difficult child 2 given citation today for "cheating"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    First of all, the thought of difficult child 2 cheating on a test is so far out of character I had to make sure I heard him right when he got in the car today and told me what happened.

    He had an essay test today and he thought it was open-book. Turns out it wasn't, and several of the kids around him started scolding him when they noticed that he had his book out for the test. Apparently he'd already answered half the questions when they sounded the alarm. He put the book away. Another student (who has openly said to easy child that she hates difficult child 2) took it upon herself to tell the teacher what had happened. The teacher confronted difficult child 2, and he said he tried to tell him that he did not know it was not open-book but that the teacher wasn't listening, so he decided to just agree with him and not argue. The teacher commended him on admitting to the cheating. Apparently the test was thrown in the trash in front of the whole class. I don't know yet if he'll be allowed to retake it or some other form of it.

    I told the teacher in an email (he's got an in-service day this afternoon and he wasn't in the classroom when I called) that I did not believe difficult child 2 intentionally cheated. I asked him if he explained the instructions for the test beforehand, and whether or not he confirmed that difficult child 2 was paying attention and heard the instructions. difficult child 2 is seated at the front of the classroom specifically because of his poor attention and focus skills. Now, I know the teacher's desk is in the back of the room, so perhaps he handed out the test and then sat down there. But it's a little strange to me that difficult child 2 would get 1/2 way through a test without the teacher noticing that he's using the book and that other students had to alert him to what was going on.

    To top things off, difficult child 2 was teased and harrassed about the incident later in the day. He gets to serve 30 minutes detention tomorrow. I told the teacher I disagreed with his interpretation of the situation.

    Just to be sure, I called a friend whose daughter is also in the class, and she said they were just talking about what happened to difficult child 2 -- her daughter said she didn't think difficult child 2 knew it wasn't open-book either. I didn't tell the teacher that, though.

    Then I had to fire off an email to the assistant principal because some boys have been making verbal threats the past two days to difficult child 2. It seems to have started yesterday, when difficult child 2 was on the playground and another student left his jacket hanging on the equipment when the bell rang after recess. difficult child 2 took the jacket down and called after the boy to let him know about the jacket. The boy didn't respond, so difficult child 2 hung the jacket back up. Then the boy came running back and yelled at difficult child 2 for touching his jacket "Why'd you touch my jacket?! What is your problem?!"

    Today, the same boy told difficult child 2 if he touched his jacket again he'd kill him. A little later on the way back to class, difficult child 2 tapped another boy on the shoulder (who it turns out has been walking by difficult child 2 at different times and calling him "stupid") -- says he doesn't know why he touched him, but the kid turned around and said if he touched him again, he'd kill him. Then he proceeded to brag to others that he could kill him if he really wanted to.

    Considering the fact that difficult child 2 got suspended last year for having a Swiss Army knife in his pocket and making a similar comment to someone, I felt this warranted further investigation! And is if all this weren't enough, the jacket boy (and no it's not the same one from last month whose jacket he accidentally ripped) is the principal's son and she's aware of the tension and problems between difficult child 2 and her son.

    When it rains, it friggin' pours here, I'm tellin' you!
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yikes! How much can one boy handle? I hope the teacher feels he knows difficult child 2 well enough to listen to your e-mail about the cheating being unintentional. Poor difficult child, with the threats-scary for our kids. I hope the school deals with it quickly. Hugs.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Poor kid! What accomodations are in his IEP to help with the test taking mistake? It honestly seems like a mistake.

    To throw the paper away in front of the entire class is abusive. I thought grades were supposed to be confidential by law? I would have a problem with this, esp in light of the fact that it was an honest mistake. The teacher handled this poorly.

    difficult child must be hating school right now. Having a student threaten to kill him (esp when he knows HE got in big trouble for threats like that!) and brag about it to other kids, making a big and public mistake on the test, the kid calling him stupid, well, I would be trying to stay home everyday.

    I hope the principal is responsive to the problems. Sounds like she may have a difficult child of her own. Or just a bully.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I don't know what's going to be done with regard to his IEP and the mistake he made today. We're supposed to be meeting soon to discuss middle school next year and make whatever adjustments need to be made. This is going to be at the top of my list, as will the bullying issue. The teacher has not responded yet to my message. I'm sure he'll call or reply tomorrow.

    I signed the citation for the detention notice and also wrote on it that I disagreed with the interpretation of the day's events, and that I did NOT believe difficult child 2 understood the instructions for the test.

    The assistant principal replied she would promptly look into the situation with the other boys in the morning and make sure the bullying and harrassment was put to a stop. She did ask for names, so I told her who was involved. This is not the first time difficult child 2 has had problems with the principal's son. I'm pretty sure he IS a difficult child, and probably takes medications for ADHD because he is MUCH, MUCH more focused, calmer and quieter than he was when he was first in difficult child 2's class in the 3rd grade.

    The principal is fairly sensitive to difficult child 2's issues and does not tolerate bullying. She instituted a school-wide anti-bullying campaign last year as a result of the trouble difficult child 2 got into (which was actually the fallout from other kids bullying him for years, but the previous principal did nothing about it). But she can't know everything her son does just because he's a student at her school, so I don't fault her for that. Hopefully she and her staff will be just as proactive as they have been in the past.

    I'm really leaning towards sending difficult child 2 to the GATE magnet middle school next year so he can get away from some of these kids.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like you are on top of things. I am glad teh school has the anti-bullying policy. They really seem to make a difference. You are quite right about the principal not knowing what her son does all the time - how often do WE know what our kids do all the time?? And how much control do we have over them when we are not right there with them.

    I guess I just have a bias because I had several principals who's children were untouchable - they were just horrible people but never got in trouble. Not even for shoplifting and other illegal things.

    I hope your principal is the kind to lean on her own kid for misbehaving as much as she would on other kids!

    Is the GATE middle school a Gifted and Talented or do the letters stand for something else? Will difficult child be able to keep up with the work? If so I think it might be a very good fit.

    It is HARD to deal with all this with our kids. You are doing a really good job, esp with 3 difficult children!
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Susie I think she is very even handed with her own kids, or at least she's good at making us all think she's that way!

    Yes, GATE is the Gifted And Talented Education program. I don't know if he could keep up with the pace at the middle school level. He barely gets by now, and I do have the leeway to shorten some of his assignments. But I tend to push him. Maybe more than I should.

    Taken as he is TODAY, for some things, yes he probably could handle the workload. Who knows, if we get his medications finally right and he's more stable, he might do just fine. He had no trouble at all with school until about the 4th grade -- and that's when his mood disorder and his movement disorder hit him with both barrels, causing everything to fall apart. He's definitely able to handle the advanced concepts. We may need to modify the workload. That's one of the things we'll be discussing at his IEP meeting this month. I just think he'll fit in better with the kids there. Right now, the elementary school clusters the GATE kids with high acheivers. And some of those kids just do not "get" difficult child 2 at all and have no tolerance or patience for him. I'm finding that most of the GATE identified kids in his class just accept that he's different and let him do his own thing. They know he's not a mean kid, he's just marching to a different beat.

    I figure we can try the GATE middle school, and if that doesn't work out, I can try homeschooling him until highschool. I'm hoping, though, that he stabilizes more between now and then, and things will start to improve across the board. I hope, I hope, I hope!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd be down at the school sitting on the steps waiting to talk to the principal (or deputy) as soon as they arfe available. This is one of those times I'd have my thermos of coffee, my knitting/good book and nanna blanket, so it's clear that I'm going to wait patiently but not leave until I've had the chance to be heard. The Ghandi approach.

    Go VERY carefully re Principal's son - we had a scenario like this with difficult child 3 and his class teacher a few years ago. This teacher & I had been friends from before she had kids, she & I used to drop in on each other & chat. SHe never taught any other of my kids, b ut difficult child 3, b ut by then happened to have a son the same age as difficult child 3, in his class. Her son was the ringleader of the bullies (one of the ringleaders) but would often get difficult child 3 into trouble. This teacher seemed to me to be still myh friend and to be supportive of difficult child 3, although I didn't always agree with her assessment of a situation. I only found out a few months ago, that in fact SHE was the one who was actively campaigning to cvause trouble for difficult child 3, who was the one who adviseed another parent to lay charges with the police after difficult child 3 hit her son (who had been sticking sharp things into difficult child 3 over many months, with no teacher stopping it, despite adult witnesses to this hgappening - they reported it to me, as well as the teachers, but it kept happening).
    Incidents with this teacher's son would invariably end with difficult child 3 on detention, even when I found out from other kids that difficult child 3 was again the victim of being thumped by the son, yet difficult child 3 was punished and the other boy got off.

    What I'm saying - when a teacher is also a parent, they have a vested interest in THEIR child never being in the wrong, so they will always blame the most vulnerable and likely to crumble victim. Such a teacher will almost always support the version that protects their child's repyation, because the kid's reputation directly reflects on the teacher-parent. They're much worse than the usual parent of bullying child in denial.
    That is why a teacher shouldn't teach their own child and should preferably work at a different school. That way they can just be a parent, and not have added face to lose.

    ANd although I'm still on friendly terms with thiswoman who tried to get my son into legal trouble, I haven;t had the opportunity to speak to her since I found out. I probably won't say anything to her (no point - too long ago, and I think she did finally see that difficult child 3 is basically a decent, honest kid) but I know I will never trust her again, or confide in her again. For her to have ever done what she did, without talking to me about it but instead going behind my back - she never was the friend I thought.

  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Believe me, Marg, I tread very carefully when it comes to the principal and her son. She knows that difficult child 2 and he have butted heads for several years. I can tell when she has talked to her son about backing off difficult child 2, because he does for a while after incidents like this come up. I know difficult child 2 is hard for kids to understand, and he has been known to do things that annoy kids in an awkward attempt to get attention. Everyone knows this and that is why he has the social skills class in his IEP.

    This is another reason I went to the assistant principal to address this situation and not directly to the mom/principal. Much easier to have her mediate things! I'm hopeful it goes well, that the boys involved are reprimanded and that they stop being so mean.

    I still haven't heard back from the teacher about the "cheating" incident. I'm wondering how he'll respond to my polite disagreement with his assessment of the situation.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, no reply from the teacher today because, it turns out, he was out! difficult child 2 said he had a substitute today. Nevertheless, they did proceed with having him serve the detention. This will certainly be addressed at his upcoming IEP meeting, and I will ensure that language is inserted to make clear that the teachers are required to get confirmation of his understanding of a test's instructions prior to its commencement!

    His case manager who is also the speech pathologist keeps telling me she's going to schedule the IEP meeting this month, but so far nothing. I just sent her a message to tell her the dates I am NOT available, so hopefully that will jog her memory and she'll get things going (if she hasn't already).

    difficult child 2 said he did not speak to the assistant principal today, and I have not heard from her yet so I don't know whether she spoke to the little villains :p yet or not.

    I am SO done with this school.

    This morning I sent in easy child's request to be transferred to the GATE elementary magnet for next year, and plan to request difficult child 2 to be sent to the GATE middle school instead of our neighborhood middle school in September.

    It will mean more driving for me, but hopefully fewer headaches, too, and maybe even a better education overall for my younger two.