Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Apology...

An interesting thing happened last week. I got a call from the middle school principal who wanted to make sure I was pleased with all that they were adding to my son’s 504 plan. After going through the list he paused and said, “I’m sorry if I rushed you in our meeting, you know those teachers can talk forever and I wanted to keep them moving.”

I responded, “Well I appreciate your apology, but I have to tell you that I felt dismissed by you in our meeting.”

The principal again said that he was sorry and that he had to keep his teachers from talking too much. Which was interesting being that the teachers barely said anything, but regardless I think he was apologizing in a round-about way after the way he treated me.

From there I jumped on the opportunity to express how I felt about a number of things. I explained that he needed to work harder at making my son feel like they have his back and are working at keeping him safe in the school.

I also pointed out how I felt the grades he received didn’t reflect his true capabilities, which the principal acknowledge saying, “Yes, I also thought something was amiss when your son had poor grades on homework but an A on the test. I asked the teachers 3 times if his grades were a true refection, but they all agreed it was.” In the end he agreed that he did need to have a talk with his teachers about this and make sure that in the future they do a better job.

At the end of the call I told him that I was angry with his final comment about my son being fine at school so the problem was at home. I explained that the school was part of the problem because his triggers were being cause by the school so it was my job to address these triggers, which meant that him, along with his staff needed to be part of the solution. He seemed to agree and came across willing to move forward in a positive direction.

I have to say, it wasn’t the best apology, but at least I had the perfect opportunity to express how disappointed I was with him and our 504 meeting and reiterate what I expected in the future.

I’m also encouraged because my son shared that the “difficult” teacher was now treating him differently in class, he’s been kinder and has been helping him more with classwork. All this started after the dreaded 504 meeting.

As my husband reminded me after the meeting, “I know that you feel like all your hard work was for nothing, but you never know what impact you may have had. Maybe he’ll think about our family and be ready to address things differently in the future or maybe one of the teachers will see our son with a new perspective and be ready to help him.”

Once again, my husband has shown that he’s a wise man.

On another note, tonight my son and I visited a charter school in the area, we’re trying to keep our options open as we carefully move forward, one step at a time.



7 comments:

  1. Your experience may be different, but I thought I would let you know that we tried our local charter school and it was a complete disaster.

    There were perhaps some unique circumstances....the school had just opened and because the district had refused to approve it, it was funded under a special state charter and some legal battles over that meant that it was hastily organized in order to open that year. When applying, the administrators told me all the right things about the services they'd be able to provide (my son has an IEP and they said they'd honor it without change while he got adjusted and then review and revise later if necessary.)

    My son began to struggle more and more...in part because of med changes we were workong on at the time. His teacher was a new grad, as most of their staff was....and although sge was trying she was completely overwhelmed and did not have enough support. My son ended up in the phosp after a panic attack at school with suicidal talk. After the hospitalization, the school was completely unwilling and unable to provide additional services to get him back in the school setting. They kept telling me that he would need to transfer back to the district school (but not his home school) to a self contained EBD classroom, in spite of the fact that none of his doctors/ therapists felt this was the right placement for him. I soon realized this was just the protocol they followed for kids who needed more support which they were unable to provide (they were seriously understaffed for special ed services and when I brought up their legal obligations the principal told me that she was doing everything she could to hire qualified teachers and meanwhile they contracted with the district to take the kids with more severe problems. I was torn because I knew I had legal grounds to fight for his needs to be met appropriately but we couldn't let him suffer through that process. Luckily I contacted the teachers and principal at his former school (our home district school) and they agreed too that he didn't belong in the EBD classroom. He was pretty fragile for a while but finished out the school year with partial days and now is back to regular school days.

    Anyway....i'm sure there are some good Charter schools but I would be very hesitant to consider one again....and at very least would verify everything and talk to as many people as possible who have had experience with kids with special needs going to that school.



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    1. You may be right with regards to the charter schools, I still have to confirm, but it looks like the charter we were looking at is to rigorous academically and wouldn't be a good fit for our son. I don't know that they are equip to help our kids.

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  2. You are a hero. Not just for your son, but for all of us who are in this situation. I had a pointed conversation with the head of a dance school that had triggered our son, and I know the temptation to be nice and smooth things over. You did great!

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    1. Thanks Halbert! I appreciate the encouragement : )

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  3. Woohoo! I'm glad you got the chance to talk to him about that. I'm glad he had the inclination to apologize, even if he didn't do the greatest job. I hope things keep getting better for your son. It's no fun to hate going to school.

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    1. I agree, I wish school would be more fun for my boys...

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  4. I am going through the same thing.my son iep is not match with his progress but also have another student name on it! I do not have time to waste with my son education so I decide to homeschool him he doing a lot better academic and even his speech.when I look back I do not understand why school did what they doing.My other children for sure will go to private school.

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