difficult child's new principal called me at work and now I'm freaking out.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    difficult child is still struggling with attendance at her new school, and this week she has missed every single day so far. Two days she missed the bus because she was taking too long in the bath and couldn't get out in time. The other days her ulcers were flaring up and giving her problems. The school principal just called me at work and she is NOT nice! I explained difficult child's problems to her, including her physical ailments and her psychiatric conditions. She was not understanding at all. She asked me, in a very haughty, demeaning manor, if it was true that I work in the attendance department at another school. My heart sunk when she asked me that question, because I knew where she was going with it. When I confirmed to her that yes, I do work in the attendance office, she threw it in my face. She told me there is no excuse for my very own daughter having attendance problems based on what I do for a living. She demanded doctor's notes for all of difficult child's absences. Now she wants to meet with me next week to discuss difficult child's attendance. She threatened the district attorney on me. Now I am really freaking out. I thought this school would bring about changes in difficult child, seeing as she says she likes this school much better. Just when I thought we were taking one step forward, she takes two steps backwards, and now I am getting in trouble for it.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Where you work has nothing to do with it.
    You need an advocate. No, your difficult child needs an advocate... a professional one, the kind that can stand up to the school. Here... the only one that works is to get the psychiatrist to come to the school meeting and blast them. You may have other options.

    But... really? at difficult child's age, you're supposed to somehow pick her up and force her to school, when your work day starts some hours before she has to leave? REALLY?

    What are the chances that this principal is under the gun for not having success with enough students, and is trying to pass on the blame?
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    She even had the nerve to demand how someone difficult child's age could possibly get three stomach ulcers in the first place. That's a good question, and I honestly don't know the answer. Her doctor has never told us the cause, she is only giving her treatment. I heard stress can cause ulcers, but then heard elsewhere that it's a myth. I don't know how she got them but she has them, and I will provide all the proof she wants to get her off my case. I have photos from the endoscopy, and I will bring those in if I have to. I feel very harshly judged and right now I'm at work needlessly in tears. I contacted a possible advocate a couple of months ago but they never called me back. It looks like I'm back to the drawing board. I was really hoping none of this would be necessary at this new school, but I guess it was just wishful thinking.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Isn't her missing school just another manifestation of her illness?
    In which case, getting her TO school needs to be part of the IEP - not a separate issue.
    And everyone needs to contribute to making it happen... rather than to dishing out blame. There needs to be a plan, and meetings, and progress reviews.

    (not that it's simple to get "attendance" as an IEP item...)
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I do not often reply to your recent posts BUT you really need someone who is not vulenerable to advocate for your daughter. You have enough on your plate and you need someone at YOUR side and at YOUR difficult child's side. Find help! I support your efforts but you are in a stressful situation and you NEED someone outside the family to step up to the plate. Hugs DDD
  6. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    CA, I'm going to go along with those who suggest you get an advocate. Seriously! You need one. You will not be able to do this on you own I believe. You have enough to contend with and this is to the point where you need someone who knows the law very well. The principal over stepped his/her bounds very very much, this I can assure you! First in bringing in the fact of where and what you do for a leaving and using it as leverage. Second in questioning your daughter's stomach ulcers. It can and does happen and actually is happening quite a bit of recent times. Between kids getting bullied, stressing over the new rules of testing (if you lived where I lived you would hear horror stories of kids going to ER with heart issues!) and then just the mental illness issues that can wreck havoc. WAY OUT OF LINE!

    I understand that you have fledgling wings of a warrior mom and a lot on your plate. I think we all understand that and that's precisely why you need an advocate! You won't have to pay for it and you will still be involved but they can certainly help carry this burden in a more effective way and help you through what's going to get difficult. I don't mean to scare you (not that you aren't already).

    My son spent almost the last half of last year trying desperately to not go to school. He is 15 now (14 then) and was only in middle school but he weighed almost 180 pounds! There was no physical way I could make him go! NO WAY! His worker is very involved with us. Here is what took place:

    I contacted the school and let them know of the issues. In his case there were teacher issues happening (1 regular ed and then his SPED teacher who is only consultative, meaning he only sees her to talk to her and check in). It seemed like they were really out to get him but at best they just didn't get him and were actually hampering every effort we (as a team) were trying to accomplish in trying to keep him in the school. He hated that school, the kids bullied him, the principal is a jerk as is the female vice principal. They even treated me horribly (there is long story on past incidents). I found an allie in the male vice principal as did mr busy. This vp "got" my son. He could work with him and he worked with me and any time there was a problem he was the ONLY one I would talk to and told my son to go to. Anyway, I was told to call the local sheriff to have them make him go to school. Big joke! They do NOT do that! It was up to me to make him go and that wasn't happening. Only ace I had with that is mr busy hadn't yet figured out they wouldn't come out so there was a lot of threatening happening and I'd tell him I was going to call. His worker is an ex parole officer too so he told him point blank what would happen to him from the point he got in front of a judge, how his life would end up being even MORE accountable to me AND the court if we had to go that route. I can tell you that it was a huge struggle and he was ~motions with fingers~ this close to me having to go to court for the amount of days he had out. I begged, pleaded, bribed, threatened. Somehow I managed to get him there.

    If it wasn't for the fact that I could get him transferred into the school he's currently in for his freshman year, we'd be right back to where we were last year with the local high school as it's no better then the middle school! (ms emo goes to the highschool he would have gone to).

    My point was that it was a struggle, I had to enlist help. I got and advocate to help fight the school and explain the issues. Not once or twice. 3 times! I've had to get an advocate again this year for ms emo to because she has mega issues and 1 is physical issues like your daughter. Get the proof! Before they even ask for it. Arm yourself as best as you can. As everyone mentions, it can and WILL be part of the IEP. There are MANY things they can work with in the IEP. I learned that for ms emo (yes I'm switching children here now as it fits situation) could have modified classes or schedules (days) if she needed due to health once proven, if further necessary there are even more things that could be done like online schooling, tutoring at home, etc. Your advocate from YOUR area will know what is or isn't available to your daughter as well as the law for your state/county/school district and they will be the BEST help for you to fight the school.

    Keep a record, written record of what that principal said to you as well. In the past I've actually written back to someone who's done that to have it in writing. Something to the effect of...

    "Dear Mr. Principal,

    As per our telephone conversation on (date) when you mentioned that I worked in attendance at another school and should be aware of how "your daughter's name" absences affects her per school policy. I just wanted to reiterate to you that I am very well aware of this and have been faithfully attempting to abide by the school policies with her but due to her mental health and "physical ailment name here", which I am happy to provide to the school from the doctor, it is not always feasible for her to make it to school or to school on time. We do try. Further more, I am requesting that we convene an IEP meeting to address these needs at which time myself and my advocate and the school staff may be able to come up with adequate accomodations/modifications to meet her needs.

    Thank you,

    your name

    Be kind to yourself. Know that you ARE doing all that you can. Right now you just need an extra helping hand with her (the advocate) to look at the situation and put it into perspective and come up with some alternative plan before they can come after you. The advocate will also help keep the school in check from over stepping their bounds on you too. ;)
  7. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I agree with you all that it is time to get an advocate. I looked into one awhile ago, corresponded with them by email, and never heard back. At the time, difficult child just started the new school and seemed to be doing well, so I didn't push it. It's sad it's gotten to this point where I need one, but obviously it's necessary so that's what I will do.

    The more I lay in bed and thought about it last night, the angrier I became. This principal obviously did not do her research before she called me. She didn't even bother to read her recently updated IEP. She demanded proof from her gastroenterologist that she has ulcers. She wanted a list of all her medications. She demanded proof she is bipolar and has an anxiety disorder. All she had to do is read the d*** IEP and she would have seen it. It was all updated 3 months ago.

    There are detailed notes from both difficult child's doctors stating her diagnoses, current medications, treatments, and recommendations. psychiatrist in particular wrote a rather extensive letter stating difficult child's illnesses and the impact they are having on her education. His recommendation was home teaching, which I later found out is not possible for us, because it requires another adult to be present in the home. That is why she was referred to this new school, which is supposed to cater to kids with psychiatric disorders like her.

    I am rather upset that the principal did not bother to read the IEP before demanding all sorts of proof that the school already has. I am appalled that a school that is supposed to be geared towards emotionally disturbed kids has a principal that is lacking in empathy. I hope I don't have to deal with her often, otherwise it's going to be a long two and a half years. It looks like I am going to have to do my research and get somebody to back me up. I wish it wasn't necessary, but that's the way it is.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  8. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    STOP getting pushed around. If someone calls you and acts like that tell them to read the IEP and if they have questions call back then.

    This whole thing is ridiculous. They call and accuse and you get upset and it causes you problems. It is a vicious cycle. YOU have to put a stop to it. YOU have to stop getting gut punched every time the phone rings and start being proactive. An advocate can and will help but if you allow every phone call to make you a mess you are never going to survive until they turn 18. But you are the only one who can change your reactions. You have done what has been asked without support or help from the school system. If you have done your part and it is documented then call them out on it. Tell them the IEP documents everything and that if they have a problem with the IEP they should schedule a meeting.

    What I am saying is
    1. STOP getting bullied
    2. STOP letting them upset you
    3. START telling them to use the tools they are forcing you to use.
    4. START standing up for yourself
  9. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    I agree with everyone get on the phone Monday and get an advocate.
  10. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    CA, I really hope you don't think we sound aggressive with what we're saying or rather meanly saying it? Maybe I'm not expressing what I'm trying to say here. I know I re read my post and it came off sounding rather harsh to you (if I was you reading it). I didn't mean for it to seem that way. I just wanted you to see it was serious and that help is what you need right now and hoping that you would see that and take it for what it was. I think that's what we all were thinking. Trying to get you help and as DS said (better then I), don't let them push you around anymore.

    From some of our chairs, it's easy for us to say because we've been around the bush, per say, a bit more then you. It will come in time. That's why we're all here to help you! :)
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have held back on saying this, but it is time. YOU are part of this problem. NOT the attendance, but the bullying. You ALLOW these people to bully you. It is time to start being assertive and STOP allowing yourself to be treated this way. Yes, you are ALLOWING it and you can STOP it. I know, because been there done that. It shocks people when you tell them to stop and to do their own jobs, but they STOP and then they see they cannot get away with it and they start doing what needs to be done. As long as you ALLOW this, they will NEVER give your daughter what she needs. NEVER. They will heap the blame on you and bully you and neglect what difficult child NEEDS.

    In the future, when they start, ask if they have read and followed the IEP. When they say NO, ask them why not. DEMAND a reason, and inform them that the IEP is legally binding and they do not have the option to not follow it. Put them on the defensive and demand a reason why they refuse to follow the law and her iep. Don't give them the time to bully you or put you on the defensive.

    To get ready to do this, write down the various things this principal said that put you on the defensive. Then write 3 things you SHOULD have replied to her to stop this koi and demand that she do what is required of her. WRITE your replies. Then REHEARSE some of them, like, "have you read her IEP? All of the information you need is there." "Why have you neglected to read the IEP before you call me with this nonsense?" etc...

    Bullying isn't something that just happens to you. It is something you ALLOW, and that you can STOP. When you decide to stand up for yourself and your daughter, you will see some results from both the school and your daughter. in my opinion you NEED to get some help to figure out why you ALLOW this. Find a therapist who takes a sliding scale, or your insurance, or find a codependent anon group or NAMI group for those with bipolar/depression/mood disordrs. Some of this is part of that. But find SOME resource and start to develop some assertiveness and stop alloing all these different people to bully you and neglect your daughter.

    I am sorry this sounds harsh. i have read your posts for a long time, and most of them center on this theme. Someone said something that upset you or refused to do what you wanted and you got upset and your feelings hurt and were in tears. You send that vibe out into the worl and you can change that vibe and get different treatment but YOU must work on it.

    I dealt with LOTS of people who wanted to make me feel bad and to not follow Wiz' iep or treatment plan. Heck, the entire 4 mos Wiz was in the psychiatric hospital the frimpin' psychiatrist wanted me to just go away. He HATED parents with passion and was determined to NEVER speak to one. But he spoke to me, spoke RESPECTFULLY to me, and stopped playing games because I simply did not fall for them. HE made the only time he was available at all be at a 7 am meeting, I left hte house at 5:15 and got there (over an hour away). He made it six am, I left an hour earlier. I brought homemade muffins to that six am meeting, ones I baked at 3:30 am, to kill him with kindness. He refused to acknowledge me during a meeting, I stood up and started talking anyway. I was ALWAYS polite, had my parent report with me plus any resource material with me, and I insisted that he at least shut up so the staff could listen to me.

    When the principal of themiddle school let the sp ed teacher drive my kid psychotic, I didn't back down and get too involved in helping him and let it slide. I found the PROOF of the altered iep, I spoke to the superintendent of schools cause the principal said he would have me arrested if I went on school grounds outside of my car. I even recorded the principal telling me that and played it for the superintendent.

    You say you emailed to get an advocate and no one got back to you. Find their phone number, find the top dog of the organization, and call them. Be PERSISTENT and polite. If you let them not answer you, if you go away, you will NEVER get help. Keep emailing. email daily or 2 or 3 times daily. then call, and if they don't call back, call more. If you need to, go and visit them, just show up asking for help. Heck, when we needed a placement I went through 2 or 3 DAYS on the phone. I called every single pastor in my town asking who they thought cuold help us. Each one gave me a number of a place or person that MAYBE knew of a resource. In those 2 or 3 days (happened 3 times), I explained, begged, pleaded, even cried on the phone until someone somewhere gave me a lead. Each time I ended up finding something, though until that last phone call I truly thought I might fail. Sure, maybe people thought I was odd, so what? Sure, I told the story to a lot of people. So what? I got results because I spent HOURS each day on the phone. I called people at work, at home, at any number I could find.

    This is what you NEED. You need an advocate, so start calling, emailing, etc... and when you don't get a reply, send another email, make another call. the ONLY way to get the resourcees you need, that difficult child needs, is to be the loudest, squeakingest wheel they have EVER heard.

    You CAN do this, but you have to stop getting so upset and use the energy you waste on crying to fight for what your child needs. Ulcers are caused by bacteria and/or by medication. Stress does NOT cause them. So how your child got them was just the same way she got a cold, flu, or strep throat. She got an infection. or she was put on a medication that irritated her stomach and the doctor didn't realize it and rx medications to prevent it. PERIOD. You did NOT cause it, you COULD not cause it, and anyone who implies you did (like this principal) is just an uneducated idiot who needs to read the dang IEP. PERIOD.
  12. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well I looked up free advocates online and got a list of names. So far the ones I contacted aren't free. The first one charges $500, which of course is way out of my price range. The second guy who called me back was a little more reasonable, but still charges more than I can afford right now. It would be $50 for the consultation and then $100 per hour including travel time to the school and back. I can afford the $50 after the holidays for the consultation, so I will be contacting him in January when my finances are better. Meanwhile difficult child and I have a meeting with the school principal tomorrow. It is going to be after school and I will be leaving work an hour and a half early to get there. I don't know if anybody else is going to be in the meeting. I will let you all know how it goes.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The state board of education website should be able to guide you to FREE advocates. they are part of what the states provide. If you cannot find one on the website, call the state board fo ed. Usually the paid ones end up guiding you to private education options that you cannot and need not afford. You will have to be very persistent to find this info, but it IS there. Also try contacting the state's disability law organization. it also may be hard to find, but if you put the effort out, you will find it.
  14. Rabbit

    Rabbit Member