Should I contact an Attorney?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AmyH, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    I am not sure if I should put this in Edu section or not. As posted previously I have had a tremendous amount of trouble with school district. Today took the cake. I emailed teacher about difficult child losing pencils, homework, anxiety, obsessiveness and childlike behavior. Well difficult child was asking her a question about the email and she read it to him. In the email I had expressed that I was frustrated and told her about his acting like a super hero and how childish that was.

    I am the only real person that difficult child trusts anyway and now she has crushed that. During music this am difficult child went to the office and called me crying telling me how sorry he was that I am frustrated with him and how he will try to be better. This breaks my heart. It was not an email ment to be shared and she has never shared any emails before. I am really hot!

    This teacher has also called difficult child "weird" in front of the class and had a group mediation where it was told that difficult child was ADHD and took medication. His other teacher called him a "baby" in class. Both teachers have admitted doing this.

    School just claims they have done everything they can with their resources.

    Question: Where do we draw the line and get legal counsel involved? We go to psychiatrist today and I am going to see if she will recommend doing the last 3 1/2 weeks of school at home.

    Help! I am so frustrated and want to somehow end this dreadful experience for difficult child.:nono:
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    While frustrating, I don't think this violates any law. You should confirm with the teacher and others that e-mail communications between you are not to be share with your daughter.
  3. AmyH

    I agree with witzend, that while it is a total "trust-breaker" for difficult child's teacher to share your confidential e-mail with him, it is not illegal. I know I have learned the hard way to never put anything in writing (including e-mail) that I would not feel comfortable having on a billboard by the highway. Seriously, e-mails are just too easy to forward with just a push of the button.

    My concern is that the teacher's "sharing" indicates a breakdown of trust between the teacher and yourself- if it ever existed. It sounds like difficult child's teachers need some sensitivity training and some in-service education about students with disabilities. I have been known to offer that to our difficult child's teachers - and they took me up on it. It's probably too late for this year, but I would start out next year with a proactive approach.

    I'm so sorry you had to experience this, and I think that difficult child will understand with time.
  4. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I am so sorry. I too have problems with the school. I wish adults would act like adults and understand peoples feelings.

    Hugs to you and difficult child...I would try and do something special with difficult child after school and "talk it out"
  5. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    I guess my main concern is the name calling (weird, baby), and exposing his personal diagnosis in a group along with the fact that he takes medications. Now if he has an off day the kids ask him "have you taken your medication" The email was just the topper to a very frustrating year.
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    That is what I would contact an attorney over. I believe there are privacy laws prohibiting them from announcing difficult child's medical condition. And the other stuff is just bullying.

    It couldn't hurt to at least get a consultation. Make sure it's an Educational Law attorney.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    While I don't know if an attorney would help, I agree that in disclosing medical info the teacher has violated many privacy laws. Our teachers can barely verify a student's NAME to a parent, I know they cannot disclose things like this with-o some sort of approval. I do know that our current 2nd grade teacher had 3 children with Asperger's last year, but I don't know who they were, or even what gender each was.

    I was called wierd and a baby by the nuns and lay teachers at the private elementary I attended. It was a horrible experience, and I hope that in future years a therapist can help your child with this.

    I am so sorry this year has been such a negative, painful experience. In our district any teacher who did this would be swiftly fired, but we have a university with a college of education here, and our teachers are barely paid - simply because they can be so easily replaced by graduates of the university.
  8. looking4hope

    looking4hope New Member

    As a teacher, calling a child "weird" or a "baby" in front of the class is totally unprofessional. Now I have to admit that I have told kids that they've given me a weird answer to a question, or that their behavior is immature or "babyish", but I've never called them that out right. I would call the principal first and ask that an official reprimand be given to these teachers, and follow it up with a written letter outlining your concerns. If that doesn't work, then go to the Assistant Superintendent, your School Board representative, and the Superintendent. Also ask that these teachers attend training on Special Education and privacy issues as a way to prevent future incidents. Susiestar is right -- this information is NOT to be shared with students or other parents.

    Finally, there does seem to be a lack of trust between you, your son and this teacher. Part of it is that it's the end of the year, and obviously your difficult child has worn this teacher down. I understand that -- I have the same issue with some of my students. But she needs to be reminded of her obligation to provide the best education possible for your child as well as the rest of the students. How did her actions fulfill this duty? Include this fact in your request for a reprimand.

    I am sorry and embarassed that his happened to your difficult child. As a teacher, I cannot imagine doing this. As a parent, I cannot imagine the heartbreak it's caused you and your difficult child. I'm sending you hugs, and hope that all parties involved in this situation find some resolution.
  9. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    I could be wrong, but doesn't the teacher talking about your son's medical information violate the HIPPA (sp?) laws? I'll see what I can find, but I think that it does.
  10. LoneStar14

    LoneStar14 New Member

    Okay, its HIPAA. From a quick glance, it looks like the school may be bound by it. You might want to do some research on it and if it looks like they violated the HIPPA laws--contacting a lawyer that specializes in HIPAA would be the way to go. Its up to you. The school should be protecting your child's health information, not broadcasting it.
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    While it may violate HIPAA, an attorney is only going to make sure that they enforce HIPAA, not get retribution of any kind. Your school district should understand HIPAA rules and can accomplish the same thing without dragging the expense of an attorney into it.

    As far as the name calling goes, the same thing pretty much applies. The school district should have a clue about this and should reprimand her and any others involved in no uncertain terms. But to win any sort of compensation beyond a change of attitude and an apology, you would have to prove that not only were the statements untrue, but that she suffered financial harm. Since she already had mental health issues, it's legally difficult to prove that she suffered any harm from it.

    The place to start is with the school district. Document everything, copy everything, and send everything by certified mail. If that doesn't work, then you get an attorney.
  12. AmyH

    AmyH New Member

    I am not looking for any kind of monatery compensation. We just want the school district to understand that he did not ask or wish to have these porblems just the same as a diabetic does not with to take insulin everyday. We say the psychiatrist yesterday and with his anxiety level so high she recommended that he not endure this one more day let alone 4 more weeks until school is out.

    We have kept him home today and I am going to call the principal yet again and tell her of yesterday's incident and then my husband is taking a letter by to the superintendants office this morning out lining everything that has happened with all the email proof that we have. We are also sending a certified copy to the school board today.

    This is the first year we have had any problems with teachers and it has really caused major issues with difficult child. He complains of aches and pains all the time, has developed heartburn, cries often about school and goes to the nurse sometimes 4 times a day to come home. Up until this year all the teachers have been wonderful and more than willing to help him. This year I truly feel that he got two teachers on major burnout.

    Just hoping next year will be better!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When the teacher read the email to difficult child, was this in front of the class or in private? Because if it was in front of the class, that would definitely be a breach in confidentiality.

    Definitely talk to the principal. This isn't a matter of "We haven't the resources" because you don't NEED resources to behave decently towards another human being. And if you have a teacher who is clearly behaving inappropriately, then not all the resources in the world can prevent (or undo) the damage they can do.

    I would be (cautiously) talking to an attorney. See if you can find someone with children's welfare or disability rights group connections, who could at least give you advice on this.