Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meeting of the moms.

The meeting was strange...to say the least.
There was me and the 2 other moms, sitting at Starbucks.
It started off awkward, but I just dove right in.

One of the moms explained to me that most of the other moms were too irate to even speak with me- that's fine because I was hoping I could answer questions that these moms had, and it would eventually make it through the grapevine.

They wanted to know what I was doing about the situation. I explained that I think we have different situations, and that my fight is to get Jaysen back into the GE classroom. Neither one of the moms knew about the "Quiet Room" where Jaysen spends the majority of his day. I invited them to check it out the next time they're in the school.

We exchanged information- I was able to show my proof of letters and e-mails sent to various people, and they were relieved to see that they weren't the only ones the principal wasn't responding to. Basically, they thought the principal was not communicating to them because she was defending me. Hardly the case.

I had to explain that the school has funding to use for Special Ed accommodations, and that Jaysen's 1:1 does not take away funding from General Ed. They didn't know that either.

They asked about Jaysen's accommodations. What does he need? What does he have? Because they don't remember him having any major accommodations last year, or at the beginning of this year. I went through the scenarios about how if they would have intervened in the beginning, the accommodations would have remained minor. I described how Jaysen feels in the GE classroom, and the accommodations will be more now that they've gotten him used to the "Quiet Room", and a 1:1.

As they were listening to me, they started to understand just how unfair Jaysen has been treated. They're still concerned about their children too, of course, but the way the teacher and principal had been painting this picture of my son was totally inaccurate. The other moms are pissed because they feel their children aren't getting an education. I asked them to think about something- if your child is not getting an education, and my child hasn't even been in the classroom for almost 4 months, do you really think they're not getting an education because of Jaysen? Ah- I was almost blinded by the lightbulbs going off.

One of the moms asked how the parents were treating me. I let her know that people who used to say "hello" or "good morning", turn their backs to us and won't look our way. She looked at the floor and shook her head. We discussed how the kids treat him in the classroom. They said the kids have been forgiving, and don't hold much against him. That was good to hear. They want to know if I feel this will go away and return to normal next year with a different teacher. I didn't think so because his teacher runs her mouth to the other teachers, and they already have a negative impression of him. There are 2 second grade teachers. One doesn't believe in mainstreaming, and the other one is burnt out from having all of the sp.ed kids every year, and she's friends with his current teacher. He's going to start next year at a disadvantage regardless (His IEP is Monday, so I am going to make sure it is as strong as I can make it, so it will transfer schools well. We're also going to finally talk about other schools as well).

Basically, I kept it real and factual- gave props where I felt they were deserved, and disapproval where I thought it was necessary.

I wouldn't say I made 2 new friends or anything, but it was nice to talk to some parents that were receptive to the other side.

Momzilla did not have to come out and play.

7 comments:

mollyalexis said...

Wow, sounds like a great meeting. It's great for them to hear your side of the story. With all the trouble you've had a this school, does it kind of make you want to change schools. It makes me afraid for when I send Parker to Kindergarten. You sound really brave and upfront. I'm pretty wimpy and don't know how I would have handled it. I better get a tough skin for gradeschool. Kudo's to you for standing your ground! Let's hope there is some good change now.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Wow, that really does sound like a great, productive meeting. I'm so glad they were able to hear, and understand, your side of the story. And I hope the word does filter back to the other parents now.

mommy~dearest said...

Yes, I do want to change schools, but this IEP is going to follow him if we get the transfer.

Don't worry- you do develop a tough skin eventually. Unfortunately, people have interpreted that to mean that I've become a bitch.

I can't even tell you how many times I've broken down and cried at meetings. It's not only embarrassing, but it's not productive either. Then I would cry when I left the meetings. Eventually, you get used to it, and you are able to take the emotion out of it. That's when you'll be a step closer to being an effective advocate.

It's hard. It's one of the hardest things to do as a parent- to view your child as just a child, and to view the meetings as business deals, but the truth is, that's exactly what it is.

The more you work with the school, the more you'll figure out how the politics work. You'll learn who the real decision makers are, and how to present your case to them. Like everything else...it takes practice.

Jessica said...

Job well done. I'm glad the meeting was more productive and not a lynching. I hope the mom's came away with finding out the whole truth before judging someone.

Ashley's Mom said...

I really wish we could all have more of these mom-to-mom meetings.

Pickel said...

That sounds like a fabulous meeting and I am really glad they finally got to hear your side of the story.

If you get a chance there are a lot of people who would benefit from hearing your story over at http://www.trusera.com

Marcie

Marla said...

"The other moms are pissed because they feel their children aren't getting an education. I asked them to think about something- if your child is not getting an education, and my child hasn't even been in the classroom for almost 4 months, do you really think they're not getting an education because of Jaysen? Ah- I was almost blinded by the lightbulbs going off."

That says it all. I am glad it went okay. Good luck with the IEP.