Need advice about 12 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by svengandhi, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    My 12 year old son is basically a typical kid. He's in 7th grade and is classified Learning Disability (LD).

    Today, his team went on a trip to see a holiday show. He was on the bus and the teacher told another boy to sit with him. My son tried to get up so he could have the aisle seat but the teacher made him move to the window. He then leaned his head against the window to the right side, closed his eyes and was "relaxing," in his own words. The kid in front of him apparently sat up, turned around and hit him in the head. My son was startled and flung out his left arm, which struck the boy next to him in the face and caused a nosebleed. He is a lefty so that arm is stronger.

    The school called and said he would be getting an OOS for 2 days because he punched a kid in the face.

    When the kids returned to school, the dean interviewed our son and called to relate a version more like the one my son gave. She said the other kids admitted his eyes were closed. The school feels he should have controlled his behavior and not flung his arm out! This is the same school that tried to suspend my oldest son 10 years ago because he kicked up at a boy who had him in a headlock on the floor after grabbing him from behind and knocking him down!

    The more I think about it, the angrier I get. How did the kid in front know my son's eyes were closed unless the kid next to him told him? Why was this kid on his knees facing backwards and not being stopped by a teacher?

    We have a meeting tomorrow at 9:30 AM. H and I are both lawyers and the principal is still a little scared about us because of what happened with difficult child when he was there. H taped the phone call with the dean this afternoon - our state allows taping if one side knows about it, we have taped ALL meetings with the schools since difficult child was in first grade. THus, if the school changes their story and makes our son the aggressor, we will go public to the school board (the member in charge of sped is one of our closest friends).

    I think my son should not be suspended at all, that the kid who hit him should be disciplined and have to write my son an apology letter. I also think more investigation should be done into the role of the kid who got hit. It he's truly not at fault, my son can write him an apology letter.

    I really try not to be a parent who is an apologist for their children's poor behavior but...

    Am I wrong here? or am I right? All point of view's greatly appreciated.

  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I think you are 100% right. If it was a knee-jerk reaction when someone is "assaulted" by surprise, the damage done is accidental. I dare anyone to say that they would never swing an arm out defensively when "under attack". To me, that is what happened.

    That sounds like a couple years ago when difficult child 2 (would never hurt a fly) was ganged up on by 3 other boys in a secluded area near the school lockers. They were jumping on his back and poking at him (think gentle giant) and there were no teachers around. Another kid walked past just as difficult child 2 finally swung out so he could get away. The other kid told the principal what they saw. Principal got WHOLE story from difficult child 2. The 3 kids admitted what they had done. Nothing happened because "then we'd have to punish difficult child 2 also because he hit back". WTH? I was furious and things with that principal went downhill after that. Talk about individual interpretation of ZERO TOLERANCE.

    You go for it! Your son is lucky to have you for parents.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I also think difficult child is lucky to have you guys as parents.
  4. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I found out a little more.

    My son said that immediately after it happened, he apologized to the kid he'd hit and he said "F you, you retard!" The boy who hit him is a kid my son likes - he said he is "awesome" and thinks he just might have been trying to get his attention. While this lends a little more context, I still don't think hitting someone in the head is a good way to get their attention. However, if there was no intent to hurt my son, I am willing to settle for a meeting with the GC and a discussion on appropriate ways to get someone's attention. I'm not interested in seeing any kid suspended for what seems like it might just be typical kid behavior. BUT if my son is suspended, the hitter should be, too. I also don't think that being hit accidentally justifies uses the word "retard" to ANYBODY!

    I think this zero tolerance has gone too far. Schools use it to avoid having to make decisions and weigh consequences.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Bravo! I wholeheartedly agree!!
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with you 1000%!
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree that if the boy in front of your son hit him, he should have the same consequence -- hitting is hitting. Is the principal confirming the story that another boy hit your son in the head? I do agree that this is probably a case of "boy antics". Boy next to son probably said something like, "look, difficult child is asleep". The boy in front probably said something like, "watch this" and then proceeded to tap, hit or smack your son on the head. The boy next to difficult child is guilty of a knee jerk reaction just like difficult child -- instead of hitting, he used his words. We all know how much it hurts to be hit in the nose, especially hard enough for it to bleed. The boy yelled that nasty comment out of possible pain and embarrassment. It doesn't excuse what he said or how hurtful it was to difficult child.

    I think you and h are totally right in your thinking about how the school needs to handle this.

  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I absolutely agree that your son does *not* deserve a consequence. I think a great question for staff involved would be how they think *they* would react after getting popped in the head when their eyes were closed. There are certain reactions that are normal - doesn't sound like your son intentionally did it. It was a reflex.

    I also think staff on bus needs to be tutored on basic safety issues. It's not hard for teachers and chaperones to tell if a kid is on his knees in his seat, facing the wrong way. Had they been monitoring the kids, this wouldn't have happened, period. I've been on plenty of field trips on buses - we watched the kids like hawks.

    If they're going to punish your son for a reflex, the other 2 boys should also be punished, with the kid who instigated the whole thing receiving a more severe punishment. However, I really don't think any of the boys should be punished since the adults on the bus weren't doing their jobs in the first place. in my humble opinion.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I would have posted the same as Sharon. Your son should not be punished. Those words are horrible and it is good to discuss them but if anyone gets hit so hard in such a painful place and then there is blood...not probably a time that they are going to be polite. AND to his credit, he did not fight. I am a huge proponent of not using the R word. I have sent out tons of contracts and videos etc. to my nieces/nephews/their friends, etc. Sounds like they all just need to meet with someone who is trained in conflict resolution and learn the mature way to apologize for poor choices. Make it a life lesson not a lesson on public policy (zero tolerance) gone wrong.

    When stuff like this happens, I often say the adults need a time out.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I did a search on "zero tolerance", interested to know what it actually is. I found:
    A zero-tolerance policy in schools is a policy of punishing any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes, ignorance, or extenuating circumstances.
    If this is indeed what it is then it is, with apologies for my crude bluntness and in my humble opinion, a very stupid policy.
  11. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Whether or not the kid that hit your son was trying to be mean or was just trying to get his attention, hitting is hitting. If they feel that you son should be punished because he should have been able to control himself, the kid who hit him first should have been able to control himself, too, and not hit him to begin with.
  12. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Totally agree that this is a stupid policy and it only serves those who have to spend the time and effort to get to bottom of an incident-- it is so much easier to just blindly fall back on policy.

    My five year old difficult child was sent home and suspended for the next day for tripping a girl while playing duck, duck, goose. First of all, the whole point of that game is to run somebody down and keep them from getting where they are trying to go. Why would you ever play that game with 25 kinders, half of whom are rather aggressive little boys? There are lots of articles out about this policy and how useless and even harmful it is. If it actually reduced bullying and violence in our schools, that would be one thing, but it doesn't. Fuming at the injustice of that situation on the bus...
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    TAKE us to CHURCH!!!! I totally agree.

    AND that is why the reauthorization of IDEA, for those on IEP's says specifically that school administration can consider each and every behavioral infraction on a case by case basis and they are not obligated to zero tolerance policies in district manuals. BUT do they do that? nope they lie and say that Special Education kids must be punished like everyone else. NOT true. Just not true. It depends on the disability and the behavior. Where in the heck is common sense?
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Rhetorical question, right?

    I'm not sure common sense was ever all that common.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    This is one of my pet peeves with today's schools. Zero tolerance often means zero intervention. I hope you have success and I don't doubt for a minute they will pay more attention to you than they do to the less educated parent. by the way, where we live "fighting back" is considered to be "participating in disruptive conduct". The schools are "into" using local law enforcement...sigh!...and the policemen themselves think it is ridiculous as they grew up in the world where defending yourself was acceptable
    and detentions were the only punishment.

    The "old" members of the Board have read this before but I think it exemplifies "zero tolerance" Our five year old got an out of school suspension when in K because he put a tomato slice on his head. Good Grief! That is when I realized how insane the next twelve years were going to be. Good luck. DDD
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh wow, DDD! I am so relieved that they gave him a suspension for that. I bet if they hadn't by now that would have spread across the whole of north America and we would all be suffering with tomato head kids. Whew, dodged that bullet.
  17. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Tomato head kids - I had to laugh out loud at that.

    When difficult child was in K, he was sent to the principal's office for some infraction or another. While H and I were on conference lines with her, we heard her say to difficult child: "Oh, no, difficult child, you can't touch THOSE (apparently some small Disney figurines) - they're only for the GOOD children!" difficult child said "I AM a good boy. My mommy says so." The next thing we heard was the principal saying "Give that back to me" and then "Ouch" as difficult child gave it back to her by tossing it at her head. When she tried to suspend him, we refused and told her that she should have told him to put it back on the desk instead of "Give that to me now!" He wasn't suspended then.

    As for my current situation: It all worked out well. H put on his "law suit" and went to the school, armed with the copy of the school discipline code I had printed out and marked up. They finally admitted that my son did not deserve a punishment, that it was a mere reflex and just an unfortunate outcome. When H told the AP what the boy who was hit had said, she responded that she wasn't surprised, he has a filthy mouth. Nonetheless, my son is writing him a letter of apology because he was hit. I would like to see that boy apologize to my son but it's pretty irrelevant. H said that we don't want the "hitter" to be punished, just spoken to on appropriate bus behavior and better ways to get someone's attention. Apparently, he's a nice kid not a bully and was equally upset at the outcome.

    The main thing was that the school agreed with us that the supervision was lacking. H reminded them of an incident a number of years ago when 7th graders engaged in oral sex in the back of the bus because all of the teachers were clustered up front. It was discovered a week later because a boy overhead another boy bragging about having it occur and told his parents. I had thought that the policy had been changed then to require teachers to sit throughout the bus. The assistant principal (who was not there then) remembered and said the rule will be reiterated to teachers again. The whole thing could have been averted if a teacher had seen the kid up and out of his seat.

    My son told H that he is a better lawyer than son had expected him to be and he is pleased with the outcome!
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

    LOL, nice to have difficult child confirm that all that education was not a waste!