your son back into the class; and

    2) Make sure that whatever caused the problem is either resolved or not likely to happen again.

    An apology is highly unlikely and to request one (even where you feel it's owed) is not going to help. it is more likely to have the staff band together in mutual support. Just think - if your child shouts at you during a tantrum and you ask for an apology (especially while they're still angry) will you get one? And if you insist, and MAKE them apologise, how is it given? Freely, happily? or grudgingly, in a murmur while they're watching their feet?

    An apology given freely is the one to value. All others are worthless.

    Always treat the education system like a difficult child about to explode. I personally consider the education system in our state to be autistic in nature - poor social skills, extremely poor organisation skills, an insistence on routine to the point of obsessive-compulsive behaviour, and poor communication skills in general.

    I think it's very smart to go higher up. Also put your concerns in writing preferably other than an email. Be careful about your wording - this is official correspondence and will need to be kept on file (and keep your own copy, of course).

    here is where you say something like:

    "On xx/xx/07 Ms Y told us that our son, in the company of two other students, had been removed from class for 7 weeks. She said he had been disruptive and unruly (or whatever she said) and that he had been a repeated problem throughout this year. This was of great concern to us, considering the high level of communication we have enjoyed with this teacher this year.
    We went back and checked all our communication and found absolutely no past notification by this teacher of her concerns of his problem behaviour; in fact, in the reports dated [and list and date the reports] she said'[put in exactly what she said - list it all, but keep it short and to the point]'.
    I am deeply concerned that a class in which my son was participating and from which he was gaining academic benefit has been denied to him through what appears to be some sort of misunderstanding [give them plenty of wiggle room - they need it about now]. Not only that, two other students were also removed at a time when many others in the class, according to our son, were being noisy. My son claims [do not state it as fact or it will be challenged] that all he did was to ask the girl next to him the name of the song. She did even less, and has suffered the same fate. According to our son, there was a young man on the other side of this girl who may have been much noisier than others, but to punish innocent bystanders, as appears to have happened here, is inappropriate. Even for a child making noise, is this severe enough an infraction to warrant what amounts to a seven week suspension?
    Please explain to us how such a suspension serves any purpose in the education of our son. In what way will this assist his learning? Why is it now deemed appropriate for a child to be punished for asking a relevant question (ie "What is the name of this song we're singing?")?
    [You then put in some stuff about how in the past you have valued their support, their consideration, etc such as in accelerating your gifted child, then close with the following:]
    We look forward to your considered reply at the earliest convenience and would value a meeting face to face with the parties concerned, including yourself, to facilitate a satisfactory resolution to this situation.

    Your sincerely, etc."

    I shouldn't be able to rattle that off so quickly, but we've had to do it for all four kids over their entire schooling history - especially high school, where misunderstandings seem common.

    Fiddle with it to personalise it, make sure you refer to yourselves as a couple and don't use the singular first person ("I", or "me"). Describe him as "our son" and say "we think". This makes it clear that you and your husband are a united front on this - it needs to be clear to all involved, because, sorry to say, there is a perception that single mothers are more likely to give way to bullying school tactics.

    Good luck. Stay strong - once you go down this path you can't turn back, so step carefully and make sure you can do it with confidence.

    You're already off to a solid start.

    Marg
     
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