Are You Insane?

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They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 

I have another meeting at the school today to discuss new accommodations for Chase. They aren’t really new ideas but rather worded in a new way they hope will be more specific for teachers to understand. This is their sneaky way of getting away with doing nothing. If we continue to talk about ways to change the 504, we never then have to focus on how to enforce it. Usually on days where I have to sit down with the same administers that have caused me nothing but grief, I have an increased amount of anxiety and border on melting down into a full blown panic attack. Today is different. I have a new calm and a new confidence and they can no longer shake me. The meeting is pointless. The world will not be fixed in one day and certainly their word will not mean a thing overnight either. Like it or not, people are predictable and often they repeat the same patterns over and over. They are not really willing to change but always eager to talk a good talk. Today I am going to listen without interest and without any hope for change. It’s like that trip to the dentist every six months that you aren’t psyched about but cannot avoid. You just go sit in the chair, stare at the light and hope the time passes quickly so you can get up and leave. That is my approach today. I will not get worked up or upset by people who do not mean a thing. These people have shown their true colors and are never going to change despite the millions of times we set aside to meet. Wish me luck as I allow my thoughts to fade into the light. They will no longer tell me who I am in there. I am strong, I am confident and I am a mom who would do anything to make sure her child gets what he needs. I know now that so don’t need their help to make that happen. I can do it all on my own. 

Can You Help?

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I need some help. I am really struggling with something so I thought I’d reach out and see if anyone has suggestions. I need to get my son the help he needs in school. The problem is, teachers are not being entirely honest because I am assuming they feel the need to protect themselves. I really do believe they think we are critiquing their ability to teach when we are struggling to understand Chases ability to learn. Here’s an example. When you look at his grades in algebra he has all b’s. This is a false representation of the truth because he has never gotten over a 67 on a test except for one which was a 77 after 10 points of extra credit. The teacher acted like she didn’t recall that and did not leave a note next to the grade indicating the 80 was a retake. Also, it was suggested by administrators that maybe Chase wasn’t putting in his best effort and we should expect him to get a b the first time. Otherwise, why bother trying when he can retake it. When he asked us why we thought he was capable the second time I explained when he does a retake, the teacher sits beside him and guides him through. She told me he does it all by himself and acted like she didn’t know what I was talking about. On the way to school, I asked him to tell me exactly what happens during a retake in math. He told me his teacher sits beside him and helps him through. When I asked if he ever took one in a seat away from her, he said no.

What do I do about that? How can I go up against people who do not care enough about a student to just tell it the way it is? How will we ever get what he needs if it appears he is doing just fine? I am devastated and in shock that someone would sit across a table and cover her own backside when she isn’t even on trial. It’s not about her. It is about helping him. Let me add that last year, his teacher used to send him home with a blank test because he couldn’t even do one problem independently  in class but I bet that isn’t on record anywhere either. And the nerve to pass it off as his lack of effort? I really need some advice. I am destroyed over this and this is just one example. I thought adults were honest. I thought I could trust teachers with the well being of my child and this is what we get? He deserves better. All our kids do.

WTH?

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This past week so many things have come to light. It’s hard to believe that anything can surprise me anymore but these two events are both disappointing and shocking at the same time.

A week ago my daughter received an email from her religious education teacher. Her class of 17 had just finished up an eight hour retreat and it seems that there were kids who were being disruptive. Some were talking and others were using their cell phones. Yes, their behavior was less than desirable but the email from her teacher who wasn’t even present that day was disturbing at the very least. The email referred to the kids as disgusting. That is the word he used. I read it over and over and my heart began to sink. If this man really feels this way about the class and these children does he really belong teaching them? No wonder my daughter is questioning her religion lately. Here is a man who represents the church who is demeaning the entire class because of a few bad apples. The worse part? He didn’t even try and get the kids story.

I think the important thing to remember is just because someone is 15 years old, does not make them an adult. Teens, more than any other group, need discipline and mentoring more than anyone else. They stand in adult bodies and try and act like adults but their thinking and experiences are still childlike. They are learning and challenging and second guessing everything they have ever been told. They are learning the world is not exactly a happy trip to Disney World. They are confused and their beliefs are being challenged one day at a time. I was happy to see that many parents were equally offended by the email and even the priest found his words extremely inappropriate. Who is leading our children? What is the message they are sending to our kids. You’re disgusting is one that will never sit right with me.

This past week I became aware of several alleged rapes that have occurred by a particular boy at my daughters school. One alleged rape actually happened in the bathroom at school. Can you imagine being a parent like me and learning kids are having sex in the school bathroom on a regular basis. Where the hell are the adults? How can this be happening? I recently read an article where they interviewed the parents and girls who were allegedly raped And I couldn’t believe my eyes. If their stories hold true, I have to ask the question who in the hell do these schools protect? All three girls have had to drop out of school after being bullied to the point they were too afraid to return. Do I believe it? Do I believe a school would turn a child who is being bullied and victimized into the very child who gets the harshest consequences while the bully’s walk around without consequence? You bet I do because it was three short years ago that I had to transfer my daughter to another school because of the inaction of a middle school during a time she was being bullied.

I feel so bad for kids today. Adults and administrators look the other way and often times they do not take the situation serious enough. I watched a little girls grades start to drop. I watched my own daughter retreat to her room and start to withdraw. I watched a school do nothing but tell me the bully had a tough life and needed love and my daughter was one of the lucky ones who came from a good home. What? Huh? What does that mean? I watched these same girls who were loved instead of disciplined by the school system overdose and now find themselves in the middle of a rape/bully situation. Maybe there should have been consequences and education when these kids were in middle school so we wouldn’t be having a student walk out tomorrow because students feel the school looked the other way and did not protect the victims. Maybe my small town wouldn’t be making head lines all the way in NY. Maybe, just maybe our kids need adults who lead them when they need to be led, discipline them when they need to be punished and love them when they’ve been raped or bullied. I just don’t know. It makes sense to me. It pains to me to sit back and watch the total disarray that I have personally witnessed in my own school system. I don’t know how these kids survive. It is really tough on them and I wonder if we are forcing them to grow up long before they are really ready. What I do know is my heart hurts. It hurts for every child who looks to their school for help and finds none. It hurts for every kid who needed the school to see them but made the choice to keep things hush, hush and look the other way. I hurt for every kid who was not protected because a school would not admit they made a mistake. My heart hurts for any parent who really believes a school will act in their kids best interest. I had no choice to give up that hope a long time ago and it makes me sad.

One final School Fiasco- You knew it Was Coming!

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I am sitting here absolutely dumbfounded. Seriously, it is the last week of school and the excitement I should feel has been crushed with frustration and disappointment. If you follow my blog closely you understand some of the difficulties I have had dealing with schools. I am going to start by saying this, my frustration is with the schools my children attend. This is not to be taken personally by every teacher, administrator, etc. I will tell my story though because the truth and the facts have to get out there so parents become more aware about what is and isn’t going on at least inside of my schools.

When a child is tardy or absent, I get a notification. In fact, I get several. Every phone number tied to the parents gets a call with the notification as well as every email address. I got 2 last week for Chase, both instances resulting in a mistake on the part of the teacher marking the wrong kid absent.

As a parent, I can’t help but wonder each and every time I get a call if my child is possibly cutting class. I mean I am not so out of touch with reality to believe I have perfect children all the time. So, when I get all these notifications I wonder. The policy is that once you get an alert, the parent has 48 hours to contact the attendance person. So, like a good, responsible parent, I make the call to the high school today. I have questions about the policy so that I am fully aware of all it’s implications. I simply ask why am I getting a call asking where my child is when he or she is under the care of the school. I rudely get dismissed and am told that it is my daughters responsibility to go to the teacher that marked them tardy or absent so the teacher could then email the office to verify where that child was. Let’s look at it this way….you want a kid that is bold and irresponsible enough to even possibly skip a class to go to the teacher that turned the kid in to have a conversation about it so the teacher can clarify with the attendance office. If I even have to explain why the whole idea of that is ridiculous then you should stop reading right here and move on to the next blog. I ask the lady to explain why this is the protocol and she becomes defensive and tells me it is not her job to email the teacher and find out what’s going on, it is the students responsibility. Wait! You are the attendance person, what is your role exactly and again why am I getting a call asking where my child is while in your care? If you don’t know, and I don’t know, this conversation is just a waste of time.

Every time I deal with a school I hear the same line over and over again. “Your child needs to be responsible for herself.” Hmmmm….really? How are you being responsible? What lesson about responsibility are you teaching my child? I am about to clear that up now. The woman told me they contact the parents to make them aware. I asked what the next step is. Guess what? There is none. That’s it. She did tell me Kayleigh has been tardy 4 times and after the kids have so many they get in school suspension. Really I asked, how many? No specific answer. I hated to do it but I couldn’t help but point out the obvious. Can you imagine if after one or say 2 tardiness you sit face to face with a principal explaining one more would lead to a meeting with the parents and in school suspension, how few 3rd tardies there would actually be? After a very long, in depth conversation, it became clear to me that there are no consequences. The kids are told they are responsible for themselves, they can come and go in and out of the school as they please, AND there are NO consequences. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We spend years raising kids, teaching them right from wrong, to respect rules and to have fear the consequences of their actions and the high school, who we place the care of our teen in for hours of the day, completely teaches the opposite. No wonder kids are not respecting parents and rules. It’s this confusion coming from authority or lack there of that decides whether or not they will respect rules and laws or really believe they are above them and can do anything they please.

This is really getting out of control. There are so many policies that are so broken and what’s worse, people follow them blindly. What happened to common sense and thinking things through? As it is, freshman are not supposed to leave campus at lunch but you wouldn’t believe how many I see at local restaurants everyday. The attendance secretary explained that they can’t have a cop at every door making sure these kids don’t leave. What? Maybe not but I suggested how valuable it would be if the principal or assistant principal showed up at Chick-fil-A on a random basis. The truth is they really don’t care that the kids leave. They know they do. See where the message gets mixed up in the mind of the kids. Rules aren’t meant to be followed, teachers really don’t care. If that’s the case, change the rule. If you are not going to enforce it or have consequences then CHANGE THE RULE!

I see a lot of finger pointing back at parents. I know my kid is home when she’s supposed to be home and if I catch her breaking a rule, there will be consequences but the school and the parents have got to be on the same page. Otherwise, parents become less significant to the kids and slowly over time, we lose their respect. They aren’t afraid of us anymore because really, why do we make a big deal out of everything? The school doesn’t care. It’s like two parents negating each other. The kid plays one against the other and the child gets away with murder. It doesn’t work and I am watching it happen in front of my eyes. I can’t even stop it. I have one kid who was missing from a class for 4 weeks before they discovered he was in the wrong one, and another one that should be responsible for herself. What exactly are our schools responsible for? Because last time I checked my kids aren’t legally at age to care for themselves. Why do these schools not know where my kids are when they are in their care? And furthermore, if a teacher screws up for weeks not realizing a kid is missing or a kid takes it upon herself to have multiple tardies or cut class, who is responsible? The answer is nobody, and that’s exactly why these things are happening in the first place. What in the world is going on?