12.16.2010

What Would YOU Do? **Take 2**

It's been a few years since we played this game, though I'm sure you can recall several instances where I went crazy with the schools in India. Remember the field trip incident with Sheridan's school? How about the school librarian spilling the beans about the tooth fairy? And who could forget about the maid sleeping in bathroom and taking photos of the kids incident at the International School?

I thought we'd be issue-free this year at our elementary school on the beach, but unfortunately Riley's class has had a problem child. Normally, I wouldn't get too concerned about a child with issues since ... well ... I, myself, have a spicy middle child who managed to lock all the girls in the bathroom and turn off the lights on her first day of kindergarten.

However, this young boy started the school year by getting suspended during the third week for unprovokingly scratching a child's face until it bled. Since his return, he's thrown items at the teacher (blocks and chairs), destroyed school property, used extremely foul language (the mother *effer* kind), and is disruptive, confrontational, and refuses to follow directions on a daily basis. How do I know all of this? Riley tells me weekly ... as do the many other parents who volunteer in the class.

So in true Perlman fashion, I wrote the below letter to the principal yesterday and copied it to the teacher. I just don't know what good it's going to do ... because from what I've been told, the principal has known about these issues but hasn't done anything. Why? Because up until last week, when she herself was hurt by this child, she felt the teacher had been exaggerating and provoking the child. Hence, little, if any, documentation has been filed with the district. My concern now is that things are going to stay status quo. And that's just not acceptable anymore.

I don't exactly know what the desired result is ... I just know that something's gotta give.

Dear Principal ****,

I want to express my growing concerns about my daughter's second grade classmate, (name withheld to protect the guilty). Since the beginning of the school year, my daughter has come home with weekly reports of (kid's name)'s behavior that has ranged from inappropriate and disruptive to alarming and destructive. The negative attention constantly placed upon him is beginning to overshadow the positive classroom environment that Mrs. Clarke has been so diligently trying to achieve. Quite frankly, it's unfairly taking precious time away from the other students.

Additionally, as a new family at the school, I find it frustrating to believe that this type of behavior has been tolerated for the past fourteen weeks. Scratching another child's face, throwing anything at the teacher, using foul language, and causing general mayhem is not only inexcusable, but it's intolerable.

(The local elementary school) prides itself with the saying, "Failing is NOT an option". However, by trying so hard not to fail this one student, the other twenty one have been left behind. Sadly, we don't know what the next trigger for this child will be, nor how dangerous the situation may become. Why are we waiting to find out?

With my husband in Baghdad, Iraq for the year, I already have to worry daily about his safety. When I send my daughter to school every morning, I shouldn't have to worry about hers too.

Regards,
Jill Perlman



19 comments:

Z. Marie said...

Good luck! I suspect the problem child needs therapy of some kind. Not that you can suggest that, but maybe someone should.

Connie said...

That is a great letter. To the point. I understand that schools want to 'include' all kids, but some kids... whether it is a child with a serious problem, poor upbringing, or both... need special handling, and the others need to be safe from such kids. I sure hope you hear from both the principal and teacher. If not, maybe the school board needs your letter too? Good luck, and i hope this kid keeps away from Riley!

Mom24 said...

It's a great letter. My guess is he has an IEP and they feel like their hands are tied. I hope something changes. That situation is ridiculous and should absolutely not be tolerated. Wow.

Becky said...

Bullying is a growing problem in the US but it is finally attracting national attention, and therefore $$. You could also request the PTA to hire an anti-bullying program. If they quiver, take it to the school district's board.

It's up to administration and teachers to take it seriously, though, and that just depends upon the personalities and experience. Rising suicide rates in pre-adolescent and junior high aged kids, however, has pulled the pants off of the "you're just a complainer" response to mother's requests.

Kate said...

I would recommend that you copy the school board. Every complaint in writing gets taken VERY seriously and you may get a little furthur. We had an incident in kindergarten with a bully and after repeated complaints, it was the letter to the superintendent that finally saw some action. Good luck!

Daniela Swider said...

Good for you for writing the letter. Seems like the kid has serious issues and may need therapy but that doesn't mean the rest of the kids in the class have to suffer because of him. That's just not fair. I suspect you are not the only one that's raised the issue and hopefully the principal will finally do something about it.

My child is no saint but there is a kid in her class that's rather, ahem, out of control. Unfortunately my daughter is very fond of this child and wants to be with him all the time. That is very troubling to me because she ends up getting in trouble too. I have asked the teacher to separate them as much as possible, so they are not disruptive but it's an ongoing battle.

Best of luck to you in finding a resolution you are happy with!!!

Headless Mom said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

I'd copy it to the school board, too. It really pisses me off that more "accomodations" are made for the little **ckers than for the good/smart kids. I don't have a problem with every kid getting an education but that is OVER THE TOP and should be stopped. Keep fighting-You're right!

Let us know the status!

Headless Mom said...

Sorry to post again but.... Sorry Becky, but I don't agree. Anti-bullying programs are a bunch of bull**it. No video program will do anything if the school administration and staff don't do anything about it. It ends up being a waste of money. Our school talks a good story about anti-bullying but no one does anything about it on ANY level.

Bryn said...

Way to sock it to them!!!

Shannon said...

And this post explains so many of the reasons I will not willingly teach public school in the states again. If this child should happen to have (and I'm not saying they do) some learning/behavioral disability and an IEP then their rights to a public education are protected under law and in this case it doesn't matter what effect it has on the rest of the class. At one point I was teaching 5th grade and had one terminally ill child and two non-verbal children one of whom was rather violent and prone to biting and hitting. I'm not a special ed teacher this was a general ed mainstream classroom. Never again.

anymommy said...

Oh, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. My thoughts on schools and dealing with these problems are so unformed, but my heart will break when my kids face these situations. All I can think of right now is my mother telling me, little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems. Ugh.

Emma said...

Hmmmmm. Tough one all round.
Like your letter, succint and to the point.
I'm hoping...Have you had any response yet?

Natalie said...

I'm curious to know what you think possible solutions might be? Obviously the current situation is unacceptable; where would you like to see it go from here?

Issas Crazy World said...

I have no answers...but I think this letter is great.

Also happy birthday to your big ole six year old today. I hope she has a great day.

Sara said...

Good Lord! I hope this is worked out satisfactorily (is that a word?)!

Mrs4444 said...

I agree that this is a great letter. In my experience, squeaky wheel parents do get the grease, and that's important in situations like this. As a spec ed teacher, my heart goes out to this kid, who obviously isn't getting the kind of support he needs at school (and thus is acting out). The poor teacher and other students are suffering because someone doesn't have the skills/knowledge/funding? to properly program this child's day. I wish you luck.

Lisa said...

I think the letter is great, Jill, and am interested in what kind of response you received.
As an ex-teacher, I had a student much like the one you described. It. was. horrible, and my hands were beyond tied as a teacher. I documented the CRAP out of everything he did, and he ended up in the psych ward at the hospital, and eventually was kicked out of the self-contained behavior disorder classroom years later, but unfortunatly the school has to document, document, document before anything will be done.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I wonder if this is a special needs kid who is falling through the cracks. Or if there is something going on at home to cause outbursts of such incredible and malicious rage. Is there a school psychologist involved? How can they just ignore this? Possibly because they see precious school funding going into his inevitable IEP...

Laurel said...

So what was the response?

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