The letter was delivered.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I took it straight to the superintendent. Figured I'm just done screwing around with anyone else. Got to her office, she asked me to come in, and what she could do. Said she had intended to call me today, anyway, so was glad I was there.

    Gave her the letter and just said, I Didn't send Wee today because of the threat that was made Friday to handcuff and detain him. She said in no way would she ever allow that to happen, barring a very serious incident that involved weapons, and I said "well, I was told that was the next step".

    She called in the SRO and the principal of the alternative school in our district (for older kids....not Wee). She called the other principal in because he is a certified trainer in crisis prevention.

    After much ado, they offered to put it in writing that, if another situation arises, they will make a reference to the juvenile authorities as they are required by law to do (which is true), but they will do it as "reference only - no action required", so he will not be cuffed and stuffed (barring a major offense that involves weapons).

    Super also confirmed that Wee's principal is very much of the mindset that I'm the problem with Wee and that Wee can control himself, and that's a bit troubling, but I suspected that, anyway. Apparently just her presence Friday brought Wee around so she has questioned how much he can control himself. Its not unheard of, but it seems to me she's thinking "stop that right now" will work going forward. Good luck with that. Hope she's right.

    The issue of me "not working with the school" also came up, and I reiterated that while these people are new to our situation, we are not, and I will not sit back and allow the past to repeat itself - the suspension that principal was just so certain Wee "gets" now and was really going to be different and work this time, and blatant disregard for the IEP. I said I am not trying to be adversarial, but you have to understand, I Have dug in my heels this time because I can not continue to allow the same mistakes to be made repeatedly. The situation is manageable, you have to find people to manage it.

    And in her conversation with the paras, she said they really think they were handling it the right way, so she said they obviously still need additional training. Which is why they want to try the teacher. He's had training, is a certified teacher, works with kids in the public setting thru the summer, and has a very even personality. She referred to the paras as "$10 an hour employees - they are great, but they're still $10 an hour employees..."

    She also agreed that the FBA I requested needs to be on-going, not a one shot deal, so that may happen, too.

    So, I'm still on the fence...but maybe? I don't know.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    She talks a good line. As far as not "allowing" Wee to be handcuffed, she isn't on site and the principal will do what she wants and deal with the Superintendant afterwards. Sure sounds like a hollow promise. And if Wee happens to get his hands on a pencil or block or scissors and throws them, well, that will be called a "weapon" and Wee will get the wrong end of the deal again. (I want to see that principal "cuffed and stuffed" because surely her attitude and stoopidity is criminal!)

    Until it is made VERY clear that under NO circumstances is Wee to be put into handcuffs unless X, Y, or Z weapons are used, I would be very hesitant. Other parents here have seen their elementary school kids in handcuffs because they picked up something in a rage and threw it. Kids that had NO WAY to really understand what would happen - like Wee.

    What are they trying with the teacher?? I have missed something. Is he to be Wee's para all day? Or to work with the paras to train them while they work with Wee? If he is all that he is said to be, it might be a good thing.

    Have you checked out the alternative school in the other district? Please do not take the Superintendent's word that the school won't take him. Talk to them yourself. Go there (as if you needed something else to go do) and see what is going on and how it is handled. See if the Superintendant was telling the truth when she said they won't take Wee.

    I am sorry this is so difficult. At least the Super seems to be a decent person who is trying to figure out a way to educate Wee.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I know NOTHING about Shari's jurisdiction, but if it's like the one I'm living in, this won't lead to Wee getting a criminal record. Juvenile courts get involved in delinquency, custody, child abuse, correct- but they can also get involved in court ordering parents for certain treatments, approaches at school district, etc. This is what I'm worried about for Shari. Don't be shocked if it turns out the the super just gave you lip service (especially if an elected official) and the school district now comes up with more "incidences" to call and report to police.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Susie, the super recognized that the paras did not do their jobs in either situation. They have been trained, but as she said, its obviously not enough. This guy is the brainchild of the super and the principal of the alternative school in our district (for older kids only) and is a middle school teacher who has crisis intervention and de-escalation training. He also works with children in a public setting thru the summer months. They are thinking that perhaps he may be better qualified to "get" Wee's issues and diffuse them before they become physical. As she kept saying, "the para's are good, but they are still $10 an hour employees...." This would be a dedicated 1:1 for Wee who would be with him for the duration of the school day, from the time he enters the building til the time he leaves it. As far as this ideda goes, this is what I've been asking for from the word go...I think its Wee's best chance at success (if its the right person with the right knowledge and training to intervene when appropriate). But is it too little too late? I don't know.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If they are willing to pay him to be a 1:1 para for Wee and he is happy with that being his job, you and Wee are very lucky people.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'm not sure if this guy would be in this position forever, but sper said today if the added training and the fact that he's a certified teacher and dnot a "$10 an hour employee" make a difference, they would staff Wee with him or someone with the same qualifications.

    Now, again...lip service? Maybe....but she said it.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    And its kind of unfortunate that now that they are putting this service on the table, I'm really hesitant to even send him to school....
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Shari, I'm not against your efforts and certainly not against your intent. I'm just concerned that you are falling for lip service without getting things documented appropriately- showing legally acceptable procedures. Don't think for one second that this school district- super or not- doesn't know this. I'm suggesting that you pursue whatever you feel you need to, but still cover your rear by getting an IEP meeting so it can be documented in case of future legal proceedings. I won't say anymore about it- I've already made that as clear as I possibly can. Maybe you should speak to a Special Education attny- it's one thing for people in different jurisdictions to advise you on how things should be- it's another to fight your own school district.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    To cover yourself from the risk of "lip service only" from the super, then document the conversation you had, put it in a letter that begins, "Dear super, thank you for meeting with me today. I am glad we discussed the following issues...[list what you discussed including the accusation of you being difficult and the paras needing more training as well as the guy to work 1:1] and that your plan is to do the following...[list the plans]. I am grateful that you say that the threat of Wee being cuffed & stuffed won't happen, but I am still concerned that things could happen before you are in a position to prevent, especially since the concept of 'weapon' can be very loosely interpreted. I would like to clarify that a bit more tightly before I would feel comfortable putting Wee back into that environment. However, I am very glad t hat we were able to talk and collaborate on some positive strategies. I value the chance to work positively with educators in order to get the best learning outcomes for my children."

    By writing such a letter you are documenting what was said, and if he disagrees with what you may have written, he needs to put it in writing, or the record shows your side of the conversation only. And you can then use your letter as evidence of what the super said he would do.

    Generally when you write such a letter, it is valued by the recipient. If the person was only giving lip service, however, getting such a letter scares them into complying, 99% of the time, because you are clearly holding them accountable and formalising what they said. And from there, they can't go back.

    Basically, having been an effective activist this far, this one more letter nails it in place.

  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    K, I'm hearing you and I understand what you are saying. My hesitation with calling an IEP team meeting is that the IEP doesn't need to be addressed or changed in light of these incidents, it just needs to be followed. Obviously thus far, the IEP team hasn't been able to make that happen, so why continue to do what isn't working?
    I will be following up with a letter, for sure. And I still haven't gotten my written confirmation of the 'no cuff and stuff'. So it might be a moot point, anyway.
    But what's really eating my gut right now, even tho they claim they won't 'cuff and stuff', any acts of agression will still be reported to the juvenile authorities, as mandated by safe schools act. Which, don't get me wrong, I realize that's what should be happening. And the school can write "no action requested" on the reports, but juvie can still step in. And that's not even where my concern lies....what's eating my gut tonight is the fact that now that I am holding the school accountable for implementing the IEP, they are questioning Wee's ability to control himself and are telling me I'm too close to the situation and that I'm the problem...I have 2 MD's, a psychiatric doctor, the early intervention preschool, and his therapist who will argue that point hotly, but is that enough, if juvie does get involved, that they won't order a bunch of bs for Wee to fix "me" instead of focusing on what everyone agrees need to be done to help Wee? Which is basically what's in the IEP...redirect and head it off at the pass, long before it gets to the point of physical aggression...If Wee's staff are doing what they should, and super understands this, too, because she made a point of it, it wouldn't be getting to this level in the first place.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    The other thing with the reporting to juvenile matter where we go from here, that's going to be a fact of life if he is in public school. He's getting old enough that I think most districts would make the report (which they are supposed to do)... And you can bet if I file any sort of complaint with the department of education or anywhere else that they'd be doing it. So that's something I need to come to terms with in my own head. BUT the issue still remains, if Wee is handled in an appropriate manner, things don't escalate to that level...
    The school resource officer today even said that he wouldn't consider Wee even remotely close to an extreme or unmanageable case, and he would flourish if he were in the right setting.
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Isn't he still 7??? The police in our area would stare at the principal as if he'd lost his mind if he called them because a 7-year old Special Education kid was out of control.
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    He's 8. But I'd hope the police would have the same reaction.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, I have no idea as to whether what I propose would work with your authorities or not, but - what if YOU pre-empt, and notify the DSS and ask for their help? Because the school has a legal responsibility to meet Wee's needs while he is in their care ("in loco parentis"). You have done absolutely everything possible to inform the school, to support the school, to give them copies of Wee's assessments and to set up the IEP in order to ASSIST the school to meet Wee's needs, and they have failed to do so. The school is supposed to have the professional expertise and capability to do this, and they have not. So are you within your rights to dob them in?

    It would also add to the paper trail in your favour.

    Again, check this out before you actually do anything like this, but if your authorities are likely to be involved, would it "head them off at the pass" for you to notify first, and ask them what you should be doing to get your child's needs met?

  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Shari, after readaing two of your latter posts (#10 and #11, I think), these are the things I am worried about, too. I'm just drawing different conclusions I guess. I'm looking at it like they are trying to tell you that if he's in a mainstream school, he will have police called and I agree it could lead to pressure on you from juv courts or extended agencies. "A different setting", as the SRO referred to, would mean a different school, wouldn't it? In alternative schools for children with ED or other disabilities, police would shun a call over something like this in elementary years. Those teachers are trained at the level needed.

    I don't know- I'm just thinking out loud based on my interpretation of it all but I'm not in the thick of it and haven't met any of the people involved in person and that can make a difference, too. If you are looking at it like either this IEP is to be followed, or you're going to file DP, then I guess this is the way to go. I think they are already CYA'ing in preparation for DP. I'm looking at it like trying to avoid DP and get Wee in a school where he can get educated and get this koi behind him and the koi out of your life.
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Marg, I beat them to the punch with the local police and the SRO. I feel tho that things are close enough to out of hand that I need to consult an attorney. The advocates can provide an attorney, but with the one advocate's tendency to like the fight, and her attitude toward the district's attorney, I want an outside opinion before I make another move. You have described exactly how I feel. We have a document that, while still not perfect, does outline some techniques that are still being blatantly ignored. (I don't really care, at this point, IF they thought they were doing it right. The one para has been his para for a year. As they say, its time to poop or get off the pot. I understand learning curve, but this is ridiculous.) I am also considering talking with someone "in general" at the department of education about where to go from here.

    K, I agree. I have been on the phone this morning and juvie in this county isn't a horrible thing to have happen. It could possible be an avenue to get Wee into the alternative school in the next district, if, indeed, our district has attempted to get him there and they have refused. What the SRO referred to was a different school, but also remember that Wee encounter zero issues while he was solely in the resource room...they've made a decision to put him in mainstream like this, I intend to hold their feet to the fire to get the people on board to make it work. Or they can put him back in the sped room. OR they can find another placement. I don't really care which. SOmething just needs to happen that WORKS. 'Cause what's going on right now isn't. Period.

    The bad thing is, if that alternative school won't take him, the only other options are surrounding public schools, and what will we have gained by that, or distant boarding schools. We are a very rural area. There is not a lot to choose from.

    So yes, I guess I'm looking at it from the perspective of if this isn't followed, then DP is really my only matter of recourse. ANd I do NOT want to go to DP because then no one becomes one giant game of CYA, and Wee's needs take a seat even further back on the bus...

    But we're close to filing something. I am pretty much backed in a corner at the moment.
  17. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I summarized our conversation and sent it to the super. She has replied with a few "discrepencies", but laregly, they are legalese. Actually, I think she ended up giving me more to work with if I have to go down the ugly DP path. She said the aid and the use of restraint are IEP team decisions. Restraint is not in his IEP. And the change in aid was not dicussed with me prior to MOnday morning, when the guy was at school waiting.

    She also said "restraint is used by trained personnel as a last resort when Wee is a harm to himself or others".

    So when Wee was jumping for the cards that the para wouldn't let him have, the last possible course of action was to restrain him?

    And when Wee was flapping his arms in the empty hallway requesting to go to the sped room after the incident in the music room, the last possible course of action was to restrain him?
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, by making that statement that "restraint is a last resort when Wee is a danger to himself and others" I think the supervisor is saying, in this case restraint was definitely not warranted.

    It increasingly seems to me that the paras were knowingly escalating this. Not to deliberately provoke him, but think about it - how man of us feel angry and want to make a point with a difficult kid, of "you won't push me around"? The kid tries this, we block it. So the kid tries that, we block that too.
    The trouble is, if you do that to a difficult child who is either still vey young, or socially immature, or just doesn't get it, you escalate, and all that happens is major fallout. Nothing learned on either side.

    From my observation, some schools have staff who work this way. They shouldn't, not in this day and age, but there are still many pockets of recalcitrance in eduction systems around the world. The training they have had (if any) is probably outdated and limited to ow to keep themselves safe form a kid on a rampage, rather than how to prevent the rampage in the first place.

    Removing those cards was a mistake. With hindsight it was shown to be a mistake. Those who had remained in the room with Wee should have spoken up at that point and corrected this. The problem then became one of the para not wanting to lose face. The trouble is, our difficult children learn how to behave by modelling the behaviour shown to them. ANd how else can a child learn to say, "I got it wrong, I'm sorry," if the adults they look up to don't model this?

    It can be the most difficult thing in the world to admit to a child, especially one who is on the cusp of bad behaviour, that you have made a mistake. So often, too, I have seen someone make such a mistake, trigger a rage, and the adult then says, "Well, I realise I made a mistake but given the way you're behaving now, there is no way I will reward that bad behaviour."

    THAT IS WRONG THINKING! There is ALWAYS room to say, "I got it wrong." If the child is now raging, then you say, "I got it wrong, I am sorry, but you need to get yourself back under control so I can fix this." The child does NOT necessarily get rewarded by the bad behaviour; you still have plenty of scope to say, "Your behaviour, while understandable, is not acceptable. I am letting you have what you want because I made a mistake, not because of your behaviour." And you keep maknig tht clear, after the child has calmed down.

    Calm the child first, then try to teach. You can rarely successfully "teach a lesson" to a raging child.

    They're flamin' idiots, Shari. But what you are describing by Due Process - sounds like what I was trying to describe. And the advocate who is champing at the bit for a battle - IF that advocate will follow through and not drop the ball halfway (as some battle-hungry individuals can do) then hand the ball to her. I think it's time to put the boot in. Yes, the IEP should be followed. But they still have too much wiggle room in there, for them to do things the way they want and then justify it afterwards. I think the only way to remove the wiggle room fast, is to threaten DP and then follow through. What is needed right now, is follow-through.

    As you said, they've had enough time to get this right, they've had enough time to get the training and experience, you've had enough input with them (including you showing up free of charge to demonstrate how it works) and they still are making excuses and blaming you and Wee.

    Sorry to hassle you, but my vote is - throw them to the lions. These people are metaphorically standing on the edge of the lion pit, dancing about, saying, "I'm not doing anything inappropriate!" andgenerally in everything they say or do they are demonstrating that they not only can't do the right thing, but will continue to make excuses when they get it wrong. Repeatedly. And every day this continues, Wee gets another day older and another day of his educational opportunities is wasted.

    Shari, the lions need feeding.

  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry.
    This is way out of my league, but I just wanted to lend support.
  20. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Yeah, Marg, I think anyone with an iq above 60 can think of no less that 14 other things that could have been done in both of those situations besides restraining Wee.

    And this is what just plains baffles me. Their attorney is top-notch. His partner is one of the best in the state. They don't lose many cases. But the school district is putting this stuff in black and white for all the world to read and admire...WTH? County case mgr says the attorney is busting his **** to cover these peoples' butts, and I just plain can't help but think she's right. Surely he is not advising them to do this stuff!?!?!! Or I am missing something MAJOR somewhere.

    Ex-mother in law knows some local attorneys and is going to call on them tomorrow to find a sped attorney tomorrow. The advocates can and will provide one, but I want to speak to someone first that doesn't have the temptation of slamming the school attorney into the ground as a driving motive... Figure out what's appropriate, etc, and then decide if I'll go with the free attorney, or pay this one. The in-law's have committed to helping me find someone, since that in itself is going to be a big challenge.