this is gonna be aweful....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ready2run, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    we moved over the summer so the kids will be starting at new schools this year. for difficult child there is no option for a school. he has to go to the school with a Special Education department because he needs the help and can't function in class but they have decided that he isn't disabled enough to go the school he should be going to, where they have an autism program and sensory rooms and every possible tool he could need. so instead he will be put in a Special Education class with a bunch of loud kids which he can't handle. and on top of that they have decided that since there are only 8 kids in the class that difficult child will no longer need his one-to-one EA. sooo...i met my new social worker today who is supposed to help me fight the school to get him the things he needs and she tells me that they have tried to work with the school before and they refused to accomidate anything for the other kids, like sensory boxes or quiet areas they can go when overwhelmed. then she told me that the principle was 'difficult' so i asked who it was. turns out it's my old teacher who hated me and used to center me out and humiliate me in front of the class. last time i saw her i'd had it up to 'here' after being called lazy and a liar and i threw a ball at her and told her where to go for which i got expelled and had to repeat the grade because i refused to apoligize to her for being defiant as i had been treated so rudely by her...*sigh* i have been stressed all day about this and i am dreading going in there. i remember sitting for hours a week off to the side having to copy the dictionary for minor things like not having matching socks and not wanting to play volleyball with a broken hand. i forgot all about this lady until today. homeschool is looking better and better, that's all i have to say. so am i supposed to just go in there and pretend all this history never happened? should i say something? i hope she doesn't take it out on my kids. should i tell her that i remember and won't sit back and watch her put my kids through that? it seems like they are saying that if difficult child actually needs all of these 'exceptions' that he would qualify to go to the special school and that since he doesn't he's not all that disabled. if that is right they will eat their words within a couple weeks i'm sure. i have decided that if they still refuse to have a 1-on-1 ea for him i won't be available to pick him up for behaviour problem issues. i could send easy child to a different school if need be but i don't drive and it will be a huge hassle taking him there as the bus only runs on the hour and it's really, really cold here in the winter.
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Wow. Sounds like this could be a bad thing for all involved. I think I would not remind her of the past and hope that time, age and experience have allowed her to become a better educator. I would make it clear to the school that you do not drive and cannot come pick difficult child up, that it would be a great hardship for you to do this. Good luck.
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    OH. MY. WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just hit the "perfect storm" of the educational world, haven't you?

    ((((HUGS)))) and support headed your way.

    And yes, I think in a few weeks, being in a rambunctious class, they may very well decide he is 'disabled enough' for the special school.
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I'm sorry this isn't going to make you feel better. I have found that when the problem is with the school personal I can't win. You could fight for the services difficult child needs, but be prepared to use the legal system. I have no idea what the legal system is in Canada. I would not expect her to have changed and if she punished you for mis-matched socks what would she do to a difficult child? The teachers and principal (mostly) band together and you will not know what is going on in that school to difficult child. Homeschooling does look like a good option. You have to consider the cost to difficult child's self-esteem, academic education (he isn't going to learn if his other needs aren't being met), and to your family with your decision to homeschool or fight this awful school.

    Is there any way to contact the other parents? Have everyone with there difficult child's at the district office protesting the bad treatment this school gives their children? No kids to teach and the crappy sp ed teacher who won't accommodate to the kids needs will be out of a job and if the media get a hold of it the horrid principal won't look good. Just an improbable idea. People like this give the good teachers a bad name and really make me mad.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    wow...perfect storm exactly. Im so sorry.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That's school-admin-speak for "you're new to the school, so we won't do much for you until we've had a year to do our own evaluations" OR "that program is already full with kids who were here last year, and the cut-off date for apps was last Jan, so... try again next year".

    Yes, if it gets bad enough, they WILL make room. Maybe.

    One of your challenges is that - unless there's something new in Ontario - for the most part, in Canada, we don't have the legal strength behind IEPs and other such docs. Oh, there's policy and procedure at the ministerial level (provincial), but no real "laws" that benefit complex kids like ours. And especially... no concept of a behavioral IEP.
    So often, schools make behavior to be "the" problem, but won't make the changes that are necessary to get different behavior.

    The Canadian way to handle this is political, not media, and not legal. Its the political level that sets policy and procedure - and the political level doesn't like being made to look bad because "some handicapped kids" aren't being treated even reasonably. It takes time and effort - but you cannot do it on the basis of one kid. You need the other parents who have kids with issues, to be on-side as well. Meet together, form some sort of an association (even if not registered) - "Parents of Challenging Kids in Northern Ontario", or whatever. Brainstorm the common problems, come up with a creative list of possible solutions, document the negative outcomes - short term and long term - if these kids' needs are not met. By presenting in a group, they have less ability to hid behind "confidentiality issues". Its not "one kid's story", its statistics.
    You have to start with the school board. They will tell you there isn't much you can do. But you have to go there first, before you'll get anywhere going to the ministry of education.

    I'm not sure if the Ontario Ombudsman has managed to gain authority to intervene in schools yet, or not - I do know that office was trying really hard to expand their mandate. They would also be useful to pull into the debate if you can.

    The group approach will generate some press - but it won't be about the kids as much as about this group of parents who are trying to change the school system. Numbers matter - even if its only 20 parents, its 1000x more impact than 1 or 2. Trust me... a group of 20 parents hardly fits in most school-board meeting rooms. And yes, ALL of you should show up. Every time. There is impact in numbers.

    Meanwhile, life goes on... be prepared to need a Plan B and a Plan C,D,E, etc. Really. The school system will throw as many left curves at you as they can get away with. You may need to have difficult child home for some period of time - but NOT formally home-schooled - in order to force the issue. But it has to come after things blow up pretty badly. I hate going there... but often you have to.

    Good luck!
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is exactly why we have chosen to risk serious financial loss by NOT moving... rather than move and lose the supports we've just spent years putting in place.
    Its not fair - but it is reality for parents of difficult child kids. If we lose the house... well, hopefully we can keep the stuff that matters most.
  8. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    wow....wouldn't it be nice to have the time and energy left to put something like that into play? i don't think i have the strenght to go there. it is a struggle for me more days than not to just make it through the day without doings something regretable. i moved here because i am from here and i thought there would be more support available as i have family here.... i will look into other parents and see if anyone would like to help out if i were to find the energy to pull off something like this.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The key is in how you present it. DON'T take on the leadership role. Take on a mother-hen role. Pull the group together... but then, let the political ones take over. Some of these kids have parents who are doctors, engineers, and such... often, this parent isn't so involved in the day-to-day issues at school... but when (if) you get a group of THOSE together and get a fire lit... THEY will take over the process for you. A handful will have access to $$ to help with the fight - might not show up much, but the $$ helps too. If your job is to keep the group working together, you often end up with the lighter job (in terms of work). Help be the glue that holds it all together, and others can carry the load.

    If you can just get the ball rolling... it often ends up with a life of its own. I haven't managed to do that here... can't reach the other parents, because they don't even know about the problems their kids have!
  10. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    When it became clear that my son's school did not even know how to treat his dyslexia I knew the two main choices are to provide the support myself (higher a very expensive private therapist) or fight the school (I.e sue). Once you bring in a lawyer you tear down all possible communications. So I tried to work with the school and I provided the private additional support. It worked reasonably well, but only because I had the resources that I could provide it.

    In your case it sounds like there is no possibility for communications, and you can not let them fail to provide your child with what he needs. But, you should also give them a chance to provide it. Meet with them, explain his needs and hear them out. Don't let them bully you, and stand up. I would have a hard time at this meeting, because all the bad memories would come flooding out and I would cry at the wrong times. So bring a box of tissues and keep fighting even then.

    Then after they have had a chance to provide the proper services, consider contacting a lawyer. One that specializes with providing services to disabled students. Keep posting here for ideas and solutions for the problems that you know will come up. Maybe work with a counselor to resolve any buried issues that you will have to address. A
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Meetings with the school... is there anyone on his (or your) care team that would be willing to attend the school meeting with you? We had one therapist that was willing to be brought in for "challenging discussions" - situations where we felt emotion might come into the discussion and derail the meeting. It can really help to have an "outside expert" there who backs the need for the things you are asking for... while keeping the discussion rational AND supporting you.
  12. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    so some good and some bad at the meeting today. well, actually it turned into 2 meetings. first i went in with the worker, met the teacher she seemed nice. the VP is my highschool math teacher that i crushed on for years. so that was good, i guess as he did smile and come over to shake my hand when he saw me and he got right down to difficult child's level to talk to him. things did not go as well with the principle. so when i was listing off difficult child's needs she kept saying 'don't have that' and 'don't do that' which was really making me mad. she asked me if someone had promised me all those things because she could not provide them. i told her no they weren't promised to me, they were necesarry to have difficult child at school without hurting anyone or himself or running away. so i guess we argued a bit and i stood my ground, quite loudly as it was necessary. i was fuming when i left. difficult child's worker said i did well and told me to fill out the papers and take them back anyways and that we would discuss homeschooling later. the one good thing that came out of that meeting was that i found out from the principle that the school actually has a care and conduct(or something like that) class in the school which is not actually run by the school itself but by other agencies. they focus on behaviour problems and work on teaching the kids how to sit in class and not to talk back or whatever the issue of the day is. so, i went home and called that agency which i will be meeting with next week after they have a chance to get and look over his paperwork to see if they think he qualifies.
    then i filled out the paper work for the kids that will be going to that school and brought it back. the principle was the one in the office she did the photocopies and she told me that she doesn't know what to do, she keeps getting more special needs kids and the board won't give her any extra ea's. they just keep telling her she already has an ea in the class, which is true but not enough for the amount of Special Education kids there because this school has a disporportionate amount of disabled kids. she said the sk class where my 5yo will be has 5 already plus mine, two who are non-verbal and one in a wheelchair, all share one ea. the grade one class has 6, the Special Education class is 9 kids and each room only has one ea. so i told her what insanecdn said about getting all the parents together and maybe the staff too since it would benefit them, and she said if i can find the time to pull something together the school would certainly back me up. i think it's horrible, actually that the board is doing this. i'm sure it's because we are not in the 'main' city the board represents because i just moved from there and the ea's in the schools there are only for one child, sometimes two. they don't stretch them out like they do here. like how is one ea supposed to cover 6 or more special needs kids? it's not even possible!!! so anyways, the principle has told me not to bring difficult child to school next week as she is calling the board and telling them he cannot be in her school without an ea because he has too many needs, and she is going to try to help get him into the behaviour class instead of Special Education. as for the other things he needs, i suppose i will have to take that up with his ea and his teacher and look elsewhere in the community for resources. i am also considering starting fundraising events to help find money to put together a sensory area for the kids that need it. there is no reason a school with that many kids should not have one.
  13. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Way to go! That went much better than I was fearing.
  14. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    thanks. yes, it did go alot better than i thought it was going to. didn't think i would have it in me to demand things and argue back but i did just fine. :) i guess i am going to end up being one of those warrior moms, like it or not.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure "used to think" is the right term anymore.
    SuperMom - Warrior Mom - all in the same line of thinking.

    Great job on getting the school on the same page - not in terms of instantly delivering what difficult child needs... but they are willing to believe what you are saying about his needs - lots of us don't get that far so easily. They are pushing the problem up a level - saying its the board or the district - at that level, political wrangling has more clout. And they have specifically told you that there are lots of parents in the same situation in that school...

    Way to go!
  16. keista

    keista New Member

    Way to go! Careful, you might find yourself becoming an activist!
  17. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    I beg to differ with the political comments for Canadian schools, though it may be a variable for northern rural areas (where I am). Let me tell you they didn't like the idea of a lawyer from the Children's Advocacy Group here in Ontario when it came to my Special Education kids. They were dragging their feet on "paperwork" and even lost paperwork. The moment I spoke to a lawyer and told them I did (board of directors at the school board, went over their heads at the school staff level) the same day that paperwork was found, it was completed and one kid got transfered to a school for exceptional children. I only threatened it, didn't even make good on it but let them know in no uncertain terms that I would back down EVER from it if push came to shove. The school hates me, oh and another of my kids got transfered to the LEAD program (Special Education program) that day too.

    Boy does that school tow the line now with me.
  18. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That one only works if you are in Ontario... it seems like very few other provinces come close to having this kind of service available.
  20. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Do they do have limited links in other areas, including an American one. I think this type of advocacy group should be present all across the board for all provinces, states and countries. It can be a God-send for many parents. However, there ARE lawyers in all provinces that do deal with educational law. Perhaps consulting with one on the phone might give you a few ideas and tactics, even tools in dealing with the issues are having.