Made it thru today. Now what tomorrow? And the bad teacher got a reprimand.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We muddled thru today. Ugh. Since his days have been hardest in the afternoon, I decided to take off work early and pick him up at noon, which I did.

    He had a decent morning, until lunch time, when he kinda started falling apart. But nothing too major happened.

    However, another little girl has complained of being picked on at school (not by difficult child). She has an extremely protective family, so he dad decided to show up today and sit in for the entire morning. With my difficult child there, a ticking time bomb if handled wrong, the school gave him a 1-on-1 for the time he was there, just as an insurance policy that this little girl's dad wouldn't witness difficult child off his rocker.

    So he managed a half day, relatively decently, but with the help of a 1-on-1....

    When we got home, he had a great day. He played by himself for a long while in his tent and the leaves outside. Later, he decided he wanted to cook and fixed a wonderful meal (with help from mom, of course, but he did most of the cooking) for the family, complete with the fancy dishes and silverware and a candle on the table. After dinner, he and easy child 1's girlfriend made a solar system and hung it from his ceiling. We all truly enjoyed this night. With the exception of getting down on himself easily, he had a great night.

    I am thinking of just keeping him home all day tomorrow, though. Hopefully give him a long weekend to decompress and regroup, but I don't know. Tonight was so good, it almost seems silly to.

    I spoke with the director briefly, as well, (and not in private, so not all of my questions have been answered) and she spoke with the teacher who mocked him. THE WOMAN ADMITTED MOCKING HIM! Like I said, we weren't in private and couldn't really talk, but she said things got loud before school started today. I will find out what, if any, lines were drawn regarding this as soon as I can, but at least it was confronted, and the director informed this teacher that not only did difficult child and I report this, but his BT knows about it, as well. Director remains optimistic that we can figure out a plan to keep difficult child and this teacher distanced; I plan to check out another private school and talk to the SPED director at our public school again in the near future.

    The chiro difficult child has been seeing also has expressed an interest in doing a training class at his school about how sensory integration and processing problems affect his learning and require his environment to be different for him to succeed. I know the Diane Henry clinic I went to really brought home the reality of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) to me, so that's a positive option, as well.

    Also, someone asked what kind of slap it was. It was a slap directly to the face - tho I don't know how hard.

    Oh yeah, BT really took his "I want to be dead" statement to heart and is concerned that, coupled wwith his current complete lack of impulse control, he may try something on a whim, before he even thinks about it, so we will be watching him like a hawk. She tossed around suggesting admitting him, but I'm glad she opted not to for now(I think).
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hang on, I must have missed something. difficult child got slapped? When?

    I'm also concerned with "Director remains optimistic that we can figure out a plan to keep difficult child and this teacher distanced" ... sorry, the director should be more than "optimistic" about this, he should be certain - because a teacher who does this with ANY student needs to be stopped. And if she simply didn't know any better but does now - there should be no problem. But she is a repeat offender who clearly should know better. She should be gone.

    Not good enough. Shari, I think you're falling back into the trap of being grateful for ANY crumb of support and being heard by the school. (Same trap I fell into).
    I know it sounds like I'm digressing but I'm not - yesterday difficult child 3 & I saw a new psychologist. She's good. She wanted to hear some of difficult child 3's history, including past experiences at school. I told her some of the stories, no embellishment needed and even my usual "I had to see both sides" balanced description - the psychologist was horrified. I also was hearing difficult child 3's responses for the first time because I've made a point in the past of not discussing the various incidents in front of him; first, he can get upset remembering, and second, it's all in the past and we need to move on.
    I learned that for difficult child 3, it's still a very vivid and painful memory which scarred him deeply. And as far as I can determine, he didn't endure as much as your difficult child is. However, ANY of the stuff that happened is wrong, and it happened repeatedly because for us, the school's way of handling a conflict between difficult child 3 and the bullies was to 're-educate' difficult child 3 and to punish him alone, instead of finding out why he was being so reactive and maybe punish the kids who were deliberately provoking or attacking him. difficult child 3 said yesterday, "I didn't think it was fair for them to put me on detention when all I was doing was defending myself from kids who were hitting me, poking me or tripping me up. And the teachers would get angry with me and not believe me if I told them what was happening - sometimes I got into trouble for telling them, when [behaviour teacher] had told me that I SHOULD tell a teacher when kids were being mean."

    What I'm saying here - difficult child 3 is now almost 15 and in Grade 9, he is a lot more perceptive and socially skilled than he was and can look back now and really recognise the injustice of it all - and it hurts deeply. Nw he's older he KNOWS he was treated badly and that his teachers did nothing, certainly didn't do their job to protect him but instead punished him, and because of tis the neighbourhood kids have been taught that it's OK to attack difficult child 3 and other people like him (I say 'people' because not only other kids are being targeted by these darlings, but adults with similar disabilities too).

    The buck has to stop somewhere. The bad stuff has to be stopped somewhere. If we try to keep a united front with the school over this and handle it in a conciliatory manner, then we risk sending a message to the bullied child that we are doing nothing and his complaints and suffering will continue, because he simply isn't worth worrying about. However, if we get loudly, aggressively defensive of our child before we know all the story, we risk sending a message to our child that they can do whatever they like and we will "fix it" for them.
    It's a balancing act.

    But looking back from where I am now - I erred way too far on the side of trying to sort things out in a friendly manner. I DID get some things fixed and changed, but nowhere near enough and far too late.

    I am still on friendly terms with a lot of the teachers at this school I'm talking about - we live in the same small community. However, back when it was getting really bad, I didn't let it stop me from threatening legal action if they failed to keep my child safe or if they continued to allow him to be discriminated against because of his disability. I actually said to them, "Because we live in the same town and because we are friends, I am giving you this verbally and not yet putting it in writing - I am very angry that my child is being harmed and discriminated against. I CAN take legal action, but for the moment I choose not to. I choose this because I have hopes that you will fix this problem ASAP. However, if you fail to fix things to give my child a fair deal in your discipline policy and in your support of him, then I WILL put all this in writing and I WILL take every action I possibly can, as loudly as I can, including going to the media and as many politicians I can engage on this as possible. And you know I have succeeded in the past and can do so again. We ARE friends, but my child is more important to me than friendship."

    I had the deputy teacher in tears and later that day when we met privately, I made a point of continuing to be friendly and to work with her in an extra-curricular capacity, but she knew I would act on it.

    It's really hard to do this. REALLY hard. You've made a great start. But you need to keep your target in mind and not allow them to deflect you from it. It is so easy to be deflected - we WANT to be deflected, especially when they say, "I need time to work on this, I'll talk to her and see what I can work out with her; but she's been teaching for a long time and it takes time to change old habits."
    You've given them time. They are the adults. Your son is the child; and a child with problems. HE shouldn't be having to wait until the adult learns to adapt. HE needs to be safe and KNOW he's safe NOW. I think you need to gently but insistently make this clear.

    One way to make it work - put things in writing. If you choose to pull him out at lunchtime every day then do so but tell the school in writing that you are doing this in order to capitalise on his good sessions at school (and to finish his school session on a positive note in order to build up a positive conditioned response) and also to avoid the problems that have built up due to the school's failure to keep him safe.

    The other really important thing you need to do - bring in the house rule "School work during school hours". Ask for worksheets to come home with him when you pick him up and give any completed work back to the school. He shouldn't be rewarded with a holiday, for being difficult. Even if he can't help being difficult, he needs to know that schoolwork won't go away if he kicks up enough fuss.
    The work he does at home needn't be as formal as the work he's given at school, if you feel he's not going to cope with it. But NO playing computer games (unless they're educational and approved by you as such) and no watching DVDs or videos unless they are approved by you as educational.

    We have this rule in place even when difficult child 3 is physically ill. If he's running a fever, I modify the work I expect him to do but he IS expected to work unless he's actually sleeping off a fever. No scolding, no punishment, just expectation. We even negotiate - if he's feeling too ill to write, I get him to watch an educational DVD but I do discuss with him what to watch and because watching DVDs makes him anxious, I often sit with him to watch it and/or make popcorn.

    The "I want to be dead" stuff - it comes about when he feels a situation is hopeless (because no matter how he tries, he feels powerless because nothing seems to be getting done to fix the problem) and also when he feels stupid and worthless (because he's not actually able to learn anything, while he's so very anxious). You CAN turn this around and it's not as difficult as you might think.

    YOU need to undermine the damage this woman has done, and show him that he IS worth the effort, he IS smart and he CAN learn - as long as his learning environment is low-stress and he feels safe. This can help him learn to enjoy learning - the ultimate aim in education.

  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am glad the bad teacher got in trouble, but like Marge stated, not in trouble enough. If she does this with your difficult child and admits it, whose to say she is not tormenting other kids or has in the past? She needs to be fired.

    I think I like the idea of keeping him home today. I have a tendency to take a good situation like last night and feel that everything will be o.k. the next day. It may be a good idea to give him a long weekend to regroup. Talk to him about what has been going on and that the teacher is not allowed to treat him like that. I think it would be good for him to know that she did get in trouble for bullying. Sometimes kids think adults get away with anything so feel more trapped. Be careful of how you present it. What she did was wrong, however, she is still an authority figure and as long as she is controlling herself and not behaving badly, you still have to listen to her. (I don't think I said that quite right but you know what I mean?)

    Good luck.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    What a relief that difficult child did well 1-on-1. Interesting that the dad sat in on class. Kids aren't going to behave the same way when a parent is there. Well, maybe it made him feel better.
    I'm glad you got an admission of guilt about the teacher mocking him. It's a start. She should be washing dishes somewhere.
    Neat that his chiro wants to do a Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) class. Way To Go!
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thank you all for the support this past week. Not been the best.

    Marg - I appreciate your experience, they help me keep the goal in perspective as it is easy to fall into the trap. difficult child was not slapped; someone had asked in another thread how hard he slapped the teacher and where, I was answering their question. The reason "optimistic" is acceptable to me is that we have tried 2 different plans so far to keep this teacher away from difficult child, and we didn't have enough "planning" in place to make it happen in certain out of the ordinary situations. The school is very small, and they don't have a lot of staff, so these incidents have happened when they have been in a pinch that we didn't foresee. I think it can work, but obviously it needs more tweaking for that to happen.

    We are running out of time, tho, because even if this woman magically changed overnight, the perception difficult child has of her and himself with her will take a long time to change - I realize this must be fixed yesterday - we don't have the luxury of time because this is damaging difficult child now.

    I have difficult child home today. He was pretty wild early but has since settled in and is playing nicely. He doesn't realize it is a school day and that he is missing.

    I did let difficult child know that she got in trouble for what she did; adults get in trouble, too.

    I will meet with the director the first of the week and nail down some more specifics - was she given an ultimatum; how long does she have/how many strikes does she get to get it together before action is taken; what can we ALL do, additionally, to MAKE SURE difficult child is never alone with her or in a room where she is the authority in charge? I work 2 minutes away - I realize my presence in the classroom isn't ideal, but it IS realistic and a better alternative than letting her deal with difficult child.
  6. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm sorry i'm late to this, i wasn't on earlier. I"m glad you kept him home, and i'm also glad you had such a good night with him.

    I'm also disturbed to hear that they this teacher didn't truly get in trouble for what she did to him. That they feel that they can "try" to keep her away from difficult child. Yea, don't let her come to work is how you "try". Such morons.

    I agree with you she is a huge trigger for him now, with-o a doubt. I understand what you mean as well regarding distance of your job and is it realistic for you to be there for him. I don't think it is. It is the school's job to ensure that their teachers behave professionally at all times, it's not your job to have to now jump around from work to school and give yourself more stress.

    I forget what kind of school he' s in, is it private? Why do I think it's montessori? Than you may be able to call corporate and ask them for their specific guidelines on this stuff regarding teachers behavior and ask them to fax a copy to you.

    It's amazing, that sort of stuff can affect our kids so greatly and also set them back so severely. I can't imagine your head must be killing you from this.

    I hope you guys have a good calm weekend, I would of done same and kept him home also. Hopefully things will come together for you and him with this.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hi, Jenn. It is Montessori and I'm trying to find out what their accrediation organization and criteria are. I suspect once you are a certified Montssori teacher, you are always a certified Montessori teacher, but, if there's some place that these guys have to recertify every few, I want to know who to contact to complain about this woman.

    I also don't know what disciplinary action was taken against this teacher. There may have been some, but i was not in a position to ask. I know she is on thin ice, already, so I am assuming there was some consequence discussed. I will find out next week.

    While i want the school to step up and deal with difficult child, I also understand their predicament being short staffed right now, and if he needs someone to step in, I'd rather it be me than this other teacher. I don't want to, but I can be there in 2 minutes, and that is a much better alternative. The other staff there really are very positive with/about him and his future, so I don't want to slam the door yet as long as they are trying. My initial plan to deal with him needed a lot of tweaking as we went along, I don't expect theirs to be perfect from the git-go, either - but I am drawing the line in the sand with this teacher - barring a natural disaster, she will NOT handle him from this point forward. Period. What we are going to do to make that happen, I am not sure yet, but she will not.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Shari, re: Montessori accreditation info, I PM'd you.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sorry I am coming in late on this thread. I am glad you got some response from the Director, but it needs to be VERY CLEARLY said that this teacher is not to interact with your son at ALL!! She has been monstrous with him, and really shouldn't be around ANY child, in my opinion.

    I want to warn you to take the warnings of the therapist to heart. My Wiz tried to kill himself the first time at SEVEN years old - mostly due to horrible self esteem from teachers who treated him with the kind of contempt this teacher treats your son with.

    It took us YEARS and YEARS to combat the self esteem issues and the feeling that he had to be perfectly 100% perfect to be worth even 1% of what the other kids were worth - and Wiz truly WAS smarter than any teacher he had!!!!

    Just be careful, I know you are doing everything you can!
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member


    Montessori if i remember have a very rigid program for their teachers, I did my student teaching at one. I think she should be suspended. Truly. I'm glad trinity sent you the info. I hope that helps.

    I know what you mean in regards to going there yourself (I'd do the same), yet you truly shouldnt' have to due to them being short staffed or because of the teacher they are refusing to handle. I'd be very curious to know what happens at next week's mtg. It's always something isn't it?

    I'll look on web also to see if i can find anything that may be helpful. :)
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Shari, you said, " if he needs someone to step in, I'd rather it be me than this other teacher. I don't want to, but I can be there in 2 minutes, and that is a much better alternative."

    Way To Go!! I think that is very wise and I am sure the director values your broadminded and generous approach. I try to work the same way - I do see where you are coming from. My main message earlier, and I do think you saw it as I intended it - just keep self-monitoring to make sure that your generous and understanding approach with the school is not being taken advantage of by them, in that they take the time you are buying them and don't take action as fast as they should.

    An example I can think of - a company with an incompetent but very nice employee sacks him, but says, "We understand you're struggling at home so we will keep you on in this job until you find alternative employment." A generous approach - and as long as the employee DOES genuinely go looking for another job, then the generosity is not abused. But sometimes the employee either through laziness, incompetence or wanting to take full unfair advantage of the generosity, fails to find a replacement job for months. What should the company do?

    In the above example, YOU are the company, the school director/school in general is the employee facing the sack.

    The way to stay on top of this and still maintain your generous spirit is to keep in touch with the director for progress reports on what actions they are taking/strategies they are putting in place.

    A school-based example (from our local school) - they were told with about 18 months' notice that a little girl would be starting kindergarten there, needing wheelchair access. The school is fairly old and the main administration buildings are two-storey. All of the buildings, including the old wooden buildings, had steps. Some had at least 6 steps. The school's reaction at first was to say, "It can't be done, it will cost to much to bring in these changes for just one student," and to then DO NOTHING about making enquiries and at least finding out how much it would cost, how long it would take and who would pay for it. So instead of using the time they had, they chose the ostrich approach/ A year later with six months to go, the parents contacted the school again. When would construction of the ramps begin?
    The school reacted with "Oh, you were serious?" and went into panic mode, trying to get things organised because by this stage the parents were beginning to use words like "discrimination" and "lawyer". It was funny - I had the principal and a couple of the teachers crying on my shoulder on one side, and the parents on the other, all complaining about it.
    I finally pointed out to the school - the law was requiring ALL new buildings to have disabled access and by doing it this way, the school was getting the Federal Government to pay for it and not having to run interminable cake stalls to do it. It was also about this time that I told the school that they were behaving, as an organisation, like an individual with autism - especially with regard to trying to be obstructive purely out of fear of change.
    End result - the school bit the bullet and began the changes. In the meantime they had to relocate the kindergarten classroom to the building easiest to modify. By the time the little girl was in 1st grade the two-storey admin building had ramps, something for which I am VERY grateful. And so are many other non-disabled people especially the delivery guys with trolleys of paper reams.

    They are nice people - they just don't like confrontation and they don't like change. You just have to recognise this but keep needling them to make it clear that you and the problem are NOT going away quietly; if it wasn't you complaining or forcing an issue, it would be someone far less polite.

    You are doing great and I think your difficult child has a gem of a mother.

    On the subject of what is in difficult child's future - I have just spent a few hours talking to difficult child 3's godmother about him and where he is now - when he was in Grade 3, he felt like your difficult child does now. He was a real concern and when he recalls it then he also recalls just how depressed he was. But with his current therapist and psychologist, they have been asking him the various assessment questions - "In the last month, how many times did you feel worthless, did you feel you hate yourself, etc?" - and difficult child 3's reaction has been an amused, "YOu are joking - never, of course!"

    We've turned it around. difficult child 3 now knows he was treated badly, treated wrongly and is scathing about not only the kids who bullied him but also the teachers who failed to keep him safe and didn't give him the courtesy of listening to his fears and complaints. Despite this, he still greets old teachers (and even old bullies no longer bullying him) with genuine warmth. Not only is he "comfortable in his own skin" he is far more forgiving than a lot of people deserve.

    What has done this - by using "Explosive Child" on him we are showing him respect, to teach him respect. And the first person he needs to respect and value is himself. When he sees us respecting him and also each other, he learns that he is worthy of this as well. It has empowered him, helped him KNOW he is valued and secondary to this he has learned that he is talented, capable, smart and therefore does not need to take on board anything nasty anyone says to him. He's also learned, as he sees us fight for his rights, that he HAS rights and they are worth fighting for. By doing it the way you are - with an air of generosity and cooperation - he is learning by our example, again, how to appropriately resolve conflict.

    So many valuable lessons that can be taught, all the while that you are just trying to help your child!

    I think you are doing great - keep your resolve up, keep doing what you are doing.

    Oh, and a quick footnote - I haven't had the chance to share this titbit with husband yet - the friend I've just visited (difficult child 3's godmother) is also good friends with difficult child 3's old kindergarten teacher who has perhaps been the best advocate difficult child 3 had at our local school (it went downhill from kindergarten!). Apparently there was a staff meeting at the school discussing a difficult child who at that time not only didn't have a diagnosis they felt fitted but who also desperately needed more support and services than the school staff were able to access. The K teacher apparently spoke up and pounded the desk. "We need someone other than staff to be an advocate for this child and parents," said the K teacher. "What we need is another Marg!"

    I'm flattered. And I really would love to know the reaction of some of the other staff present - I'm betting they were choking on their coffee!