Please answer: regarding school calling police or mental health services...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by whatamess, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    The police were called on my 13 year old spectrum kiddo at school (in Oct). I feel like it was totally unjustified and actually provoked by staff, but what I say does not matter. I was told by the police that they would give a warning, but next time he would be arrested (for causing a disturbance). Last week a neuropsychologist (paid for and prompted by the school district's attoney) came to observe my child at school...all day. Apparently 95% of the day was spent by staff maintaining/controlling behavior and only 5% was spent on academics. The day ended with my child in seclusion for an hour. The neuropsychologist told everyone at the table that he was shocked they didn't call police or mental health services (I guess difficult child tipped over a computer monitor (no damage), rattled a door, threw his crocs off his feet, attempted to slap the arm of a teacher when he tried to leave the seclusion room, etc). I feel like although we have a behavior in plan in place (which was violated the day the police were called) that if staff get cranky enough, they will overide the plan (which involves calling me before the police) and call the police and difficult child will be arrested. difficult child has severe anxiety around strangers-that is why he always has one of only three staff members with him at all times. If the police were to come and 'cuff' him and take him away he would likely spit at them or become combative. I am worried enough about that possibility, but then the next scenario scares me even more.....can the school or the police call mental health services/inpatient psychiatric on my son and have him held/medicated and if so, for how long? Is there any way for me to prevent the school from doing so?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that I don'thave the answer to your question. I am, however, sending you my most caring thoughts of support.
    Is it a public school or a private school? Does he have an IEP in place?

    I don't know what to tell you except that an awful lot depends on the school personnel, the paperwork in place and the school plan. Where we live they have police on the actual campus for all middle schools and high schools. They do call the police from the elementary schools when there is a disturbance....which disturbs me a great deal. I know for a fact that a six year old was cuffed and taken to the Police Dept when whe was "out of control". The little girl was booked in.
    How tragic.

    I'm so sorry you are facing such a terrible situation. Hugs. DDD
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Sadly, they can call the police. The police can transport him to the ER or arrest him (their choice). In either case, it is now out of your control and they can keep him a minimum of 72 hours and possibly longer. A friend's 10 year old had this happen to him in October. It was horrible. The only way to prevent it is to homeschool, which often isn't a realistic possibility for kids like ours. As far as "forced" medication, I believe there are strict guidelines that must be followed but not knowing your state, it is impossible to tell what they are. In our state, at 12, my child can give their own consent for mental health treatment and medications.

    It is this fear that many of us live with --day after day -- as we put our child on a bus and pray.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I agree - the school and/or police can have him evaluated in the hospital if they determine he is a danger to self or others. I have a really hard time with- school calling police for behaviors but do understand that that seems to be how some districts are electing to "manage" things now - utterly ridiculous, in my humble opinion. I personally think it violates if not the letter of IDEA then at least the spirit - if a student cannot be suspended for more than 10 days due to behavior related to disability, then it seems to me they should not be able to be arrested at SD's request for the same behavior. At the same time, if the child's behavior is more than the staff can handle... well, they do need to have safe options. Ideally, calling you would be the better option, but some folks don't get that what they think is completely out of control behavior is just another day at the beach for us parents.

    Do you think your son is in an appropriate school placement? Seems pretty clear that actual "education" is not taking place in current setting - not saying that it would happen in a different one, but perhaps in a different setting you might find staff better trained to manage disruptive behaviors???

    I have to ask - what is your school's definition of "seclusion"? An hour seems awfully long, at least if it's the form of seclusion I'm thinking of.

    Sorry things are getting sticky. I really would suggest possibly looking at alternate placements - their own report certainly gives you enough documentation to request it, I would think.

    I wanted to add - it's been a while, but I seem to recall that prior to age of consent for psychiatric treatment (12 here), no medications could be given to my son while in the hospital without my consent. Even after he hit 12, most of the time any medication changes while inpatient were discussed with me, even though thank you legally had the right to consent or refuse. So if your son were to end up in the hospital, depending on age of consent in your state, hospital staff may very well need your permission to medicate.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Are you able to hang out near the school? At his very worst I would pack a lunch and some books and hang out in my car in the parking lot during the day. It allowed me to be there in seconds if they needed me.
  6. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    They don't want me there. At least the principal doesn't. I offered to stay, he said that doesn't change anything (meaning he still has behaviors the next day). I tried explaining that even if they call the police and he comes back, he will still have behaviors and that my purpose for coming is to give staff a break and calm my child. difficult child wants to go to this school. He doesn't want the police to be called, he just can't always control himself (hence the disability, right?!)
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  8. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member


    According to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -- Federal Law), your son is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

    Wrightslaw is one of the best sources on the internet to pinpoint exactly what his legal rights are.

    Does he have an IEP? This is an individualized plan put in place by a team, after an evaluation. They are obliged by law (IDEA) to provide, and pay for, the best FAPE for your son.

    You can put a request for an IEP in writing, and within 60 days the school must provide an evaluation for your son and come up with a plan.

    HTH some. Brush up on IDEA. Wrightslaw makes it easy. There are lots of links here at CD too, and you can utilize the SpEd forum here. It has gotten to the point where we need to know our rights, even though the schools are so short on resources that the needs of our kids sometimes still can't be met.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I didn't hang out in the school. In fact, neither Tigger nor staff knew I was there. When they called me, I was in the classroom in mere minutes and had the police ever been called, I would have been seen them arrive and could have hopefully defused the situation before it got further out of control.
  10. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    My son has an IEP as well as a detailed behavior plan and crisis plan. I have been working with my state's advocacy agency for over four years. They tell me that the behavior plan/IEP can be over ridden at any time and no consequence will happen to school personnel (other than an administrative slap on the wrist at best). So, when the lawyer tells you that...that essentially the iep and bip are 'promises' and nothing more- it makes your faith in the system waiver even more.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First of all, unless it is an emergency where his life is threatened, I do not think they can legally medicate him with-o your approval. Not just your knowing, your actual consent. You have the right to know what they are doing and what the medication is, what side effects are, what alternatives (and pros/cons of those) are, and why they think htis is needed.

    If the school says he cannot come to school with-o taking medication then the school MUST PAY for the doctor AND the medication. It is a federal law and NOT one they can "sneak" past by just not telling you it is their job to pay if they insist. I would think that that includes if they call and have him put inpatient and medicated before he comes back to school.

    It is a MAJOR reason that teachers are NOT supposed to tell you your kid has a specific disorder or needs a specific medication or even medication in general - they are NOT doctors and cannot demand this legally (some do it anyway until a parent wises up and sues them - but you need PROOF that they say this/demand it). I don't think that, so far, they are demanding medications for him. I do think that this may be coming.

    As for calling the cops, I don't think for elem school kids it is a good strategy. As a difficult child's parent I know there are times when a child is totally out of control and the school needs help. I also know it can happen with-o anyone knowing what happened to trigger it. I FIRMLY believe that htis is NOT the case AT ALL in most situations. In most of the situations it is a school or staff member who provokes the child and ignores what parents have tried to suggest to manage the behaviors in a reasonable and rational way rather than expecting every child to behave as demanded in our schools.

    At some point in puberty a child becomes as strong/big or even more of either of those things than the adults in his life. Many adults are threatened by this and react like bullies. Doesn't matter their role in a child's life (or adult's life), this behavior never results in anything good. We had a teacher who got together with the other teachers to convince my 7yo that he was stupid because he missed spelling errors on letters and notes home written BY THESE SAME TEACHERS. They also took his recess away for this and belittled him in front of the other kids. Then they couldn't understand why he acted out!! Gee, hmm, I wonder. While this is extreme, many adults do it in more subtle ways. Spectrum kids don't respond well to demands to do anything "right now" and teachers often do this as a matter of routine and "classroom control". I have a feeling your school has no interest in your child's opinion or viewpoint. Or yours. Sad, but not uncommon. Also a great way to get Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/spectrum kids to act out/rage if you want them to.

    Do you feel your son is safe in this school? Not the answer in your head. What is that niggling little voice you try to ignore because no one outside of your family ever agrees with it? If you feel he is at risk of being arrested because his disabilities and the behaviors that result from them, is he truly safe? If the answer is no, then please do what you can to find a better placement for him. I NEVER trust a school, daycare, hospital, etc... that doesn't want me there. We have ONE school in our district that is this way. They are on the "rich" side of town and every child in our district goes to middle school there. From 6 elementaries they go to 1 middle school and they do NOT want parents in the building. EVER. Unless you are on the PTA and NEVER use your voice to do anything but praise them. I am NOT exaggerating this. They wouldn't let me talk to teachers when my son attended - not even his sp ed teacher. Then they over=rode the things I didn't give consent for and he wound up in a psychiatric hospital for 4 months. In a major way they contributed to his severe problems and then worked to cover this up. The teacher even changed his IEP and forged my signature. It is very telling that at least 30% of the current teachers at that school have their own kids in the one private school in town or they homeschool or do online school to keep their kids away from this. The rate for private school/homeschooling in our district is roughly 6 % per the state board of ed where notification is sent.

    As they won't let you in the building to observe, something is going on that parents are not supposed to know about. If you look at ANY list of criteria for choosing a daycare, camp, school, etc... for a child one of the BIG red flags is only allowing parents to be there at specific times and not allowing them to drop in. I can see the disruption factor of parents dropping in willy nilly, but this is different. I once was able to see this school's lunchroom and WOW = the only adults in the room were the principal who was chatting up some student teacher and ignoring the students. He was sitting on a stage occasionally shouting into a microphone to "Shut the H Up you Mow-rons" (okie pronunciation for morons). Gee, this man was in "charge"?? When he noticed me he came and told me that I was NOT allowed to be there EVER and must leave HIS school immediately and if I had a problem then I could email him or call him and he would answer me when he "danm" well wanted to. This was just a few weeks before my son entered the psychiatric hospital, and by this point he was being given access to the internet under his teacher's ID and allowed to do whatever he wanted - which contributed greatly to him not knowing the difference between reality and fantasy at that time, per his docs.

    Your school is probably NOT doing these things, or this blatantly. They very well may be provoking your child. The neuropsychologist was on who's payroll? It sounded like the school was paying him and I would demand a private evaluation by another neuropsychologist (ask on the sp ed forum to find out how to get the school to have to pay for htis as they must pay for a second opinion, I am pretty sure.) Also if he hasn't been privately evaluated this needs to happen. School may use their influence iwth the neuropsychologist and/or other staff evaluators/docs to justify their behavior.

    Your son deserves a real education. period. And to be safe. From himself and from the school and other kids. It really sounds like another placement might be in his best interest. It is hard because our kids fear change and cannot imagine that any other place could be better (esp if this has been the school's treatment of him for some time). It is hard for US to see that a different placement might be great. I NEVER thought I would homeschool or have my child in a sp ed class all day. I have done both and both have been excellent. I have also had bad experiences. In our case it was the awesome sp ed teacher and her awesome aides that truly made my child able to attend school again - after the problems in 2nd grade we homeschooled for 2 yrs to save him from suicide (he tried seriously at age 7. twice.).

    Have you spoken to an educational attorney about your son's legal rights? You may have to go out of your town to find one willing to help you - the school system is powerful and often tie up any attorneys in the area to create conflict of interest so parents do not have that resource (being the child of a teacher and married to the child of a principal and counselor can give you helpful knowledge). They will be able to tell you if there is any way to keep the school from sending your child to an inpatient facility and medicating him with-o your knowledge. Also make SURE the school has your number (only one and always make sure it is answered if it is the school, or return the call asap if you cannot answer it). If they have more than one number for you they will figure out the one that is at home and call it while you are at work rather than your cell. Or have your home phone and other numbers roll to your cell. If possible let them know the phone number for difficult child's doctor and let the doctor know that if the school contacts them that you want them to call you ASAP and to NOT treat difficult child until the doctor speaks to you unless it is life threatening. I would also ask the atty if what the advocate told you is true. Also look into the State Board of Ed's disability dept AND the state's civil rights dept. It really sounds like your son's civil rights are or are likely to be abused/removed. MWM contacted someone at state level who got her SD to sit up, pay attention and do the right thing. SHe would know the name of the dept she contacted, and it likely has a counterpart in your state. I have found that some advocates are not on the student's side the way they shoudl be, but instead tell parents that many things that violate the laws are actually okay so the parents don't take it any further. Don't be afraid to question what the advocate tells you. She may be right, but she may not be.

    What have you told difficult child to do if this happens? He NEEDS to know that if the police are called then he is to ask for YOU and a LAWYER and NOT say anything until you and the lawyer are there. If a lawyer comes for the school and says they are there for him then they can be disbarred. No joke. You need to role play with your son how to act if he sees police so that he is able to protect himself. Let him know that if the school tries to get him to talk to the police with-o one that he is to be as quiet as he can and NOT believe them if they say you cannot come or you said it was okay. Inoculate him by role playing so that he is prepared as it sounds like they may be trying to make this happen. Meantime, get the private evaluations and see a lawyer. Call legal aid and the ACLU if you need to.

    Sorry this is so long - I am appalled and horrified, esp by their abusive and provoking behavior toward him. It really sounds like they want him out of there or medicated so that they don't have to deal with him (hence the hospital being considered).

    by the way, HOW do you knock over a computer monitor with-o damaging it? Have you EVER heard of that happening, esp with an upset kid involved? It just doesn't seem like a probable occurrence, esp if difficult child was upset and out of control. Makes me wonder what really happened, Know what I mean??
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There are two pathways I can see.

    1) You keep him there, eventually something will give way and police will be called. Maybe not the next time, but sooner rather than later. Not good.

    2) You pull him out and home-school.

    Looking at these options, you might say, "Home schooling is not practical, he would learn hardly anything." So how different is that from what is happening now? If you can get an hour's education into him each day on average, you would be at least equal with what is happening now. Chances are, you would be well ahead.

    You could keep him there and force the school to comply; except the more you find out, the more you are realising that you can't. Also, your son is the one who will suffer. And then you, because he will have been incarcerated and almost certainly given a record.

    To me it's a no-brainer. Even if you work full-time, you should be able to have him t home unsupervised with access to computer-assisted learning, and have him learn more than he is currently. And he wouldn't be in danger of hitting anyone.

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    On the homeschooling thought - there are a lot of homeschool groups that are amazing resources. You can also google for free online schools in your state. MANY states are offering this option now and it has extended far past high school in lots of places. Here in OK it works as early as 6th grade - and is FREE to the student though they do not provide computers. They ARE public schools and ARE subject to IDEA and other rules like traditional schools. I know a family who even got assistive technology in the form of a current version of the alphasmart (not sure the latest name but a kid friendly laptop that is just for educational use) paid for by the school. Here we are paired with an actual school district and they do the paperwork and provide stuff liek that. Chances are your local school isn't going to tell you about this, so go online if you are interested.

    You can also look for therapeutic schools if they are near enough that your child could go there each day. The school MUST pay for this if they cannot educate your child. From what their neuropsychologist says, they cannot and are not, so if you can get that in writing you might be well on your way.

    Be aware that it is commonly advised to take a full year to adjust to homeschooling. Not to decide, but to see if it is working. Both of you have to unlearn a lifetime's worth of training into what "school" is and isn't, and figure out what will work for your family.
  14. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    We homeschooled through our school district's online charter for 3 years. Neither difficult child or I want to do that again. He wants to go to school. He has a captive audience of peers that I cannot give him at home. I will h/s if I have to in order to keep him safe, but it is truly not the best option for either of us.
  15. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What about an alternative school?

    I understand your son's desire to go to school. But it appears that only 5-10% of his day is learning. The social aspect of school is getting lost with all this removal. And, the other students are observing his behaviors and may shortly begin to judge him - then the social aspect of school may backfire.

    Has this ever been discussed by the school? I would think the state's advocate would have mentioned it by now if it were an option.

  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just thought of something else. Does the school have a "quiet room" that is used for children who get out of control? We never walked in your shoes but as a former PTA officer I spent alot of time in the schools and "saw" trained personnel walking children to the "quiet room" in a controlled but not violent way. Is that part of his IEP? DDD
  17. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Yes, a seclusion room is part of his plan, but that part was not followed on the day the police were called in Oct. and his behavior escalated. I think staff attitude has changed a lot over the course of the fall (and previous winter) and he is now actively trying to leave the seclusion area.
  18. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

  19. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hey whatamess,

    I'm just stunned that the law can be ignored like that, and that the law is treated like a promise instead of the law of the land.

    Sounds like you have done everything humanly possible. Sorry I was pontificating about IDEA when you've BDTD a million times.

    Sending hugs.