Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm Number 1!

Well, at least I was this morning when I went to vote. It's hard for me to predict that I'll get out on time at the end of the day, so I always try to vote at the beginning. But I have to get there early, otherwise I don't get to work on time.

So I was in line at 0530 this morning, and was the first one to vote. The only thing of import on the ballot was a funding initiative for the school district. The rest of the ballot were unopposed local officials standing for re-election. Public school enrollment continues to swell in our district, and all of the primary and middle schools are going to have auxiliary classrooms in trailers next year. The new initiative would remodel the schools, and add some space. I hope it passes.

I was glad to get out of the polling place this morning. We vote in our local grammar school, which is the place that Buddy Boy went to school last year. The place that was conspiring to expel him (we withdrew him for homebound school before they were able to do this), and the place where they wanted him shipped to a separate school for emotionally disturbed kids. My stomach roils whenever I go in that building. I was waiting to vote outside the room where we used to have our IEP's. I know I should forgive and forget (or at least try to forget and move on), but it's difficult sometimes.

Perhaps it's worse because of some of the forms we were filling out for Sweet Pea last night. Sweet Pea will be starting Kindergarten next year. We got permission from the school district for her to attend the same school as Buddy Boy next year (it's in the same district, but is not our assigned school). This will make it much easier logistically for Liz for getting them to and from school, and much easier for both of us to be active in the Parent Teacher Organization.

One of the forms we had to sign said something like (and I paraphrase from memory) "I affirm that this child has never been expelled from school due to disciplinary action for the use or possession of drugs, dangerous weapons, or assault on another person". This is a form that we will have to be attest to each year for the next 12 years. If the school district had been successful last year in expelling Buddy Boy for his tantrums (throwing staplers, half hearted kicking at them) in Kindergarten, we would have had that following him throughout the next 12 years. The fact that the school district would do that to an autistic 5 year old kid who was having control issues that were part and parcel of his disability (as well as the fact that they were, IMO, purposely provoking him) really gets my goat. I touch on some of our dealings with the school district here, here, and here.

How dare they do that to my child, or any child for that matter. I know that they justify their actions because they have to "serve all the kids, not just the special needs ones", and "we have to have a single standard of punishment for everyone". Irrespective of the fact that both of those attitudes are addressed in the law, which states that disabilities are to be taken into account, and that if a student's actions are a part of their disability they are not to be disciplined for it, these kind of things happen all the time. I only hope that there is some kind of cosmic retribution waiting for those who would conspire to crush a child's spirit, and deny him an education and chance at success in life.


Daisy said...

I have felt this kind of pain - including voting day in a former place of, er, employment. No matter how challenging, all children deserve an education. Unskilled staff is no excuse.

Maddy said...

Hmm, no e-mail! Shall I, shan't I?

Well, I'm in a quandary. I understand the school district's need to provide a safe environment for all the children and everyone [adult's included] need discipline, so I think it comes down to how you define 'discipline.'

I think Kristina blogged on this definition recently.

In your case, or Buddy Boys, it should be wide. In my case, or my sons, it should be wider still after this mornings biting, kicking, punching session - but of course that was before he even got to school.
Best wishes

Mom without a manual said...

I understand your pain.

I just get really anxious when I think about all the years ahead of us. I am already exhausted and we aren't even technically in school yet. (We start Kindergarten next year) We have so many more years to work with these people! I just really hope that it will get easier?

I can dream--right?

Club 166 said...

MWAM, keep the faith, baby!

Things are better for us this year (so far), though the bad taste in our mouths over last year remains.

I don't realistically expect that everything will be roses from here on out. But I don't expect our lives to be the same as Sisyphus, pushing a rock up a mountain, only to have it roll down again for us to do it all over again.

But I do think in terms of what schools seem to place high value on (conformance, non-aggression, self-control) that as our kids age they (like all kids) get better at these things. Buddy Boy seems to be in a place now where he is in control enough to not do anything to get himself expelled, and the teachers he is working with are not trying to purposely goad him into acting out.

kristina said...

I know I have touched on the discipline issue, at least as far as a child being aggressive not doing with an intent of harm, but out of sheer desperation to get his point across----Let's just say, when I got our new home ABA consultant to observe Charlie in his own public school placement (this was a year and three-quarters ago), Charlie had an accident in circle time and then in OT: He wanted OUT. This was the classroom in which the brilliant solution to Charlie taking off his shoes was to have me put him in hiking boots with long laces so he couldn't take them off----don't get me started.

I can't really drive past the building where the board of ed in our old town is located......5 minutes from our old house.

Zaecus Celestis said...

It sounds like parents are as prone to PTSD-like episodes as we are.

I guess it's comforting, but mostly, I think it's just very sad.

Club 166 said...

So the school bond thing passed, which is good. We'll get some new renovations over the next 5 years,

If only it was so easy to upgrade personnel.