Friday, January 25, 2008

Let justice be served...preferrably with ice cream.

(This will be long, but should be fairly easy to follow in 3 parts)
I got a call last evening from V. She's the special ed supervisor over the elementary schools.

(Part 1)
"Hi, this is V, I'm calling on behalf of the principal."
(oh? now the principal is refusing to talk with me as well?)
"Hi there V".
"I wanted to follow up with you- Jaysen should have his substitute teacher in place for him next Tuesday."
"Awesome!"
"He doesn't have any formal training with ASD, but he's coming from the middle school and has worked with ASD kids and explosive behaviors, so Jaysen shouldn't be anything he hasn't seen before. I'm thinking this will be a good match because he is familiar with students with disabilities, and he's a gen.ed teacher, so he's also familiar with gen.ed curriculum. He'll be able to support Jaysen the way that he needs."
"That's great. I'm really excited about this."
"I also understand you've been concerned about Jaysen's seating arrangement?"
"Yes. I feel that by sitting him off in a corner, with no other kids around him, is reinforcing the message to the class that it is okay to segregate him from the group."
"Well, we're looking at this being a temporary placement."
"I don't care how temporary of a placement you're thinking. This is not right."
"I realize that we are punishing the victim here, but I don't see any other options. We're hoping to do this for a week or two, then ease him back in with the classroom seating."
"V, he's once again being punished for something that is not his fault. You can't keep allowing this to happen. He needs to be included with his peers."
"The problem is...Jaysen's relationship with his peers...is, well...extremely...fractured."
(No shit, lady. I wonder why that is?)
"I understand, but you can't tell me that you expect me to believe that every kid in that class thinks he's a monster. "
"Of course not."
"Then sit him with those kids. He told me last night that there were three kids in particular that were really nice to him. Why can't you take those three kids into the hallway and ask them who would like to volunteer to be Jaysen's helper? Then you have those kids that want to help, sit at his table. There's more room at the round table, and they will be able to see that the behavior is being handled by the sub, and they may even pick up on some ways that they can help Jaysen too."
"That's a really good idea. I hadn't even thought of sitting kids with him. I don't see any reason we can't do that."
(duh.)


(Part 2)
"Now, while I have you on the phone, I would like to address the anxiety concern."
"Yes, I'm aware of the concern that parents are feeling anxious about the situation."
"That's only part of it, V. We're now on the receiving end of sideways glances, kids being shuffled away from Jaysen, parents talking about us and confronting me about my parenting abilities and our home situation. This has got to stop."
"I agree. But sometimes confrontation makes things worse, just so you know. What would you like to do?"
"At this point, there has been too much damage done. If we ignore it, it's allowing it to continue. I think confrontation is the only option, and it needs to start with his teacher. I know firsthand that she has discussed issues concerning my son, to other parents- because it's coming back to me. She is the one who is creating this anxiety- she is the one who can lull it."
"I wasn't aware of that. It's hard to disagree with you, when I agree with you. Sp.ed or Gen.ed it doesn't matter. She can't be allowed to do that. I will talk with her and the principal tomorrow."

I hope she tears into her like Fat Albert into a bag of chips.

I want to feel a bit relieved, but every time I think things are getting taken care of- something else happens to double the drama. I am keeping my fingers crossed, but my guard is still up.


(Part 3)
Now check this out:
When I dropped Jaysen off at school this morning, I told his sp.ed teacher of last night's conversation. She advised me to keep tracking the conversations. She is keeping her own copy of her interactions as well. Then she said the strangest thing that actually gave me chills.

"If I end up losing my job over this, all of my documentation will then belong to you. I will help you take down the system."

*shudder*

There is way more to the story. She knows something. She apparently knows a lot of things that I don't. What the hell are they?!?

"I will help you take down the system."

Those words are haunting me.
Damn...I want to know.

13 comments:

Jodi said...

"It's hard to disagree with you, when I agree with you" ??

That's a weird statement.

Hang in there.

mommy~dearest said...

Yes- I found that one and "we're punishing the victim" to be especially interesting myself.

Jessica said...

Wow. That was certainly an interesting conversation. I would be dying to know what "I will help you take them down" meant too. If only you could be a fly on the wall.

misha_k said...

That teacher needs to be fired. Plain and simple. What she's doing is wrong. Just the fact that you're getting confronted by other parents because of things she's said is completely inappropriate.

I'm glad things are falling into place for Jaysen and he'll have his sub with him. I hope having classmates that will be sitting with him will send a message to the other students. Though the words the spec. ed. teacher said has me wondering too what's going on.

Ashley's Mom said...

Sounds to me like the 'system' needs taking down. You are a parent who fights for her child, and things still go bad. Think about the kids who parents don't fight, for whatever reason. If the 'system' does this to you and your child, I wonder what happens to those other children.

mommy~dearest said...

Funny you should mention that- the Director of Special Services for the elementary schools told my father that although I'm a "pain in the butt, she really likes working with me". She was referencing parents that just dump their kids at the mercy of the schools and don't fight for what's in their best interest.

All of the drama that we've been through with the schools...ush ...and it sucks- but I'm just hoping that by me barreling my way through there, I'm helping to pave the way for the next kids. They'd better get used to it and listen up because there's a lot more "Jaysens" to come.

Ashley's Mom said...

That's one of the things that keeps me being a pain in the butt also. Definitely, Ashley is my first priority, but I really hope I am making a difference for other children also. It's the reason I plowed ahead with my due process rather than accepting a deal to settle that my school district offered. The deal would not have been made public. Winning due process means other families can benefit from the court's decision.

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

Those words ARE haunting - I'd be wanting to know more too!!!

Marla said...

There is a lot going on here. I feel for you. Hang in there!

LAA and Family said...

Wow, there really is a lot going on there. This is bringing back memories of when my son was in school and having to deal with teachers/administration who just won't directly talk about what is really going on! Around here, I get the feeling that teachers aren't at liberty to talk freely to parents. It's hard for both sides, but the bottom line is that your son needs a good place to learn. Good luck getting to the bottom of this!

Pickel said...

jodi,
in the school system it is not a weird comment. a teacher who is fighting for the child will often say something like that because she KNOWS there is something bad going on within the school.

AJ's teacher last year was the same way. she filed grievance after grievance and eventually guit before they could fire her.

try to get a hold of those documents now to see what is really going on because if they really are NOT following his IEP they you have a right to know about it. Or, simply ask his teacher if things are not being done correctly. She obviously knows what is going on and so I would think she would make sure everything is done righ but you never know...

Angela said...

My youngest has similar issues. *sigh* There are kids in the class that know she can be easily manipulated because she lacks the understanding of social situations. Combine that with sensory issues (i.e. touch issues) and it spells trouble.

Right now we have three boys that continually pick on my daughter and repeatedly get her into situations at school.

Example:

Boys: It's okay Jessica. We're all paying kungfu. Go up to Trey and do some moves. The teacher said we could play."

And my daughter, who is so starved for acceptance and to try to make friends does it thinking it is okay because in her mind, these are peers and you are supposed to trust them. In the end, guess who gets in trouble and who doesn't?

I repeatedly tell the school that these kids are tormenting my daughter. When she starts shutting down, she goes into rage fits and usually ends up hitting or biting someone then runs off and curls up in a corner somewhere. It should never get to that point. When she goes to a monitor, aid or teacher and complains of a situation because it is becoming too much to handle, she should not be dismissed or told it is all in her head and to go away (which has happened way too often). So when the breakdown happens, guess who gets in trouble...

At one point during the year they started sitting my daughter at a table by herself away from the other kids. Why? Because I was told that if she isn't near the kids who cause her problems, then it won't be a temptation for then mess with her and get Jessica "in trouble". Why should my child be punished because these three boys constantly try to cause problems for her because they "think it is fun" (one boy's words). None of the other kids are mean to her this way. So why does she have to be the one who gets singled out? And I do agree singling our children out only reinforces segregation. I am quite sure that her class thinks in terms of THEM and JESSICA. And it hasn't helped bridge any social gaps. My daughter doesn't want to go to school and at times feels like she wants to die because no one likes her. There are good and bad days, as always, but it always seems to be the worst when she gets removed because of situations that aren't attributed to anything she's done wrong.

I also went as far as to offer to sit down with the parents in BOTH my daughters' classes to explain AS to them and to answer questions. I'm thinking from a standpoint that if the parents are educated, they can then pass that knowledge onto their children and help bridge the gap of understanding. But oh no... the school doesn't want that.

You can only imagine the rage I felt when I heard one parent say to another, "Oh that's Jessica. She's in my sons class. That's the retarded girl." I would not have to hear and put up with this crap if people had a little bit of education and understanding. It almost makes me want to go postal.

mommy~dearest said...

OMG- "The retarded girl"? You've got to be kidding! She's lucky to have you as a mom because I would have been all over that parent in a heartbeat.

I'm so sorry you had to hear that crap from your school's parents. Reading your comment has me all fired up. Nobody should treat ANY child like that.

Argh.