does anyone know parent rights when difficult child refuses to go to school?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sjexpress, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. sjexpress

    sjexpress New Member

    I know I've told our story here before but difficult child has seen psychologists, counselors, etc... off and on for years but the past few years has refused to go. Our main problems were home life but now school is an issue as well!
    difficult child has missed the last 3 days of school because he refused to go. He has actually missed 5 in total in a row but the first 2 were legitimate illness. We've been having this problem of not wanting to go to school since Sept. but usually misses one day and then goes for a while before missing another day. He says things like the work is too hard, it's too much for him, the teachers go too fast and he can't understand it all, ( he is usually crying and all upset when saying this) etc... then on the other hand, some days he says he just doesn't feel like going because he hates school and wants to be left alone and is terribly defiant regarding going to school.
    We have met with the guidance counselor and school social worker a few times already. They have done what they can for us in terms of making his day less stressful but now with missing this many days, things are changing. The social worker came to our house (this past Fri.) and told us and difficult child that if he will be assigned a probation officer and could even be removed from us if he does not go to school. They want us to call this mobile crisis unit to get help for difficult child and try to get him to school. The social worker is really pressuring us now and says she will make a PINS report ( parents in need of supervision) and we will have to go to court! We are scared for our difficult child because of his increase problems and for us!
    We are doing something...we started seeing a psychiatrist and just this past week, she diagnosed difficult child with mood disorder (depression - he says everything is too much for him and he feels overwhelmed, wants to run away) and ADHD. She started difficult child on medications ( first time we have ever put difficult child on medications) and we have to start more counseling but psychiatrist said give the medications a few weeks to start working to make it easier to work with difficult child. Right now it is hard to tell what is emotional problems vs. behavioral.
    The school wants reports from psychiatrist since she said if difficult child does not come to school, he may have to get schooled at home for a while. I am just feeling like they are accusing me of not doing what I am supposed to do and I don't want the courts involved. What rights do i have as a parent? Of course I want difficult child in school! I am not hiding him... I am the one who started the contact with guidance and social worker to begin with looking for help! Everyday is a full day of talking and battling with difficult child. First to try to get him to school, then more fights because we tell him if he doesn't go to school, there are no after school sports for him ( he plays on a number of community teams for various sports which is his life) so this brings on anger and tantrums and verbal abuse from him. It is a horrible day for all involved. I am emotionally spent! I do this alone all the time as husband leaves for work by 5 am and does not get home until after 6pm. Besides, husband thinks difficult child just is being stubborn and lazy and the 2 of them are like oil and water when they interact so it's better husband is at work!
    Any advice would be great!

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Write it all out, copy your calendar appointments and get medical records, you'll be fine as long as you can list all your phone calls to school, meetings, what the results were, medication appts. and what they recommended, etc. Of course it's scary. But in the end you're doing more than enough.

    Is there an iep? I forgot. If his Disability is interfering with school then there needs to be more support I'd think. Put in writing that you want further evaluations for sp. Ed. To develop a plan to help get him thru the school issues. There could be great incentives written in too. (That they provide, passes out of class earned for computer play or pool time or whatever they have)..... a support room if class is too stressful with ebd professionals who can take over teaching .....

    Just thoughts...

    I'm sorry this is increasing, It is one of the most helpless feelings when they flat out refuse things.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Can you decide to homeschool in NY? Once you decide here, the public school is no longer an issue. I would prefer that to juvie for a disturbed, frightened child and punishment for hardworking, decent parents.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    I'm with MWM. The school isn't going to help at this point unless you put that request Buddy mentioned in writing ASAP. You can always see if the psychiatrist will write an order to have difficult child receive "home-bound" services until the medications are regulated. That will keep difficult child and you out of legal trouble AND give difficult child a chance. Basically, the school sends a teacher to teach difficult child outside of school and usually outside of school hours. There is something going on and I have found that when they are crying, THOSE are the words you should listen to. That is the case with difficult child 1 anyway.

    I know how you feel but I also know that depression and anxiety can be VERY debilitating and coping with them and overcoming them are hard for an adult. I can only imagine how much harder it would be for a child that doesn't have the skills yet besides.
  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    He says things like the work is too hard, it's too much for him, the teachers go too fast and he can't understand it all, ( he is usually crying and all upset when saying this) etc... then on the other hand, some days he says he just doesn't feel like going because he hates school and wants to be left alone and is terribly defiant regarding going to school

    i think this is the truth. he's at an age where it becomes tough to rely on your internal "smarts"--you have to not only learn, but think.
    i think if he doesnt have an IEP, its time to request, in writing, a formal assessment from the school to see where there are areas of weakness.

    if he does, than its probably time to review his prior assessments and call a meeting to see if you can add things to make it easier for him.

    with difficult child's its sometimes hard to get to the root of the actual problem but maybe if you just ask him he'll give you more specific information (in a conversation, not in the middle of hysteria). it can be hard to really hear what they might be something as simple as, "well, i hate my math teacher because she makes us do 100 problems"....which to a grown up the answer is, so, we had to do 200!, but to a difficult child with poor coping skills is a giant mountain to overcome. i try to ask mine throughout the year so i can get a picture of what she perceives as too hard/too fast/whatever and often her answers are enlightening....and more often than not, legitimate for her.

    but sometimes you have to reallly dig to get to the root of the problem and get them to elaborate on specifics. since you have a social worker on board maybe you can get her to problem solve with you rather than just threaten you.....i know, easier said than done!
  6. sjexpress

    sjexpress New Member

    Thank you for all your responses. difficult child does not have an IEP and never did. Before this school year, we have never had a problem in school or going to school, only at home. He had a 90's avg. and made honor society last year and this past first quarter. That was the one good it is gone!
    I spoke with our psychiatrist and advised her what has been happening the past week and a half with school refusal and with the school social worker. She is writing up a recommendation for home services/schooling for a few weeks until we can regulate medications or see any effect from them as difficult child just started taking them 4 days ago. Of course he has to attend counseling too.
    I am sick over these changes with difficult child. I can't stand to see him throw it all away. He is miserable as are we. There is no laughter now at home, just anger and frustration between all of us all day long.
    Another question- what is your opinion on this.... both social worker from school and husband have told difficult child that if he does not go to school, he can not participate in any of his sports programs that he does outside of school? Now that is his only socialization time and exercise ( difficult child is over weight ). This is making difficult child even more angrier and difficult. Last nite we did not take him to basketball practice and things were not pretty at home! I feel denying him sports is making things worse but others feel sports is a priviledge and if difficult child does not do his responsiblities, no sports! I wish I could run away! All I do is cry!

  7. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Glad the psychiatrist is stepping in. You still might want to request a thorough evaluation for Special Education services in writing sent Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested.

    When you say you "I hate to see him throw it all away" and punish him for avoiding something that he is UNABLE to handle right now, you are essentially blaming him for having a disease. Mental health illnesses are no different than physical illnesses. And yes, mental illnesses can lead to death but not the same way as physical.

    Because he has never had problems at school before and does not have an IEP, the school is going to look at it as a "rebellious teen phase". They are going to go above and beyond to do the scared straight thing to make difficult child comply. Taking away the only thing that he IS able to continue doing, not to mention the social aspect and exercise, is punishing him for having an illness. Would you blame and punish someone for the symptoms of .... say ..... epileptic seizures or cerebral palsey? Right now, difficult child is being punished for something he can't control. That will make his depression worse and then I would worry about suicide. We came really close with my difficult child 1 and it was the scariest thing I've ever had to deal with, knowing that the way I (and teachers, etc) was reacting to him was causing him to feel that way. He couldn't help what was happening any more than I could control it. Not until we got the right diagnosis AND the right medications AND I learned how to work WITH him.

    That's just my humble opinion. ((((HUGS)))) to difficult child.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I kind of see both sides on this... but it raises an additional question.
    If he can "handle" sports activities but cannot "handle" school, then... what is happening, or has happened, at school in the last 12 months that has brought on the change in behavior?

    Usually, primary depression kicks in across the board - they withdraw from "life" in general, not just something specific.

    I hate to raise this but... having seen it happen (not my family)... and yes it happens to boys too... what if there were some sexual abuse happening? either from an older kid, or from staff? And no, don't ask your son. You need to raise the issue with a psychiatrist/therapist who is trained in dealing with child sexual abuse, and let them raise the issue.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Right now - school districts are under no obligation to open their sports program to "homeschoolers"....regardless of whether those kids are in their district. Some schools allow it - some schools don't. Each school gets to decide it's own policy.

    Recently, there was a petition to make a law requiring public schools to grant access to sports and other extra-curricular activities to homeschooled / homebound students - but it failed.

    So unfortunately, there is not much you can do with the school system.

    Look into other venues like community recreation centers or YMCA - there are usually many sports and activities available regardless of school attendance.