I SOOO want to write a letter to teacher

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    and principal telling them off. I have a letter in to the director of Special Education in already asking for a specialist to do fba and become member of iep team. (We've had a "specialist" provided for 2 meetings- one was during the eligibity process 2 years ago and he turned out not to be a real psychologist- maybe an intern or something- and the second was an educational specialist who only showed up once 6 mos ago because she wanted to do her own full evaluation- including diagnosis and I said no).

    Anyway, my difficult child has been failing science all year, even though he scores advanced in it on standardized testing. This teacher, who has an aide, refuses to do what is in tthe iep- which really isn't that much and the other teachers who do it see difficult child doing better in class. Since they know I've sent this lettter, now she does a minimal amount part of the time. But what is infuriating me is that she is sending behavior reports (which go to case manager and principal) that say things like "difficult child had something red on his notebook- it looked like blood but he told me it was paint" (it really was paint from art class), "difficult child went to the back of the room at the end of class, took his shoe off and dropped it on the floor" (and this matters to anyone-WHY?), "difficult child had to make genetics for his pretend baby in class- and he laughed and said he thought his baby was evil".

    The art teacher sent me an email asking if there would be a problem with difficult child using an xacto knife, like all other kids would be doing, to do a project one day. She said if it was a concern, she would modify his assignment but asked for suggestions of how to present it so difficult child wouldn't feel singled out. I really appreciated her asking this, and told her it shouldn't be a problem with him using it but thanked her for asking. That, I understand.

    Miss science teacher, on the other hand, has become more of a problem since I tried to politely (strongly) hint that making sure difficult child wrote his homework down and actually left the classroom with the homework was an accommodation found necessary and it is written in the iep and therefore, required of them to do. And that I was going to write a letter to others in the sd asking for someone to come and help the school out with understanding mood disorders. Principal then backed up teacher and basicly told her she didn't have anything to worry abbout- she was a good teacher.

    Well, I really want to let them know that difficult child is on probation, but not for any violent act. difficult child was in psychiatric hospital before-2 years ago for about 1 week- for suicidal ideation and my concerns that he was a danger to himself. Yes, he's had a few squabbles and pushing matches with other kids at this school over the past 2 years, but they have all been written up as minor altercation- no injury. I want her to see that if difficult child's comment about his "baby" was a joke with other kids joking around, it should have been overlooked. If it was more serious, then tthat just tells me how he's feeling about himself, at least in her class. She is going to drive him over the edge if she keeps on. I wouldn't be able to stand going to a class with a teacher who's acting this way- obviously he's had to have picked up on how she feels. I keep trying to ask them- why are they not concentrating more on his F's than on behavior that is not a violation of conduct. Are these reports supposed to scare the principal and whatever specialist we might be lucky enough to get?

    Oh, and let's remember here- difficult child has a psychiatrist, a therapist, a guardian ad litem, a probation officer, and me- none of us see any signs now or for the past 9 mos that difficult child is unstable enough to be a danger. But, this one and only teacher, who can't even pay enough attention to difficult child to make sure he leaves with homework assignments or check (or have aide check) to see that he's staying on track in class- yes, this person is saving the school, if not the world, becuase she apparently is trying to tell everyone that she sees signs that he's a danger to everyone.

    I know I can't write and send a letter to them- but boy I want to. I wouldn't divulge all difficult child's personal history to someone like that though. But, I'd like to- then say "now, are there any other fears or concerns you have that are interfering with your ability to teach my child and focus on his education - if so, then I suggest you either quickly educate yourself about mood disorders or find another science class for him to be changed to".

    I know- this is a long vent- I don't blame anyone who didn't make it through!! LOL!

    Does anyone know if the director of Special Education has to respond to this request and if there is any time limit? The state doe website suggests also asking for a one-on-one meeting with the director. Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks, all!
  2. aeditha17

    aeditha17 New Member

    Wow - our kids must go to the same school! LOL
    I have teachers who do a great job of observing my child enough to note that he is rolling his eyes (a tourette's tic) or organizing his take-home papers out of order, but somehow he keeps getting failing grades on his classwork.
    The last email I got was really, truly regarding how he reorganized papers she had organized for him to take home to me and she was signing him off as disrespectful. OMG! I am thrilled if papers even make it home, much less what order they are in! He has ADHD - he doesn't give a flip about the finer points like take home paper order! He's just trying to get them home.

    I think your Special Education director has a certain amount of time in which to respond. Each state is different, so call your state education agency and ask. They also have state SpecEd departments you can run all this by with. Our state's regional office has been very helpful to me.

    Good luck - fight the good fight - it is hard and you want to run screaming down the school halls sometimes, but hang in there!

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I sent this email this morning. They responded back that they would let me know something tomorrow. Do you think I've made things worse for difficult child?

    "difficult child receives a small bonus on his weekly allowance when he identifies a legitimate concern or problem that interferes with his ability to do what he is supposed to do and brings it to the attention of an appropriate authority figure, rather than "giving up" or doing something impulsive out of frustration. He gets a little more of a bonus if he proposes a solution and asks permission to implement it.

    He brought to my attention that it is increasingly difficult to accomplish everything that is expected of him during study hall. He needed to go to the library and work on the health project last week, which apparently he did. Mrs. XXX had also expected him to go to the library and work on the science project. On top of that, the study hall teacher that he currently has expects him to make up any of her assignments and quizzes that are missed due to going to the library or Mr. YYY's class. I think this is a valid concern and I am proud of difficult child for initiating this discussion. His proposed solution is to switch to Mr. YYY's study hall class (learning strategies), if he can still use that time to work on other class assignments. He says he might not need it permanently, but needs it for this quarter. I find this to be a good solution, if it is acceptable to you. If it is, please let me know if I need to stop by the school to sign this amendment to his IEP. I rememb er that we discussed the possibility of him being in learning startegies rather than study hall during an IEP meeting at the beginning of the year, so hopefully, this won't be a problem.

    Regarding social studies, it appears that there has been improvement lately and that the collaborative teacher might be helping some with this. So, as long as this is working for difficult child and Mrs. ZZZ, I'm happy.

    Regarding science, there seems to be an increasing tension there. difficult child did the entire power point presentation for the project this weekend. I could have taken him to the library to work on it last weekend but the assignment had not been written in his agenda (it's in his IEP that assignments are written and checked) until Thursday and difficult child did not tell me about it before then- Mrs. XXX said it was still expected tomorrow. The bigger problem, however, appears to be Mrs. XXX's fear or general dislike, or something else pertaining to difficult child that I am not sure can be changed. I say this because she felt it worth reporting things like seeing something red on his notebook (so she believed it was blood and apparently doubted him when he told her it was paint), he took a shoe off and dropped it one day at the end of class, and he made a pretend genetic makeup of "his" baby (which was an assignment) and called it evil. I wasn't there so obviously, I don't know the context that was said in, but it could have meant nothing more than a typical boy's joking around. If it did mean more than that, I take it as a reflection of how difficult child feels about himself, at least during this class. It is very possible, actually probable, that he has picked up on her attitude toward him. And, it is clearly class-specific because this sort of tension is not apparent in any other class. This clearly is not a good situation for him and is very likely to have a negative impact on how well he has been doing. Furthermore, it still doesn't appear that the collaborative teacher is assisting at all in any of this- the only thing I have heard that she has done is to take a broken pencil away from difficult child. I haven't heard about her doing anything to assist with the failing grade he has had on both marking periods.

    If you think it would help for me to meet with Mrs. XXX and answer any questions she might have regarding difficult child, I will be happy to do so. As you know, I have requested that the school system provide a specialist to do an FBA- maybe he/she could also help put some of the teachers' fears to rest, if this request is granted. But, I'm sure this won't happen very soon so I do think that difficult child should be switched out of Mrs. XXX's class. I don't see anything positive coming from the current situation, academicly or behavior wise, and unless she is able to change her focus; I think it is going to quickly lead difficult child to a downhill spiral. Also, I don't think he can possibly pass science if he stays in her class. That is unfortunate since he has scored "advanced" in this subject before. Please let me know if you believe a meeting with her will turn things around, quickly, or what it will take to get difficult child changed to a different science class. I cannot stress enough to you that I am very concerned about the impact of the current situation on difficult child's mental and emotional well-being.

    Thank you for working through this,"
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sounds like a good email. Do you get good responses from emails? It may be needed to send some things certified, and also note that you would like a copy of it in his file.

    I really hope that this teacher gets her biases out of the way. It does seem unfortunate that he has her for a subject he previously did well in.