Thursday, May 31, 2007

Steamin' Like A Demon

Here's some history of what Jaysen has been through.

He started his Kindergarten experience last fall at Carr Elementary. Before Jaysen even started school, I asked for a parapro for the classroom. My request was denied due to the school's lack of funds. I was assured that since he had an IEP, he would be accommodated in other ways. Shortly thereafter, I began to get reports that Jaysen was non-compliant, would run out of the room, and was getting aggressive. I asked what supports they had in place for him (we were beginning to get an IEP meeting scheduled, as his preschool IEP was not "acceptable").

What do you mean 'what supports do we have in place' for him?

I mean, what supports do you have for him? What are you doing to help him succeed in the classroom?

He isn't in a special needs classroom, so he won't get any supports.

Umm...yeah. See, there's this thing called the law. It states that he is entitled to things like accommodations in a regular ed. classroom. It's called mainstreaming.

I don't think we mainstream.

Thank you, I'll schedule a meeting with the principal (and hope he's less stupid than you).

I had been getting call after call that Jaysen started to bite, throw chairs, and "attack" his teacher. All I could do was say "well, what do you expect if he's not being accommodated?" and collect my legal ammo.

When meeting day with the principal came, I discussed my concerns and hoped they would be addressed soon, as we were already into a month of school. The principal told me his stand "we will not accommodate Jaysen in a regular ed. classroom, but we would be willing to move him to the Autistic classroom."

What do you mean the "Autistic classroom"? What is that?

It's the room where all of the special needs kids go.

Oh? Like the Island of Misfit Toys? No thanks. I'd like him mainstreamed in a regular ed. room.

Well we're not going to do that.

Oh yes you are. And you're going to provide him with accommodations. You have to show that he is failing in a regular ed. room with supports before you can move him to a segregated room. I spewed the ADA, IDEA, and No Child Left Behind, until I was blue. I had facts and arguments coming out of every orifice in my body. He couldn't touch me with my battalion of information.

So the principal had two options for me:

I could have Jaysen put in the "Autistic classroom" or I could send him to a different school. this was war. For the next two months, I fought tooth and nail with this school. I consulted advocates, I brought it to the Superintendent's attention, I caused all kinds of unholy hell for this principal. In the meantime, they took away Jaysen's recess. They made him go to the Autistic class when he was "bad". He was starting to react physically by shutting down. He would lay on the floor unresponsive. They kicked him out of latch key. They called me at work to come and pick him up from school because they couldn't handle him. Companion and I had to change our schedules at work to accommodate the craziness. The last two weeks, they called me every single day to come and get him.

They tested him multiple times. The school psychologist said he was retarded. Retarded? Do people still use that word? My son may be a lot of things, but he is not "retarded". That just shows me you don't know how to test a child with a language issue. You... are a dumbass.

How did it turn out? I moved.

I moved to a city with an excellent school district. Jaysen has been making huge strides, and this school not only has supports, they support him. We are so incredibly lucky to have the team that he has now. I am worried though- the principal is retiring, and the school will be getting another one next year. I am praying that they will be as wonderful as the one now.

The move has created financial hardship on us, and I still haven't been able to sell my first house (been on the market 6 mos already), but it is so worth it. Jaysen still doesn't like to go to school- I mostly blame Carr for the wonderful foundation they laid for him about school, but hopefully as he moves along, he will develop a tolerance for it, maybe even learn to like it. It sucks that we had to uproot and move, and honestly, I could have fought it- but in my mind, valuable time was being wasted and my son was suffering for it. It was better to just get out.

As for the crappy principal? All I can say is, karma is a bitch.

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