school suspension unfair?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by stuck, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. stuck

    stuck New Member

    Hello everyone I'm new here so bear with me.I need some advice about my son being suspended from school for telling a student he did something to another students water bottle,(said he put his penis in it) which he didn't actually do, and he also told the student whose water bottle it was, that he was just joking. I realize this "joke" is very inappropriate but a 10 day suspension? And a month ago he was suspended for 3 days because he and a few of his classmates made a joke about spitting on a girl.(They never said anything directly to the girl, it was only talked about between these boys)Again, I know it was inappropriate to joke about such things. Then while my son was in the principals office one of the boys actually did spit on the girl and my son got suspended.He was not even in the vicinity when it occured, he was with the principal. I should mention that this principal has been trying to get me to put my son in a 'special" class(which my son says he will refuse to participate in) since the end of the last school year.I have had many meetings to come up with(in thier words) a "strategy" to keep him on task and in line, and they have not followed through on one thing.I have a sneaky suspicion that the numbers are down in the "special" class and they need more students in the class to continue the funding for it. I know my son and he WILL shut down if I tranfer him to that class.It just feels like they are trying to force me to do something that I believe will hurt my son in the long run.Also, in past meetings with the principal he told me that he NEVER has a problem with my son in his class. Go figure
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. There is help here. Not necessarily with this specific problem, because it sounds to me like there are other underlying problems here not only with your son's behaviour (and possibly choice of friends) but also with the school's approach.

    My help with the school is fairly limited, since I'm from another country where things are done a little differently. What the school has done could be acceptable, if they apply the same standards equally to all students. If they do not, then they are being discriminatory.

    You also should have the right to appeal. There should be some more directed help on tis over in the Special Education forum.

    It will help if you can do a sig for yourself and your family, that way you don't have to keep explaining the family dynamics every time you post.

    What is your son's diagnosis (if any)? What sort of problems do you have with him? What have other people said to you? On what grounds do the school feel they can push for a special placement? Who has assessed your son? How old is he?

    About the drink bottle thing, I suspect they are alleging that what he did/said he did constitutes sexual harassment. I must admit, it is how I would perceive it. But a lot of this depends on what sort of history your son has, especially what sort of experience this girl has also had with this sort of thing (ie how upset this has made her). It also connects to how old he is/how old she is.

    Personally, the best way to handle this is to sit him down and explain just why it is wrong to even joke about it. About how it makes the girl feel. He needs to be made to understand just WHY this is not okay. Suspension won't do this. If anything, it rewards bad behaviour with time off school. A better punishment would be to help him understand why it is wrong, and THEN make him apologise to the girl, to sit down and sort it out between them. He needs the equivalent of a victim impact statement to really hit home to him. Ditto with his friends.

    I would be worrying about where these ideas are coming from. Is this burgeoning testosterone? Not knowing how to appropriately interact with girls? Maybe he likes this girl (or doesn't like this girl) and doesn't know how to deal with it. Maybe he and his "mates" are trying to big-talk each other up as sexual creatures, and are fantasising about watching that girl drink form a bottle, and what if it wasn't a bottle she was so avidly draining, but something a lot more intimate? He needs to know that just because other lads talk like this, it is NOT acceptable or appropriate.

    Some kids learn by following examples set by others around them. They don't learn "Do as I say," but instead are more focussed on "Do as I do." If so, they need to learn that some kids are not good role models, even if they tell him they are.

    Social issues sound like a problem, along with other things.

    Sorry you're dealing with this. Maybe you could approach the school with a more useful and productive punishment option. Failing that - change schools. He may, for a while, need to be home-schooled, to get him away from relying on the wrong kids for social instruction.

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't read Marg's response because I'm in a rush to go check my dinner so pardon me if I repeat something she's said.

    First, welcome!!

    Second, could you let us know your child's age and if he's ever seen a therapist (therapist) or psychiatrist (psychiatrist). Most of our kids (difficult child) here have so please don't take that as an insult- our kids need extra help and we parents do, too since they are challenging to raise.

    That being said, many school systems (sd) punish kids these days for what I call "typical misbehavior", meaning that the behavior really isn't out of the norm for a child that age and in a given circumstance. However, many of those punishments go to extremes. It's difficult to tell for sure if this is what your sd has done without knowing more specifics, but it does sound like your son did warrant some punishment, as you acknowledge.

    If your son has been labeled as a "bad" kid or is targeted by people in the sd and is "always" getting in trouble at school, I would suggest going along with their plan to get him on an IEP. (I am assuming that he's not already on one and that this is what they are wanting to initiate by trying to get you to agree to a "special" class.). But don't worry too much- being on an IEP does not necessarily mean a special class. If he does need to be in a Special Education class, so be it. But based on the little info you have provided, he would not. What an IEP does offer you him (and you) is that 1) they can't place him in any specific place without your permission/agreement (with a few exceptions) because you will be a part of the IEP team and then your suggestions of how to deal with him at school must be considered, 2) he is protected from excessive suspensions and other extreme punishments to a certain extent but moreso than he has now, and 3) whatever he mmight need in the way of support or help to stay out of trouble can be addressed thru the IEP. A student can have an IEP and stay in mainstream classes- especially if the only issues are the type of behavior you are describing.

    He would need to be evaluated and determined to need an IEP before getting one. I would suggest having this evaluation done privately instead of the sd doing it, if possible. Actually, they might still do their own but they have to consider the results of one you get privately, too. This would involve testing by a neuropsychologist and he/she will have you and at least one teacher at school complete forms about the behavior as part of it. Some (most) insurance companies won't cover the entire cost so that could play into whether or not you can get this done. But I would have a hard time trusting the results of a sd's evaluation alone under these circumstances. Once a sd starts treating a student as nothing but a behavior problem, you need to get outside sources to back up that he's not and get supports for him in school to make sure he doesn't get forced into a roll that will eventually lead him into slipping thru the cracks instead of an appropriate education.

    Oh- I am assuming you are in the US. If you get confortable with it, it might also help to let us know the state or country you are in.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I haven't had time to read the other responses so I hope I'm not repeating.

    First off, welcome-glad you found us, sorry you needed to. I think a 10 day suspension is very unfair. While what your son did was inappropriate it does not warrant a 10 day suspension. Does your son have an IEP? If so if he is suspended for a total of 10 days during a school year they need to do a manifestation determination to see if his behaviors are part of his disability. If so, he cannot be suspended for those behaviors.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    What does 'special' class mean?
    Does your son have a behavioral problem or a mental health diagnosis? Is the school aware?
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and Welcome!

    At my kids' school the discipline is progressive...In other words, the first offense may be only one days suspension, the second offense is three days, the third is five days and the fourth is 10 days, etc until expulsion

    My son once ended up with a ten day suspension for what I considered a very minor offense--BUT because he had been in trouble so often that year...he had worked himself up to the ten days.

    It ended up being a very good lesson for him. He learned that it was not the offense that mattered as much as the "bad reputation" he was developing for himself. The following year he put in a huge effort and really turned himself around.

    I don't know all the details, of course, but I wonder if your school has a similar policy? If so, is there any way that your son could learn from it?

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    "Zero tolerance" has given schools a bunch of options with "iffy" behavior.
    As others have said it has been my experience that administrators seem to be suspension happy. on the other hand it really does matter what his overall conduct seems to reflect. Not knowing how old he is it makes it difficult to judge the school's choices. Not knowing his pattern makes it difficult to weigh in on his behaviors.

    I'm sorry you are having difficulty and very glad you found us. All in all this CD family has experience with almost every type of problem so you will not feel alone. (In K our easy child/difficult child got a one day suspension for putting a slice of tomato on the top of his head in the cafeteria!) Feel free to share with us. It will make you feel to share with us. Hugs. DDD
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    See if the school has a book on parental rights. Read it an appeal the suspension. It is an over kill. Then also request testing and an IEP be developed.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, ana. Your post risks being lost because it is tacked on to someone else's. Please post again, give us more information about what happened in your son's specific case.

    As for your request for IEP - put your request in writing. Hand-deliver two copies. Make them sign both copies, you sign both copies. Take one home as proof you have notified them on such and such date, and they have acknowledged receipt. Doing tis should scare the pants off them enough to actually DO what you have asked, and what they are legally required to do.

  10. ana31406

    ana31406 New Member

    Hey Marg,
    Thankyou for your advise, yet who is the appropriate person to hand deliver my hand written request? Also since i'm very new at this and posting, i apologize for tacking my post on someone else, i don't even know what that means since i don't post messages much in threads or forum hardly, i have just replied to a few in the past. Please let me know how i can post my message properly since i'm new to this site. Thanks again.

  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi again. I'm not sure where your first post went to, mine is now left hanging!

    To start a new thread, go back to the main forum (General is a good one to start with), go to the top of the page and click on "new post". It's in a big button. Give it a heading of your choice (such as "IEP query" or "How can I get the school to help?") then start writing your question or concern. Just follow the steps.

    Now, the right person to give your written request to - the main point is to make sure it is received officially. You give it to someone who will make sure the request is followed through with. The janitor is not the right person, for example. I've handed mine to the school principal, or the class teacher, or the school counsellor, or even the office secretary. Not always IEP request in our case - sometimes it as just formal paperwork to do with medication at school or some other concern (such as my long-running battle over the school's discipline policy).

    The aim is for you to have a record that you have ensured the school received your request in writing. You have a copy proving it was received, so if the person who received it did not pass it on to the correct person for action, it is the school's problem, not yours.

    What you can do is go to the school and ask them, "Who is the right person to give this to, to ensure it is actioned?"

    If you have your copy, you have proof the school received your request. If the school claims to have lost it or the right person didn't see it - not your problem. You have proof they were asked on a certain date, you can go over their heads and say, "they have not met their legal requirement in responding to my request for an IEP."

    The school will know you can do this. If they don't, they deserve the rap over the knuckles they will get.

  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Ana, and welcome.

    First off, you're doing fine with- your posting. I am going to start a new thread to welcome you so that your post doesn't get lost.;) You'll see one that says "Welcome Ana31405". If you can just tell us again about what's going on, you'll get some welcomes, support, and ideas.

    Again, welcome!
  13. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Stuck, and welcome!

    The thing that really strikes me is that you state principal has been trying to get your son placed in a special education class, yet has now suspended him for more than 10 school days in 1 year. Since he's been trying to move your son, he is aware that your son may potentially have a disability, so he's made a big goof in suspending him now for 10 days on top of the prior 3 without scheduling an evaluation or mtg with you to discuss placement. An IEP does not have to be in place for the 10-day rule to apply - the district simply has to be aware of the possibility of a disability.

    I'm going to assume, based on the his offense, that your son is in early elementary school. A 10-day suspension is very much over the top. He was not violent, didn't threaten anyone. It's beyond overkill. As someone else mentioned, you need to get a copy of the district's policy on suspensions, as well as the appeal process.

    Has anyone from the district ever asked your permission to do an evaluation on him, to determine if he qualifies for Special Education services? If not, based again on principal's efforts to get son moved to a sped class, they have grossly failed the child find requirements, and that is a procedural violation that could get them into serious hot water for failing to implement IDEA (sped law).

    Plan of action, in my opinion, would be first to get copy of district policy and get an appeal going today. Secondly, you need to request a sped evaluation. In your written request to Special Education director (sent certified, and I'd send a copy to principal to get him to pipe down), you need to state very clearly that principal has been trying to move son to sped class (I'm assuming) without an evaluation, yet has also handed down suspensions totaling 13 school days without initiating evaluation or any other interventions, in clear violation of IDEA since apparently principal is suspecting disability.

    Next, I'd strongly recommend you educate yourself and/or find an advocate to help you with- Special Education laws. is a great resource. The district is required to provide free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in least restrictive environment (LRE). A self-contained Special Education classroom is more restrictive than a reg. ed. classroom. Changes in placement (which actually means changes in *services* provided to your son) should be done in a step-wise progression. If your son is receiving no sped services currently, no supports in red ed classroom, a move to a self-contained classroom does not meet FAPE in LRE. They should provide services in reg ed classroom first. Actually, the very *first* thing they need to do is evaluate your son to determine if he requires sped services at all.

    Also, if you could do a signature (see the "To newer members" thread at the top of this forum), it would help us keep your details straight.

    Again - welcome! Hang in there. Dealing with SDs can be really challenging sometimes. The best thing you can do right now for your son is cram on sped law.