difficult child 2 earned a 2-day suspension today! LONG

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I guess I should be reading ALL the posts here, even if I don't think some things are relevant to our situation because I just NEVER know what's going to happen with my kids.

    husband got the call from school at 2pm that difficult child 2 had to be picked up from the office and that one of us needed to talk to someone before he would be released. They wouldn't say what it was all about, just to come collect difficult child 2. (I was already on my way to get him and husband called me in a bit of a "state" -- he hates not knowing things.)

    I was asked to wait a couple of minutes in the lobby and then the principal came out to meet me and escorted me to the vp's office where the vp was also waiting. difficult child 2 was in the hallway outside the office looking very sad :frown: But I still didn't know what was going on.

    When we were all seated (difficult child still outside), the principal pulls an object out of her pocket and sets it on the table. It's a Swiss Army pocket knife. And difficult child brought it from home today, apparently. And he was "showing it off" to kids today. And he supposedly also threatened another boy and said he would "murder" him and "slit his throat", according to two or three other kids (!!!).

    The principal says this is a "cry for help", and that they're very worried about him. They acknowledge that he's been the target of teasing and bullying this year (and in years past) and they are working hard to stop the abuse (it's about time). But they are very worried about what he might do because he is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he's making impulsive decisions and saying impulsive things (and he already had a 1-day in-school suspension last month for hitting a kid (who had it coming) who had been mercilessly teasing and taunting him).

    They said that on Friday difficult child 2 and I have to meet with the district crisis counselor, they're probably going to recommend that they pull the 504 and he get an IEP under "otherwise health impaired" so that they can provide more services to him, they mentioned a behavioral asessement which could be followed by a behavioral intervention plan (which is something I think they should have done two years ago). AND they mentioned the possibility of moving him to another school for a fresh start with new kids who don't already have an established perception of him as a kid who is sensitive and reactive and easy to target.

    difficult child 2 finally got called in the room to talk with us about the suspension, and I was trying to get more clarification from him on what exactly he was thinking when all this happened. His rendition of the series of unfortunate events was less dramatic than what the vp painted. He said his teacher knew he had the pocket knife this morning (he asked her if he could use the scissors on it -- but it's not clear on how exactly that quesiton was posed or if she realized what he was talking about because it was during a group art exercise with two classes at the same time) but told him to keep it in his jacket pocket (!!! I hope that's not true! She should have confiscated it then and there!) He said he never took it out of his pocket all day, but did unzip it to show kids who didn't believe that he had one. He isn't clear on what he said to the kid who claims he threatened him -- says he can't remember, so I'm thinking that he did say something inappropriate -- but says that if he DID say that, he didn't mean it (trying hard not to draw parallels to O.J.) or wasn't serious about it. UGH! So of course vp is scratching down the notes to follow up with his teacher to find out what her version is.

    He says he doesn't know why he brought the knife to school... no idea at all. Says he didn't have any trouble with anyone today at recess or PE or elsewhere, but he did a few days ago (more teasing). I just am not convinced there was premeditation here at all. And what the other kids are reporting is a little iffy for me as well... it's possible he said something inappropriate, but knowing how much some of these kids love to ensare difficult child 2, I would not be surprised if some embellishment was going on here.

    Just a lot of mixed feelings right now. Didn't yell at him. We talked about the zero tolerance rules at school (again). He's staying home the next two days... no TV or video games of course. Left messages with the psychiatrist and therapist. Not sure where to go from here. A third medication? More therapy? He's on a break from his neurofeedback until after the holidays. Impulse control is still a problem. School reports he's very jittery and perseverates at certain things in the classroom (hands fidgeting with stuff). Handwriting is still really bad (was decent up until about a year ago when he started to fall apart). The printing is pretty good when the stimulant is in effect, but I suspect that's what makes him jittery. His mood is good, but he is very sensitive when provoked by kids who tease or if he feels justice is not being served.

    I look forward to everyone's feedback... never thought I'd be facing this with any of my kids.

    Good thing I saw my therapist today! :smile:
  2. Janna

    Janna New Member


    Well, honestly, sounds like the school is on top of things. Kudos to them for wanting to get him more services, get him more help, and get him an IEP. Really, alot of schools wouldn't even go to those lengths.

    It may just be about your son making a stupid choice. I mean, he's 11. Bringing the knife was dumb, and he probably knows it. I have a 9 year old that took my hubby's Zippo lighter two years ago, in 2nd grade. He got a day out for that. And my same 9 year old last year, 3rd grade, wrote a story about hunting, shooting a deer, slaying a bear, blood, guts, hahahaha. We live in the mountains, it's what we do, but the school, they didn't find it funny.

    Anyway - he's a boy, and he did something dumb. What was said to the other kids could have been exaggerated. You don't know.

    I think what you're doing is good. Giving him consequences for his actions. See what happens after that. It's possible your son could get an IEP, get into a smaller, more structured classroom with that, have accomodations, interventions, get alot of help, and learn in time to make better choices. I'd just wait and see how things go when he goes back.

    Hope things get better. I know how you feel, I've gotten tons of calls in the past.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry. It does sound like you are handling it well. I'm glad the school is starting to do more. I remember when difficult child was in 1st grade (before we knew we needed to lock up the knives)he took a butcher knife to school. Pulled it out at the end of the day. Not quite sure how he didn't get suspended that time!
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I'm so sorry. I think you handled it well in terms of not yelling at him, discussing the significance of the episode and setting limits for the two days of suspension. It sounds to me as if something is going on disorder-wise that needs to be addressed.

    My son went through a similar situation the week before Thanksgiving. Instead of doing research in history class, he wrote a long list of negatives about himself, such as "I stink," "I'm a loser," "I'm failing" and "Kill me." When the teacher collected the research from her students, J handed in the piece of paper with his "writings." Needless to say, the school became concerned that he was a risk to himself and suspended him for two days. School officials then told us we needed to get him further treatment before he was allowed back in school (it's a private school).

    J is now in a day treatment program at a local psychiatric hospital. He is being observed 6.5 hours a day, and his attending psychiatrist is making mega medication changes. His ADHD stimulant (Focalin XR) was dropped the first day (because the psychiatrist wants to concentrate on mood only), and his SSRI (Lexapro) was dropped on day 3. Because the psychiatrist is seeing mania (which his own psychiatrist never saw), a second mood stabilizer (Zonegran) was added to his Lamictal. The psychiatrist said kids frequently need more than one mood stabilizer to balance their moods.

    This is all my long way of saying that just because difficult child 2 has improved on Depakote doesn't mean you're completely out of the woods. You may need to drop Daytrana and add another mood medication (either a mood stabilizer or an atypical antipsychotic). The residual symptoms you're seeing may very well have to do with mood rather than ADHD.

    I hope tomorrow is a better day. Hugs.
  5. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    While NL doesn't have the diagnosis's of your son, he was also picked on horribly (5th and 6th grad was the worst - it's that "age").

    I'd have been thrilled to have the school acknowledge that there needs to be something done. Instead, we chose to pull him from that school and put him in another. Best thing we could have done.

    I think you handled things great, and I hope the school follows through on the options they have discussed.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Janna, WO, SM, and skeeter:

    Thank you all for helping me see the silver lining in all this. We do have a new administration this year that is much more sensitive to kids with "issues" (the principal's son is in difficult child's class and also has ADHD, the vp's dad takes AT antipsychotics for dementia) so I'm convinced that is why everyone is finally being put into action to get difficult child some meaningful help.

    psychiatrist called me early this morning and has cancelled his afternoon plans to see difficult child today (he isn't even in the office today). That man is another blessing we can count!

    I'll let you know what the outcome is from that appointment.

    Meanwhile, difficult child is sleeping in a little, then he's going to do his homework and later he'll help me with grocery shopping -- something that I know he's looking forward to doing with me!