Today's incident. What would you have done?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I'm going to post what I saw without any background info.

    I haven't gotten the official "report".

    I got to school for specials. Wee difficult child was shut in his safe room. Both paras were standing outside, tallying on a paper how many times he cursed/spit/kicked etc.

    I went to the SpEd Room to deliver some papers. Shortly after, so-so para brought wee difficult child in to finish his work. He walked in sobbing quietly. When he saw me, he asked to come apologize to me.

    So-so para was only one with him. She cut him off and said "no, you're not going to see mom" before he was able to get his whole request out.

    Good para came in and sat across the room.

    difficult child went to his desk. He sat down and started hs work and approximately 30 seconds later, started crying. Para told him he needed to stop screaming and do his work.

    difficult child said he needed to apologize to mommy.

    Para said if he needed to apologize to anyone, it was her.

    difficult child said "no, when I am bad, mommy gets calls and too many things in her head at work and I need to tell her I'm sorry."

    Para cut him off at "calls" and told him he needed to stop screaming and work or he would go back to the safe room.

    difficult child tried to stop crying. His back was too me, but I could see him attempting deep breaths, the para was onto his work, not assisting with the breathing. He would calm a few seconds, then cry again. Each time he cried, para told him to stop screaming or he'd have to leave.

    Finally she took him by the arm and lead him by the arm to the safe room and closed him in.

    Once in there, he started truly screaming, hitting the wall, and cursing.

    How would you guys have handled this if you were the para? Or for that matter, the parent watching?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would have walked over and given my child a hug. I would have helped him calm down. I then would have asked so-so para to accompany me to the office where I filed a complaint on how she handled my child. Your school ticks me off!
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    They are using the safe room as punishment. No wonder he screams, hits and spits in there. He feels like he has no control and he doesn't. This is abusive behavior if you ask me. They are not helping him to calm down; they are exacerbating the situation.

    I wouldn't have been as nice as JJJ. That woman has no right to work with kids.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I'm with JJJ and Flutterby. That's just not right.

    Recently, 2 of the staff at difficult child's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) were fired for very much this sort of thing. And they deal only with the over-18 crowd.

    Shari, the school, however much they're trying, are not doing right by your child.

  5. SkunkMomma

    SkunkMomma New Member

    I agree with JJJ I would have let him apologize to me and hugged him, then walked away.
    I understand you were trying to let them handle it since they do this when you are not there. But the safe room should only be for when he is out of control and could hurt himself or others, not for when he is crying. I would ask that they keep a log of when they put him in and for what offense. Another thing, the para should not be making the decision to put him in the room if the teacher has not been called. Para is overstepping her bounds. There should be a limit to how much they use this room. I teach and we do not use a "room" but it would never be the para's decision. Give weegfg a hug and tell him he was doing the right thing by asking to apologize. It has to be devastating to him to see you in the room and then she hauls him back out to the room. Lisa
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    JJJ has it exactly right on. Is the para there to assist difficult child or to provoke him? She did a simply superb job of provoking him, in my humble opinion. What would have been the harm for him to apologize to you? Absolutely none. This is a 7-year-old for heaven's sake.

    Where exactly were the positive behavior intervention strategies here? Threats? Um, nope. Doesn't fly.

    They need to quit keeping tallies. It serves absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever. It's not therapeutic, not educational (for anyone). It's .... I can't even think of the word for it. Something along the lines of forest for the trees, you know?

    How's the search for alternate placement coming along?
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    It never ends. i'm so sorry.

    If I was the para I would of let him finish his words when he spoke, I would of gotten down to his level instead of towering over him and being threatening (she is such a trigger for him i bet), than I would of said that's very considerate you want to apologize to Mom and i think it's great you care about how mom feels when she is at work. It's also great you were able to say that, yet my feelings are hurt because of this this and that. I'd love to have an apology also. Than if he was calm id revisit whatever it is that happened and say to him how do you think you could of handled that differently? depending on how responsive he was to me at the time.

    I would not have put him in the safe room or demanded he do his work, or get into a power play with a child who is struggling.

    she's a piece of work.

    I'm not going to say as a parent what i would of done, it's hard to know in situations how one would react when it comes to our own children unless you are there in the heat of the moment (yet chuck her out the window comes to mind :)

    No wonder he is acting how he is in there. I would too. I know you have struggled so hard and so long with-this school and this para inparticular. What can you do now??

    I'm sending you hugs. How are you feeling about it? are you upset? how is difficult child doing now??
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The fact that this woman is still breathing and is in one piece is a testament to your saneness. I would have been in jail.

    These people are lunatics.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    in my opinion this safe room is NOT SAFE. It is being used to punish wee difficult child. I fail to see ANY reason in standing outside the room tallying how many things a scared and angry child says, or hits the walls, etc....

    Isn't the PURPOSE of a safe room one that he can let off steam and get himself back under control in PEACE and relative PRIVACY?

    How would YOU feel if you got locked into a closet several times a day? I guaran-dang-tee that social services would call any parent who did this an ABUSER.

    This is CHILD ABUSE. Pure and simple. Not only do these people need to learn how to handle children, they also need some time in a small cell to get THEMSELVES back under control. I am referring to jail time here.

    Go to school tomorrow and tell them that they are abusing your child AND the entire concept of "safe room", that you are removing your permission for them to put your child in this room and that they will face charges of abuse if they do it again. Then I would call an investigative news reporter because these people have gone so far round the bend it is unconscionable!!

    I am SO SORRY! These people are so CRUEL!! If a DOG was treated this way people would be all up in arms about it.

    I am up in arms about it because it is my precious nephew wee difficult child.

    Dear Wee Ggf:

    I am a friend of your mommy's online. I know you are a really good kid who is doing his best with what he has. I am so very sorry the adults in your school are so mean. I know, and so does Mommy, that you are trying to do your best while these people seem to be trying to upset you.

    I am sending you the knowledge that you are 100% GOOD KID. You are always surrounded by the love of your family and by the love of your on-line aunties here at this web board. We are going to try to make the school see how wonderful and special you are, and how they can help you to be your best, rather than push you out of control.

    Always remember,

    And never forget,

    Auntie Susie always loves you!
  10. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

    I have to agree with the others. I would have gone over to my kiddo and let him hug and say he was sorry. The report the para...sheesh I would have been steaming mad!
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm not as calm and collected.
    Probably right in front of my child, I would have lost it. I would have gotten my son, hugged him, apologized for the para's treating him that way and promising him it wouldn't happen again and I'd march both of us to the office and tell the principal that I'm reporting him and the entire school to the State Dept. of Public Education. And then I'd do it.
    They must have no respect for you to act that way in front of you. Are you meek and afraid of them? Even if you are, I would work on acting like you aren't.
    My kid would be gone yesterday and I'd be screaming about it and I'd get the help for my kid that he deserved with people who deserved the honor of working with him.
    Well, you asked ;) and that's how I am. And my kids get what I want them to have. And nobody would dare put a kid of mine in a "safe room." LOL, I probably would have locked HER in it. Ok, THAT far I wouldn't have gone, but I would have wanted to.
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    If it were me....I would have stepped over to my child...taken him by the hand...and walked him




    At this point, ANYTHING would be better than that school. I couldn't let him attend for even one more minute.

  13. I think that you calling her "so-so" para is really scary. Is there one that's "bad" para? I work in a program that uses a safe room. If a child walks in to de-escalate, bravo...job well done, door is left open or closed upon their request. Otherwise the room is solely used for unsafe behavior, never punitively.

    To ask any 7 year old to walk into a room and not engage Mommy is asking too much! Then to be punished for the loss of composure it absolutely crazy.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've been trying to find positive things that you cna say about so-so para, but sorry, not here.

    Here's a list of where she went wrong:

    1) She was outside the safe room with the other para and they were both tallying - with both of them there putting in so much effort AFTER the event, why don't they learn to intervene sooner, to PREVENT? This is NOT supposed to be about "how bad was he today?" it is supposed to be about helping him stay in control of himself and get his work done to the best of his ability. This is NOT helping, it's only making it worse.

    2) She brought him back to the room while he was still sobbing.

    3) She did not let him deal with whatever he was obsessing about. We have learned that it's often far easier (and quicker) to let difficult child 3 take a minute or two to do what he feels he has to do, than to spend hours arguing about it and in the meantime achieve nothing. The focus has to be on "how do we get the most out of difficult child?" and NOT on "how do we best control difficult child to do exactly what we want all the time?" I'm trying to be nice again - maybe she just doesn't know that you DON'T try to control these kids, you try to lead them and support them. She needs to learn this, fast.

    4) She kept hammering at him when he was still trying to regain control. You cannot get productivity out of a kid who is still sobbing. You cannot get productivity out of a kid whose mind is elsewhere because of perceived obligations/needs which are not being met.

    5) She interrupted him, repeatedly. To some kids, difficult child 3 included, this is showing lack of respect (so how do we teach HIM respect, if we don't model it for him?) as well as extremely frustrating because he is trying to express himself but not being permitted to. How would an adult have reacted to the way she handled him? If she were the boss in the workplace, for example, and difficult child an employee, how would a typical employee have responded? Because we have found that is the best way to manage difficult child 3 - it is also teaching him, preparing him, for the skills he is most likely going to need. Once an adult, our kids will never have to know how to manage as a child under the supervision of an adult. It's hard enough to learn social skills, than to have to keep learning different rules as you get older. Especially if you have poor understanding of the different rules and of social skills in general. difficult child 3 can't discriminate between people of different ages, he treats everybody as they treat him and he also treats everybody else as if they have the same capabilities as him. Even the same thoughts. I strongly suspect your difficult child is very similar - a lot of what you describe sounds exactly like difficult child 3 at that age in a similar situation. Except your difficult child seems much more tolerant.

    6) She seemed to be setting him up for failure, by the way she gave the warnings. She seemed to be saying, "This is gonig to happen." It was predictive. You shouldavoid expressing things as "don't do this." She should have been saying, "Let's do it this way," instead of "stop this."

    7) She is using sarcasm. "If you should apologise to anyone, you shouldapologise to me." He was not in apologise mode, not to her. Perhaps if she had let him apologist to you, then he might have automatically apologised to her, especially if she was kind about it and not nasty (as this sounded). Sarcasm is very confusing for kids with social skills problems. It sends mixed messages and actually takes a fairly sopjisticated level of understanding which a lot of difficult children don't have. A trained para should get this in the first lesson.

    8) As others have said, she threatened and then actually used the safe room as punishment. THis is clear evidence ofwhat we have said in previous threads - the use of "safe room" has now been too badly compromised, he now perceives it as punishment even though it should never have been used as such. They need to change their attitudes to him and when/how to remove him from the class, as well as where to take him. He needs an alternative work area (he could have stayed there with the level of noise he was making). As I said before, even aside form the aspect of them punishing him with the safe room - by removing him from the classroom to the safe room when he cries, they are also removing him from the work. So he's building up a very nasty conditioned response - he cries, he gets out of doing the work he is finding difficult. He gets out of it for even longer if he can keep crying and allow himself to escalate.

    They SHOULD be helping him learn self-control, but this method is actively undermining ANY attempts at self-control and instead actively training him to cry and rage, because it is becoming the only means of expression of his frustration that they will pay attention to.

    It's ironic that they count the number of times he throws his shoes and says he wants to stab them, but they won't let him finish a sentence when he says, "I need to apologise to mummy."

    So of course he is giving them what he thinks they want!

    Shari, we are now VERY close to the answers here. We have triangulated it right down to this - now all we have to do, is somehow train the school to handle him more appropriately. And for tihs, you need an outside expert to come in and do the training, and to also monitor the performance of the paras and the school, while they get into the right habits.

    I can understand why you didn't intervene - it would have badly undermined para and even though you (and I at the moment) feel she was doing it wrong, to undermine her would have made her future tasks impossible. However, as soon as the opportunity arises for you to pass on our concerns formally, you need to make her stop this. Perhaps let her know that you chose to not intervene because you didn't want to publicly undermine her, but to NOT ever put you in that position again, because in future, you WILL choose your child and his welfare.

    You need to establish a signal of some sort, to let them know that they are about to get undermined if they don't back off fast and let you take control and show them how to handle him better.

    An alternative - take a leaf from various doctor shows on TV, when a senior health professional sees someone else doing/saying the wrong thing to a patient, they say, "Dr G, can I see you outside for a moment? NOW, if you would." And insist. THAT should be the signal. because failure to take the cue and get her rear end out the door to talk to you is likely to result in you blasting her where she stands. be prepared for her to attack as she gets out the door with a "How DARE you speak to me like that in front of the child?"
    The appropriate response to that is, "It is still preferable to him hearing what I'm about to say to you now - you are doing it wrong, you need to let him finish what he's saying, let him get the various issues out of the way so he can then better concentrate on the task, you need to give him space to calm himself and a little help there wouldn't go astray. The safe room should NEVER be a punishment. We MUST address this at an IEP meeting to be held ASAP, preferably today." [note - I just said all that without putting it in "don't" form - see, para? It CAN be done!]

    Where did this para get her training and qualifications? A cereal box? Or did she go to the Academy of Pretty Boy?

    When is the IEP meeting?

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    They use "safe rooms" in psychiatric hospitals for adults. I have been in a hospital three times and was put in the "Quiet Room" (as it was nicely called once) because I "complained" too much (I wasn't getting the right medications and the nurse wouldn't call the doctor, so she got the doctor on call to "punish me.") They didn't call it a punishment, but it was. I was an adult and I freaked out and started banging on the walls so they put me in restraints. I will never forget the fear.

    This isn't humane for an adult, let alone a child. Why is a SCHOOL even allowed a safe room????

    I would not have had respect for the para's authority. My sister is a para. She has no training for it at all. Most of them don't. The teachers make her do most of the work because they don't want to. They sit and talk and send the paras to "specials" with the kids. My sister really has no idea what to do with the kids as she has had exactly 0 hours of training. I'm one to overstep "authority" that isn't worthy of respect.

    Marg, you're way more polite then me.

    My kid would have been out of there long ago. And I would have been calling the newspapers and radio stations. That is outrageous. Your poor little boy.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    MWM, I also can feel the rage, even across the Pacific. I'm sure there is a lance-like beam of laser boiling a line across the Pacific OCean from me to Shari's son's school!

    However, I feel politeness is important, for the same reason we want the para to be polite to difficult child - how else do they learn?

    In this, the para is herself a difficult child who needs to have the right techniqus modelled for her.

    That is why I treat teachers, aides, paras etc with respect for as long as I can, but if I snap, it's the same as if I snap at a naughty child who has pushed me too far. Again, I will endeavour to not shout, but they will know I am angry and they will know that there are consequences.

    But it is vital to stay polite, to not shout, to not swear but to kick rear ends hard if necessary, with steel-capped boots. Only when necessary. Such as now.

    Because like any stern response, it is most powerful when you DON'T use it. So use it sparingly but effectively. Then go home and slam your fist into the wall, or smash some glass, or scream into your pillow.

  17. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Not sure how long you were there but it's time you start keeping your own little tally - based on your original post here's what I came up with:

    PRAISE 0

    So according to my tally the para scored a "-12"; did she do one positive thing today with your kid besides positively upset him? I would have opened the safe room door and when child tried to apologize to me I would have said "I'm sorry that the people who are suppose to be helping you are making it worse" then we would have gone to the office to have them find another para because this one is fired in my book. I would insist that so so para has nothing to do with my kid from that point on.

    By the way when Angel was in Kindergarten I gave the school written notice that the social worker was to have no further contact with my child and they had to honor it. You have just cause to want this one away from your kid! Try not to go mother Grizzly bear on them though because they usually try to use that against us mom's.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't feel like it was my place or interest to teach para how to behave. My kid would be out of there until they came up with another school district. And I'd call the right people (I've learned who they are) to get the squeaky wheel going. The para would be off my Christmas list and nobody associated with the school would be getting any presents this I wouldn't tolerate that sort of abuse politely and I would want my kid to see that I was on his side in this. Adults can act wrongly too and this entire school is a joke.
    You don't have to have a lot of training, education or experience to be a para. My sister, who I don't think highly of on any level, is a para (as I've said). She has a college degree in Fashion Merchandising, which I'm sure helps her a lot. She makes a whopping $7/hour. For that, she is in charge of three to five kids a day while the Special Education teacher works with her favorite child and delegates her paras the other kids. She openly dislikes a few of the kids (sis told me), but puts on a good act when the parents come around and takes all the credit for any progress they make (again, so my sis says). I do believe most of what she has told me.
    This school sounds out to lunch. I've never seen a safe room in a school. And my child would never be allowed to be put in one for any reason. If they did this, I'd call it abuse and make them place him elsewhere, at a school that knew better how to handle children with my kid's particular needs.
    This para was just plain cruel and the "good" one sounds rotten to me too. My kids usually get good treatment at school because they don't want a piece of me and hub (hub can be worse without even lifting his voice. He is very calm and very threatening about who he will contact).
    We always try to play nice first, but NEVER when we think our child is being mistreated. Then the gloves are off and you lose.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm with you on this. It's time.

    THat is the one thing that would make me feel OK about undermining para in front of the kid, especially if I had deicded I'd had enough and was about to raise purgatory by calling down as much flak from above that I could organise. But it's the thing - once you go there, you HAVE to kep following through. It's not something you do, and then not be around to continue.

    I also may have not reacted, out of pure shock. DID I really just see/hear that? Surely not!

    And something I meant to mention about the "safe room" - did you ever read the sequel to "Heidi"? The one called "Heidi Grows Up" where she is a teacher at the local school, but no children will come to school because they are afraid. The previous teacher took out one of the claokrooms and boarded up the window to make a dungeon, and one boy in particular, Chel, would get put in the dungeon and the other kids would have to listen to him scream...

    That is what this "safe room" reminds me of.

    by the way, read the book. And read it to your kids. Considering when it was written, I think Jonathan Tritten was enlightened. Very. Interestingly, all three books have difficult child kids in them. Johanna Spyri wrote the first book, Heidi," in German. Tritten translated it and then wrote the two sequels.

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2009
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again, Marg.
    Trust me, I follow through. I never make idle threats. That's I think why the school districts don't really give us grief. It's because we know how to reach the right people, and we know what they can and can't do. We also work closely with a school advocate who knows the law like the back of her hand, and they want HER less than ME. We threatened mediation once and the school freaked out. They didn't want the cost or publicity for their school...hehe. We got son placed out of district with no trouble after the Advocate told them we wanted mediation, probably because they knew we'd win.

    As for the book, I'll give it a look ;) My two kids aren't that studious or into reading (I wish they were). But I am, so I'll take it out of the library for ME!!