Need advice re: letter to parents

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mattsmum, May 18, 2007.

  1. mattsmum

    mattsmum New Member

    Hello. Just need advice. difficult child is apparently bullying another student. The dad is a police officer and has allegedly written a letter to the school stating that if the school doesn't handle it, he will.

    I thought it might help to give the principal permission to reveal that Matthew is on medications and has a diagnosis. Is that a good idea??? What should I do???

    I feel it is out of my hands, because I am not at the school when this happens....yet I might get "in trouble" for his behavior????
     
  2. --Eleanor--

    --Eleanor-- New Member

    How do you know about this letter-- and have you talked to the police officer dad? If you know exactly what he said (or is threatening to do) it would be easier to know how to respond. If he is suggesting that he is going to try to approach your child in any way while at school, I'm pretty sure that the school will put a stop to that--and you should make it clear that you expect the school to prevent such a confrontation. Perhaps he is suggesting, though, that he intends to report your child to juvenile authorities. If that is the case, maybe that is a situation in which a mediator could be of assistance--lots of places these days have "juvenile offender" mediation that tries to get things settled before a child gets too far off track.

    Best of luck--it sounds like a difficult one...
     
  3. mattsmum

    mattsmum New Member

    The principal told me about the letter.

    I am assuming that he intends to report him to the juvenile authorities.

    My question is, do I allow the principal to share difficult child diagnosis and that we are actively seeking help??
     
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Your son is 7 years old, yes?? While I agree with the police officer dad that the school has an obligation to protect his son from your son, I'd be shocked if the juvenile authorities would intervene (perhaps charges against the school staff for not maintaining a safe environment??).

    I've been on both sides of this issue with Kanga (victim) and Tigger (usually bully sometimes victim). The school needs to do its job and separate the kids so the bullying stops. That may mean that your son needs to spend more time in the Special Education room. Tigger now spends a minimum of 4 hours ( of a 6.5 hour day) in the self-contained room -- he doesn't have any learning issues, it is a matter of safety.
     
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Practical suggestion: Will your DS write a letter of apology to the other boy?
     
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This might not work, but I'd try asking the school for contact info so you can call the dad and discuss first hand exactly what behavior your difficult child is exhibiting to the other kid. Then, maybe you can pick up on a specific trigger to your difficult child. in the course of the conversation with the dad, you could tell him your difficult child's issues/medications- however much you want to reveal. then, you don't have to worry about the school having free reign to reveal too much to too many people. it gives you a chance to smooth things over a little with the dad, might give you some insight on how to handle this with difficult child, and gives you a chance to "feel out the situation" with the dad.
     
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I wonder if the dad is frustrated by the school's inability to stop it or possible (what he feels to be) lack of concern. Bullying was a big problem in our school district for a long time. About 5 years ago a local 15 year old boy threw himself in front of a train. His suicide note was full of how he couldn't take the bullying anymore. Our school district is huge on anti-bullying teaching now. They receive federal grants for it and have gotten a lot of accolades over the strides they've made. They take it very seriously. Perhaps the dad is just trying to impress upon the school with his letter how serious this issue is.

    The school does have a responsibility to all it's students. The father may or may not be understanding if told of your son's diagnosis. More than likely, it will not matter much to him. He just wants the bullying to stop. If it were me (and I have been in his shoes, my daughter is ripe for the picking when it comes to bullies), I would have compassion for your child, but ultimately I would just want my child protected.

    I like JJJ's suggestion of your son writing a letter of apology. You never know. They may become friends after. My son has made friends out of former bulliers. In the spirit of goodwill, I would also send a letter myself to the parents of the other child expressing your apologies, as well. Knowing that you are taking this seriously and that it's being addressed would probably go a long way in the eyes of the parents. If you don't have the contact information you can ask the school to forward the letter to them.
     
  8. mattsmum

    mattsmum New Member

    My thought was to call the parent as well. I should qualify the term "bullying." Matthew misreads social cues. So, if someone bumps him in line, he thinks it was intentional and may hit the child. It is not premeditated...it is more reactive to his interpretation of a situation.

    I am hoping that by the parent writing a letter, it will put pressure on the school. I have suggested modifications that they have not implemented. Mainly not having Matthew line up from recess with everyone else....that is a proven trigger for him. He should head into the building a minute before everyone else. That was also suggested by the behaviorist that observed him (we had a mtg. today). If they had done that way back when when I suggested it, the incident never would have happened.

    Also, I think the other kid's parents were upset because per my son, their son was sent to the office because of something he did as well.

    Thanks for the advice...I appreciate it!!!!! :smile:

    Linda
     
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Would the school even give you the info so that you could contact the dad??

    Ours wouldn't as a matter of safety.

    It sounds to me like the dad is as frustrated as you as to how the school is handling this "bullying" issue. Did the principal give you a reason he was informing you of this letter?

    I got a call from T's teachers when he was in the 4th grade. She was telling me how he was "bullying" the other students in the class. (Now this was long before he had any dxes or I could even convince anyone there was a problem.) I regret to say that I went off on her. It was T who came home in tears, who was terrified to get onto the bus, had no friends, came home battered and bruised. I'd been complaining about the bullying forever and no one ever did anything.

    However, the conversation did turn productive even though I was hostile at first. T has never "got" personal boundries. Teacher had more in depth talks with the kids and it turned out his so called "bullying" was things like getting up into their face to speak to them, hovering over them, stepping on their heels, ect. All boundry issues, not bullying at all. :slap: (T has never been aggressive)

    Does the teacher have any input in this??

    Tough situation.

    Hugs
     
  10. mightymouse

    mightymouse Trying to save the day.

    I am with the others who said talk to the dad. If you do not have a school directory, contact the PD where he works and just leave a message for him to call you at his convenience. However, I would not go so far as to discuss you son's diagnosis's or medications. I would just let him know that he has behavior issues that are being addressed by professionals and that they and you are working with the school. Most importantly, I would let him know that you take the matter very seriously. Being a mother, I'm sure you can put yourself in his shoes and be very empathetic. Validate his feelings of frustration and let him know that you would feel the same way if it was your son being hit. Hopefully, that will difuse the situation.
     
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Communication is generally better than no communication.

    I would be asking DS for his version of events (without prompting). Where is the truth in this? Maybe the school is not intervening because this isn't true bullying, or maybe the school is trying to be gently with DS due to his problems. Or, as in too many cases, maybe it's the other kid who is the bully, and who is trying to use officialdom to continue the harrassment.

    There were times when difficult child 3 was accused of bullying, or attacking another child. When I sorted it out, it turned out to be a case where difficult child 3 perceived that the other child had been hassling him (sticking pins and other sharp objects into him when nobody was looking). The other kid denied it but was seen by other adults doing this. The school was told but refused to do anything because THEY hadn't been the ones to witness it. difficult child 3 was sent to the classroom in company with this kid (no other supervision) which is when difficult child 3 hit him. The other mother was advised by a teacher to lay charges against difficult child 3 - she told me she chose not to, because she knew that difficult child 3 has problems). But the truth never came out properly, at the time, due to failure of people to communicate.

    What helped us - setting up Sixth Sense program. This is only appropriate if the child is autistic. But there are other ways to communicate.

    I would be putting nothing in writing, but I WOULD be maybe asking the school to set up a meeting at the school with the parents. Doing it at the school makes it clear this is a school responsibility, it also makes it possible to have the meeting refereed and monitored for safety. That way there should be no later accusations of threats or inappropriate behaviour (some parents can be so inappropriate!). In short, it should keep everybody safe.

    What is said in conversation is a lot harder to prove in court, and court action should not be on people's minds at this stage. By meeting the other family, you show that you want to resolve any problem (ie you are responsible); that you are open to communication; it also gives you a chance to work out for yourself what the other parents are like. If the dad is a big, blustering cop who throws his weight around, you can fairly quickly get an idea of which way the truth is skewed.

    The family nearby whose son attacked difficult child 3 in the street (unprovoked attack) used the joint excuses that:
    1) their son has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) & and can misinterpret a touch as an attack, and will often lash out inappropriately but only after someone else touched him first; and
    2) he's getting really good at defending himself because dad is a small man who had to fight bullies off and learned to hit first, so sonny is being taught to defend himself the same way.

    At about this point in the conversation, sonny said, "And after difficult child 3 hit me and I belted him back, I rode around the corner on my bike and got hit by neighbour 2, but I left him with a bleeding nose."
    At which point dad said, "Good for you, son!"
    Meanwhile I was pondering why this boy on his bike had been the recipient of two unprovoked attacks, while HE was on his bike and able to ride away, yet the others were on foot and neither had witnessed the other's attack.
    difficult child 3's behaviour pattern at that time had been to sit on the side of the road, wait for no traffic and then throw his paper aeroplane to see how far across the road it would fly. To run out and attack someone would have involved major task change - not likely. (I also later independently heard that neighbour had been attacked unprovoked.)

    Sonny's dad then told us they they had changed schools for sonny, because he had been bullied at the local school. From the reports we've since heard, from other kids and other parents, this was the flip-side of the truth.

    So whatever you do - beware the flip-side. If the cop insists your son is the aggressor then you may need to swallow it and accept that different point of view must prevail in each parent, but to go on from here - the school needs to implement your requests in the IEP AND keep these two boys apart.

    Good luck.

    Marg
     
  12. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Does your difficult child have an IEP? If not, that will be the best way to obtain the accommodations and services your son needs to succeed in a school environment. For more information on how to work with the school on an IEP, you should post on the Special Education 101 board, where Martie and Sheila will provide expert advice.

    In this case, I'm not convinced about handling this yourself with the other boy's dad. It's risky given that you have no idea how he'll react. Like Marg, I would recommend letting the school handle the issue. You should hand-deliver a letter to the school TODAY saying you're as concerned as the other boy's dad about bullying and you want a meeting to clarify the situation and work on solutions to help the problem.

    Good luck.
     
  13. lordhelpme

    lordhelpme New Member

    i would give permission to the school to give general info that your son has a mood disorder, misreads social cues and parents are willing to talk to this dad if he wants.

    i would also raise a stink about why the school is not doing anything to intercede in this bullying. i would call for an immediate(by end of wk) behavior plan mtg to address how to handle this for all parties sake.
     
  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda,

    Couple things. First off, I don't remember if you son has an IEP or not. I would suggest, if he doesn't, that you start that ball rolling, especially given that he has behaviors that are questionable. If you start working on it now, it will be in place for next year (and will also show record that both you and the school are working on the behavior isues). If so, address some modifications and accomodations in his school day during these tough transition times to make sure they are followed by all school staff.

    Secondly, I would not attempt to contact this father personally unless you know the family pretty well. Otherwise, I would do one of two things. One, I would give the principal permission to tell the other parent that both the school and the boy's parent (you) are aware of these behaviors and are actively working on finding solutions. The young man is seeing a doctor and we are working with his family to resolve these issues. Which, in my opinion, is what the principal should have done in the first place before even telling you.

    Or two (or both one and two), I would write a letter to the other parent, reiterating the above along with an apology for your son's impulsive behavior.

    I am curious as to what the principal advised you to do or whether he/she wanted you to take this on yourself?

    Sharon
     
  15. branbran

    branbran New Member

    I also have a difficult child who absolutely has no ability to read social skils and have had similar issues in the past. My first reaction is to always explain what my daughters problems are. Expecting the other party to sympathize with her. Unfortunately its hit or miss. Sometimes people will understand and be empathetic and othertimes they wont. I find with parents who know what raising a difficult child is like, they understand, however, in my experience, the parents of the "perfect children" didn't get it. Didn't care to get it. Being as though the father is a cop - you might get some sympathy, they have plenty of experience dealing with juvenilles with mental illness. Like I said - hit or miss.

    Knowing myself, I would take the chance, however I would rather be the one to explain it myself, rather than let the school do it.

    Hope everything works out.
     
Loading...