difficult child threatened staff again.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Got the following email as I left for specials.

    "Complained of being tired between 9-9:30am.
    10:30 a.m. refusals of work, crying, banging fists on desk, some screaming. Removed to safe room. Once in safe room (where he alone, by the way) the following tallies were taken:
    Hit wall=39
    Use of profanity=44
    Howling/nonsense words=Continuous for 3 minutes
    Threats/coupled with making shooting noises and actions at the door=9
    Threats included:
    kill both paras and SpEd teacher
    Said “I’m going to bring a shotgun to school tomorrow to kill pretty boy, or maybe I'll bring a bazooka.”
    While eating lunch he made the comment “I’m just going to kill myself.”

    I am taking bets on pretty boy's next step.

    I have already contacted the SpEd director. If she gets involved, I don't know what they'll do. If she doesn't, I think pretty boy will try to boot him out.

    Should be fun.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my daughter was on Depakote all she did was sleep. My son just slept and felt horrible on Risperdal. Maybe that's why he's tired.

    Is he in a small classroom?
  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Neither one have ever had a sedating effect on him. He also doesn't gain weight on them.

    He woke up on his own at 6:30am, before his usual time to get up.

    His mainstream room has 20 kids. He's alone in the sped room most of the time. In the "safe room", its a closet they shut him in by himself.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), bet he's terrified of being in that closet. I would report them.

    I wish I had advice for you, but I really don't. Sounds like the school isn't a very good fit for him. They have to offer him an education. See what they say.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ok....I know they are going to go off on him but comeon. He is a little boy who has some pretty significant problems and I gotta tell ya, I have been known to say those same things myself on occasion. If all of us were completely honest, I bet there arent many people who can actually say they havent muttered "Im gonna kill that so and so" on some occasion. Luckily for us, no one was standing over us with the warrant in hand to charge us with uttering death threats.

    I so feel for your son. He is being pushed into rebeling by these people. Every little thing he does is magnified 10fold. If he sneezes he is punished. He simply cannot win. I think its time to push for another setting.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Shari - I would check your state's statutes re: the use of the safe room. I think he was inappropriately placed in it. My understanding is that it is to be used if child is a danger to self or others - it is *not* to be used as punishment, which it sure sounds like it was today.

    He hit the wall 39 times. Did staff intervene to prevent self-injury? Where were the deescalation techniques by staff?

    Exactly *how* long was he in there? What are the guidelines in your state regarding how long a child may be placed in a quiet room? Also, what are the notification requirements? It's been a while, but in IL when thank you was a frequent visitor to quiet rooms, I believe the rule was I had to be notified in writing within 24 hours.

    I think they are significantly abusing the use of the quiet room and more importantly, causing your son harm. There was nothing whatsoever therapeutic, educational, or healthy about the *staff's* actions today. They are doing *nothing* to promote his education and are still in my very strong opinion setting school up to be a bad bad bad experience for him. This coupled with their continued failure to provide him with FAPE (again, just my opinion, but those shortened days just do *not* fly in my book)... well, I admire your self-control.

    It's time to request a change in placement, in my humble opinion. No question these behaviors are a result of his disability and therefore are not expellable offenses. But I just don't see that they are doing a whole lot to try to manage his behaviors. If they're going to flip out everytime he let's loose with a verbal threat (at the ripe old age of 7), then it's pretty apparent they have absolutely no business having any contact with him whatsoever.

    I'm really sorry you guys are going thru this. You have bent over backwards to try to accommodate them, when in fact they should have been educating your son with- accommodations.

    I'm just totally on fire that they are continuing this garbage. A very gentle hug to you and to difficult child. How is he doing this afternoon? Poor baby.. :(
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    That is why I will NEVER let Tigger attend a school with a "safe room". He is clausterphobic and would go nuts -- as would I. Not one thing calming about getting locked in a box.
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wow. Poor kid! They are obviously not equipped to teach him anything about how to cope, and he can't do academics when he's feeling this way. Isolating him only makes their life easier, not his. It's akin to muzzling a dog, in my opinion.

    Do you think the Risperdal is doing what it's intended to for him?
  9. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Wow I'm not sure what state you're in but find an educational advocate as soon as possible. Here (MI) the only schools that have safe rooms are day treatments and there are set procedures for what happens when a child is placed in one. Angel's IEP states they should avoid using seclusion but if it is necessary I need to be contacted by phone to notify me at the time she is placed in seclusion, and they are to keep the door to the cell open at all times. The reason being that when you cage Angel and treat her like a wild animal she acts like one. She will bang her head on walls, try to strangle herself with a sock or shoelace. Today she spent all day in seclusion and teacher was on the phone with me 6 times giving me updates, followed up with a detailed report that documents every 10 minutes while she was in seclusion for me to sign and return. At any time while this was all going on if Angel requests me to come get her out; I do it. Angel knows though that under those circumstances I pick her up and we are taking a run through the crisis center to see the psychiatrist on call.

    Even if its a different school inside your district I think you really need to get your child in another placement because it doesn't sound like the staff at current placement is doing anything except teach this child to hate school. Wow yes I'm fighting battles but it sounds like you have a full out war on your hands. An advocate can help get you the ammo you need.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This sounds like a time out room (not really a "safe room") to me. We have them here for kids with severe ED. Also, the psychiatric hospital where difficult child was last had one- although it was used for needing something in between a safe place and a punishment. Anyway, it was a place to vent and in my humble opinion, if you (not you, Shari, the sd) are providing and allowing a place to vent, then you shouldn't be keeping score or tallies for what is done while venting. That's ridiculous. The whole point of it is to provide an appropriate place to let these things out. Look at the message this kid is getting- "ok, here is your place and time to just let all those fruystrations out", then "oh, he shows all this frustration, maybe we should get him out of here". Those people need some more training.

    PS- I agree that the concept of the room doesn't teach coping skills anyway. It's another method of behavior modification, nothing cognitive about it. Has any therapist ever tried play therapy with your son? Another thought, although you've probably already looked at this, sometimes giving medications at different times of day/evening or changing to or from time release can have a great effect on when the difficult child is sleepy, active, etc.
  11. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Every time I read your posts, I have to go look at your signature. How old is this kid? ONLY 6 (now 7)? WTH? I am absolutley shocked at how that "school" handles its discipline issues.

    The others bring up everything I was thinking.

    Please ask the sd for a copy of the "Safe Room" policy and procedures. I bet your school is out of compliance. Ask them for policy and procedures in all disciplining areas.

    How can they treat a young kid this way?

    Your difficult child must be terrified to go to school. It is certainly not a "safe" place for him. He has to feel absolutely powerless.

    I wish I could be on their accretidation committee review. Are they accredited? If so, find out which organization they received it from and write a complaint letter.

    If your school does not provide you with any item you ask for then contact your State's department of education. Ask who you need to talk to in order to find out the state's regulations on discipline.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Also, see if there is a Parent & Education Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) or something similar in your state. They can be helpful in giving you some tips and pointing you in the right direction.
  13. Leigh

    Leigh New Member

    I am a regional director for daycare centers and the State Regulations for us are getting more strict each year. The state would have a huge problem with a safe closet, something like that would get the center closed down. Wow! my teachers have to be careful even hugging the children too much :censored2: It is amazing to me that the county school systems are not required to have more rules and regulations. Children are people to and have to be guided on how to control their emotions, not punished for learning how to deal. Good luck, I hope things get better.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would have probably already called CPS. I'm outraged. They would never put my kid in a safe room. They'd be afraid.
  15. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This group of teachers sound horrible. I am so sorry that your difficult child is having to deal with them. Hugs.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, here's an Aussie take on it. I'm also being Devil's Advocate, as far as possible. Let's be as kind as possible to the school, to see this from the school's point of view as much as possible.

    1) He had to be reomved if he was becoming disruptive. The other kdis are entitledto an education too, if they have a kid raging, it is confronting for them, upsetting for them and also a big distraction.
    BUT - he needn't have been removed TO a locked-in place, but could just as easily, probably better, been placed outside with an aide, or a quiet room (as distinct from a Quiet Room which sounds more like a padded cell). For example I remember when I was a kid and was upset, my mother would take me to the bathroom and wash my face with a cold, wet washcloth. She had common sense, my mother.

    Conclusion - there needs to be a less confrontational intermediate location for him to be, a safe place for HIM to be taken when he is getting upset. Often the classroom environment is just too dsitracting for the difficult child and tey can be reacting to the overdose of stimulation.

    2) Something set him off and the notes give absolutely no indication. It sounds to me like there was something in the work request, either the work itself or how the request was presented, that triggered the problem. THIS MUST BE ADDRESSED or there will be continual failure. AS I see it, the SpEd may not have the skills to do this, or may be getting undermined by the aides being insistent on compliance NOW. This may be at the instigation of pretty boy, directly or indirectly.

    3) Looking at the list of 'crimes' -
    - in the classroom he wascrying, banging his head on te desk, refusing to do work. WHY? He didn't just start doing that, cold. Something triggered it. What? Shari, ask the question. make it clear that "he just started it..." is NOT an acceptable answer. What was happening in the rest of the room What was being said? What was being done? Where were people standing? SOMETHING triggered this. The staff may know, or thye may not know. They may genuinely not understand how this could happen, but they need to gain an understanding. FAST.

    - in the alleged safe room, he was raging, spitting, swearing, threatening, hurting himself. In other words, raging. THEREFORE YOU DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING HE SAYS, SERIOUSLY. Of course a little kid will make threats like this when upset to this extent - it shows just how riled he has been gotten to. No kid this age has the impulse control of even a 14 year old. They cannot be held anywhere near as responsible for their words or their actions. Kids at this age do not have the understanding of death, especially the seriousness or finality of it. What he was saying - he was upset and he wanted the people who were upsetting him to go away from him for as long as possible. THAT is what tis threat means. So why was he making these threats? Because while he was raging, they were trying to do things to him, either talking to him or trying to calm him down, or simoply there where he could see them (maybe). Or maybe he knew they were there watching, even if he couldn't see them. He was upset also with himself, he wanted to harm himself because he hates feeling this way, he hates when other people make him fel this way and he wants it all to stop.

    For Pete's sake, he's just a little kid! He cannot be held to account by the same standards as bigger kids.

    In Australia, in our state at least, a kid cannot be charged under the age of 10. WHen difficult child 3 was bashed and we had to call an ambulance, the kids responsible were all under 10. The youngest was 6. The police could talk to them but not charge them. It is noted in their files so if they do the same sort of thing after the age of 10 it will be there for the cops to see, that it's not been the first time. But otherwise - no action taken, other than a talking to.
    So if the courts and our legal system sees that kids of this age can't be made so responsible, then why should a school be so harsh on a kid who has many more impulse control issues than other kids his age?

    There seems to be a seriously wrong attitude - "this kid has impulse control problems, so he HAS to learn to behave himself, we have to really hound him to learn."
    But thye are forgetting - the reason this kid has imulse control problems is NOT because he hasn't been exposed to all the lessons - it is because, at the moment at least, HE CANNOT LEARN these lessons. All attempts to ram these lessons home, especially using conventional techniques, are not only doomed to failure but are making things far more difficult for all concerned.

    This is nasty, it is wrong.

    So, now I've been destructive and attacked the school's methods, it is time to be constructive. What can be done, to teach your son self-control?

    1) Handle with care. Follow the IEP (I suspect this was another case of difficult child being sleepy and not being allowed to go to sleep - the latest attempt to get around the IEP. Check it out, Shari).

    2) If difficult child is beginning to get upset, preferably before it gets to raging stage, get him to a quieter area that is NOT a padded cell. This also needs to be set up ahead of time, and not be seen as punishment of difficult child. He needs to see tis as a place he can go to, to begin to calm himself. If he is tired, for example, saying he is tired, then perhaps he can be taken to the classroom veranda (if there is one) to a slightly quieter place, where his head on the desk is less likelyto distract others/ Prepare him ahead in this way, so he can learn to ask to go there. He can then come back in to class when he is awake and ready.
    And a thought on this - could he be falling asleep out of boredom? In which case - maybe early removal to another desk, with a relevant worksheet, could be a better alternative. difficult child 3 did a lot better with a classroom desk plus a work desk in a quiet, distraction-free area nearby. His aide learnt to shuttle him from one to the oter, and to call him back in to the classroom where there was another session of "listen to the teacher talking".

    3) Further to reinforce - plan ahead to have less confrontational respite places for him, and avoid the punishment overtones. But yes, he does need to be protected frrom himself and oter kdis need to be protected from being exposedto his outbursts. They need to be gentle and proactive. A sympathetic handling rather than disciplinarian approach, is what is needed.

    The trouble is, pretty boy seems not only determined to rid his school of this hassle, but to do it in as firm and bullying a manner as he can get away with. His attitude is the problem and already difficult child is well aware of it. Why was difficult child being nasty to SpEd? That puzzles me, but I suspect the clues lie in who was there talking at him while he was raging, and in what they were saying. All it would take would be words like, "Calm down, difficult child. SeEd wants you back in class, she doesn't like it when you're raging."
    If I'd been difficult child, that would have been enough for me to tell whoever was talking to tell SpEd to add her name Occupational Therapist (OT) my hit list.

    SpEd and the aides and even pretty boy could be very nice people, but a distressed difficult child will rage and say terriblew things. When he later on says he wants to kill himself, that should be the cue for the aide (or SpEd) to come back in and say, "Come on, that's not right. It's time for us to talk about this." If touching were allowed, this is when he needs a hug.

    Sometimes very nice people get it very wrong. And sometimes they're just nasty, narrow-minded people. Sometimes it's a mix. But the main problem is - this boy's needs are being badly mismaanged and there needs to be urgen help.

    Shari, you have plenty of ammunition now. Go get an advocate, call someone and ask for advice on your son's rights, also on the school's rights and responsibilities. Then try to present the school with a list of "do not"s and a list of how else to handle him.
    Such as sticking to the IEP, that would be a good start.

  17. midwestdad

    midwestdad Lost

    I'd agree with Marg's points that a school staff needs to be able to remove a student if he/she is becoming disruptive, but also that it makes no sense to tally the "crimes" while someone is on a rage. OK, he's raging, it's violent, both verbally and physically. We get it. So?

    If the point is that they aren't equipped to deal with a student, then someone better get involved and find out how/where they can. We had a situation where we were called for some behaviors that, while disruptive, were within expectations for our child. If they are going to be educated (and they have to be), then the school has to be able to handle that.

    Sometimes, honestly, it can be a strange blessing to have a non-verbal child. I can only imagine sometimes what they would say if they could talk.
  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    FWIW, I agree he had to be removed from the classroom. I am even ok with the safe room use for when he is a) violent or b) requests to go there to calm down. I don't agree that its an appropriate place to put him when he is just frustrated by something (and they say he just doesn't want to work - that's the trigger - I totally disagree). I don't know how else to tell them to find his triggers without being there. I'm sure the aid was with him, and she can no more tell you what set him off than I can tell you what Marg had for breakfast - how do I teach her that? Cause without that, we aren't gonna get anywhere.

    I'm so tired.
  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    This situation is exactly the kind where bringing in an outside consultant can be helpful. A neutral person can make unbiased observations and recommendations without all of the history and frustrations that build up between the school and parents getting in the way.

    I second that. Have you checked into advocates to see if there are any in your area?
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I can hear your frustration, Shari.

    My take on it - they SHOULD be able to at least describe the events leading up to the meltdown. They should, by now, with all your involvement and intervention, be much more alert to his triggers and what upsets him. They SHOULD be able to go back over things and recognise what set him off.

    You shouldn't have to do all their thinking for them. And I think at the moment, that is what is happening. It's not fair on anybody. Certainly not on you or difficult child.

    I can only guess, but I suspect what happened was that he was beginning to show signs of sleepiness and no way was the aide going to LET him fall asleep, because you had made it so clear that the IEP says to let him sleep. So okay, we won't let him go to sleep in the first place!

    And again, wrong.

    Then taking him to the closet, then probably standing there talking at him through the door or whatever, or possibly 'talking him up' on the way there ("You know we're doing this because you won't behave yourself, you're being punished, you have to learn to stop shouting at people, you have to learn to do as you're told.") That would certainly send difficult child 3 into a huge rage. Hey, it would have ME spitting & clawing at them!

    A raging kid, especially such a young one, should not be held accountable for the specific 'crimes' they listed. It's all related, it's all connected, he simply can't control himself especially when he's upset. You've got all the reports under the sun to sow this - this means that this turns into punishing him purely because of who and what he is. As I have said so often before - it's like punishing the blind kid for making spelling mistakes while copying off the blackboard. it's just as unreasonable of them.

    Something you could try - ask for a simple list of events, a recount. Use the word "recount", teachers understand that one. You want a historic list of what happened, who said what and when, what was happening. No value judgements please (although any offered should be noted, their presence in the recount is enlightening and shows a mindset and pre-judgement in the observer that shouldn't be there). You can aks what the standard procedure is, for kids being taken to the locker. How do you physically get a child to go with you? WHat do you say to them to ensure compliance? What other things do you say to the child? How do you know when it's time to take the child there? Time to let the child out? What determines the time-frame of actions?
    All this is vital information for difficult child's therapists.

    I'm betting that the aide was talking at him through the door and a lot of the "crimes" were triggered by her presence. Or someone's presence. Of course he would need to be under observation, in order to protect him from self-harm, but there are ways and there are ways.

    It really does sound to me like you're being set up for failure. You shouldn't have to go in to help, as much as you have been. I'm glad you have been able to, but they should have used this as an opportunity to learn from you, not simply sit back and relax, using your presence as an excuse to wind back on aides.

    I agree with you, Shari, that safe room is NOT the plae for him when he's frustrated. What he needs is somewhere that he can go to, to work. Or to talk about why he won't/can't comply. I also agree, this isn't him not wanting to work. There is another problem here and they just don't get it.

    He could be refusing because he's tired. he could be feeling sleepy because he's bored. or he could be finding certain tasks too scary. For example, difficult child 3 would refuse to do writing tasks because (it turned out) his hands hurt. He also has trouble with open-ended questions, or anything he finds vague and undefined. "Choose a topic you like and write about it" is red rag to difficult child 3. If you tell him, "Write about X," you will get a better response. But for a long time, ANY writing task would produce various kinds of avoidance behaviour in him.

    And think about it - your difficult child is being trained to throw tantrums to get out of work. If there is ANY avoidance component to difficult child, then removing him to the safe room is still letting him get out of doing the required task. if instead the escalation is ignored, or he is instead quickly removed to a quiet work area with the required work sheet, then he gets the message - this work WILL be done.

    So another question to ask - get SpEd to make notes of when in the school day he has problems. Find out if it's before a break, or just after a break. Is it always the same topic? Or not? WHich topics was he working on before? Which topic are they changing to?

    He also needs someone to sit with him and de-brief. It should be either you, Shari, at the end of the day, or a therapist. I don't trust these school staff (even the nice ones) to effectively debrief him without also programming him to give the asnwers tey expect. He has to be quesitoned VERY carewfully, again asking for pure recount. "What happend first? Then what? Describe it. How were you feeling at this point? Go on, tell me what happened next." No responses from you whatsoever. Make sure your quesitons don't prompt. Don't say, "How did you feel, I bet you were angry then," because of course he will agree with you, this then changes his memory of events.

    Several possible triggers -

    1) he's sleepy.

    2) He's bored, and subsequently sleepy.

    3) He was enjoying what he was doing before.

    4) He really dislikes/finds too hard, what they want him to change to.

    5) Someone is upsetting him, either an adult such as the aide or pretty boy, or another kid has previously (perhaps at the previous break, or perhaps subtly in the classroom) upset him, and he's taking longer to calm down about it. This is made worse when teachers don't see these things or refuse to listen when he tells them. We had big problems with this one.

    6) Once he has been upset, his fuse will be much shorter and it will take far less for him to explode again.

    Now, YOU know all this. The SpEd knows it intellectually but is either not taking it on board, or isn't being allowed to because one particular aide is ignoring all the advice and information.

    You shouldn't have to think for them. It's not fair. I really do think that this principal, and probably at least one aide, is just praying for the day when you give up and take him out of the school; or alternatively, they have enough cause to make him go away in some other way.

    Not right, not fair.