I had to leave a message for the principal

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    There is a substitute teacher aide that Duckie is actually afraid of at school. This woman is rather short with the kids and gave Duckie a really hard time for being talkative during lunch. They have a history, so to speak.

    So she was the aide on Duckie's bus today and she yelled at another child. Told her to "sit down on that dxxn seat". Duckie was upset and talked to me about it. She said everyone on the bus heard it and she felt very bad for this child.

    I hope it's addressed appropriately and Duckie isn't retaliated against by this woman. :(
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear. She's in the wrong profession. She needs to be archiving Third Reich documents at the library.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Hope there's no retaliation either. It was very good that Duckie told you about it and that you are taking action. Too many kids are intimidated by adults and then are taught to not speak up when their concerns are ignored. We're planning to address similar issues at difficult child 1's team meeting in a few weeks. People don't realize that it only takes one incident to have a long-lasting effect on a child.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Terry- Other aides have told me that this woman would like to be a fulltime regular aide in a classroom but she just doesn't fit and get along with the children. The problem though is that she ends up in situations with little teacher or administrative oversight like on a bus or in the cafeteria.

    Gcvmom- I didn't address the issue in December with the school because it happened just before the Christmas break and the regular aide returned after the break. I did make sure Duckie knew that I believed her and gave her instructions on what to do if the sub aide returned. There is a student in her class that has a fulltime aide and needs her eating monitored for a health issue. This fulltime aide usually sits in Duckie's section but at a different table. There isn't assigned seating for the kids but each classroom is assigned a group of tables. I advised Duckie to sit at the same table as the fulltime aide because she would be less likely to have run-ins with the sub aide.
  5. cadydid

    cadydid New Member

    It's good that Duckie knows you believe her... sometimes that little bit goes a long way.

    And I also think it is a good idea that you are getting this addressed. That kind of behavior needs to be stopped.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Cadydid- Duckie is learning to trust me; she had such a hard time when she was very little that she tended to presume herself guilty in everyone else's eyes.

    I have to say that the staff at my daughter's school is, as a whole, heads and shoulders above the norm. Everyone from the principal down to the cleaning and maintenance staff love what they do and are great with kids. This woman really stands out at Duckie's school because she is so different than the other adults there.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Glad you called the principal.I hope they are able to do something about it.
  8. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am glad you made that call! If enough parents keep reporting inappropriate behavior from this maybe, just maybe it will show up on her performance review and her contract will not be renewed (or they can let her go). If she likes working with kids, she had better start working harder on her people skills!
  9. Rannveig

    Rannveig Member

    I think the greatest thing you can do is show your kid you believe her and empathize. The sub-aide's behavior sounds like it's about the sub-aide, not about Duckie (or any other particular child). If you can help Duckie understand and truly believe that, you'll have given her the gift of a lifetime, regardless of whether the school takes any action.

    All good wishes,
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I can understand the fear that making a complaint will lead to retaliation. The trouble with people who do that - too often, we as parents "cave" too readily when a complaint we make backfires in this way. Or we write a complaint letter and in reply get a whitewash job, so we drop the issue.

    WHat we MUST do - once you make the first complaint, you keep the issue open until you are satisfied with the conclusion. You may agree to compromise, but if you decide that it's just not worth persevering even though nothing has been done, then you have just validated the bad response you received.

    Example - I made a complaint to difficult child 1's health insurance, including in my complaint that I wanted some policy changes. The letter I got made was polite but telling me, "Thank you for your complaint. We're ignoring it."
    I rang them up on the number given in the letter and said, "Your response to my complaint did not address my concerns. I want them addressed. I will not go away until I am satisfied I have been heard and that things will be changed." I did make a few other comments as well, which made certain they would get back to me.
    They rang me a couple of days ago, they listened. Whether they make the changes I requested - I don't know. But I have made it clear that I am watching, I will not accept another whitewash response.

    IN the same way - if you complain on behalf of your child, and then later discover that your child has been singled out for unfavourable 'attention' as a result, some people would shrink from further action for fear of making things even worse. A teacher saying things to the class like, "Oh, we'd better not upset little difficult child or he will run complaining to his mummy again." Also, a lot of kids will be afraid to tell their parents if a teacher does this because now the teacher has recruited the class bullies in intimidation tactics.

    But this is wrong, and to not take action is to feel even less empowered than the child was to begin with. Not right, not fair.

    So if a teacher takes it out on your child that you made a complaint - hit him hard between the eyes. Figuratively speaking.

    We actually have it enshrined in our laws in Australia, that it is an offence for anyone to be penalised or victimised as a result of "whistleblowing" or making a complaint. A gentle reminder to anyone contemplating giving the kid a hard time for the parent's actions, usually prevents problems. ANd here's where my cultivation of spies in the classroom helps; if I hear from another kid in the classroom, that the teacher is using unfair tactics like this, I'm down at the principal's office so fast that they get the message. Because I never reveal my sources, I often can't make such a complaint stick. But because I have let them know that I KNOW about it, the teacher gets the message that if they step out of line, I will know.

    I don't worry if the teacher ends up hating me - I'd rather the teacher hate me but treat my kid right, than the teacher like me better but walk all over my child. Anyway, that sort of teacher probably would despise me regardless, as weak and wishy washy for failing to have a backbone.
    So I've used the following angle:
    "To the school staff - I know I have just made myself unpopular with my recent complaint. Popularity is not my aim, justice is. I am glad we have now resolved the problem that brought me to you. However, please be aware that I am a very paranoid person. I also am someone who is willing to make complaints, as you have already experienced. So if I even SUSPECT that my child is suffering in any way, or that someone is taking it out on my child because they resent my taking action, then I WILL take it personally. Even if you say something in total innocence, this now comes down to how I perceive it. And if I believe my child is in trouble, I will immediately assume you have done it deliberately. I will not give anyone the benefit of the doubt, not a second time. But of course, you are all honourable people and there will not be any cause for concern, will there?"

    I've only ever had to say this twice, each time to the same school, but several years apart.

    I also want to make clear to teachers on this board - I recognise that most teachers and teachers aides are good people and I work to have a good relationship with them all. My approach I describe here is for those who give the profession a really bad name, and who frankly should never be allowed near children. It's a last resort response, but one that is definitely worth using. I have never had to follow through beyond this point; instead, the two times I used this, there were absolutely no reprisals.

    It worked.

    We shouldn't have to do this, really we shouldn't. But if ever we find our child being targetted in reprisal - NEVER walk away, unless it is to also remove your child. Your child MUST know that nobody deserves this.

  11. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Rannveig- I think you are 100% correct, the aide just tends to be miserable and is very "old school" about her expectations for behavior.

    Marg- I've always been one to pick my battles but I never cave when the battle gets going. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and age groups.