Wednesday, August 05, 2009

School EW

I didn't Die...

I fell back in to high school days (discuss later)

Fell in love at a High School Reunion...(discuss later)

I was working in Germany and then here and not a moments peace until now and now to catch up....

School starts up again before this month is up and I am calling in the LAW

The School, The Law and then there are other things that will come later. I have been working long and hard hours but in the middle comes life. I have tried to not think of these things when I had a brief moment or two of …well, time to not think of this.

Snow White and School. Oh how I hate how things have come about. Not sure why this happened but I feel that they won. They pestered me from the start. If I had ever thought the school was trying to help my daughter I would have been right beside them but they did things so very oddly.

Where did this begin? We moved to a new state after the school year had already started. My daughter disliked leaving her friends behind but loved that there was more time we could spend together. It didn’t matter what we did after school as long as we did it together. There was the normal adjustments like being the new kid in school but a few girls immediately took her under their wing. They are still friends nearly three years later.

A few months at the new school and the teacher started complaining Snow White counted in her head instead of on her fingers. This seemed silly to me but I let it go for the first few months. Finally, I caved in to the constant complaining and told Snow White to count on her fingers. Two weeks later the same teacher complained that Snow White wouldn’t stop counting on her fingers. Yes, it was now a habit. Instead of having the answers ready in her head we, yes we - the teacher and I, wiped that part out of her. No matter what we did she had to work it out physically rather than in her head. Thanks!!

Next I was requested to attend a meeting at the school. It was short but sort of absurd. The reason for the meeting was a “simple request” to teach my daughter to hold her pencil correctly. I sort of laughed when they said this required a psychological and psychiatric examination. I told them that if they wished to teach her to hold her pencil in a different fashion I would allow the “classes” but thought it was sort of an over the top request that she be evaluated on such a level just because she likes to hold her pencil at a different angle. The small group of educational staff didn’t seem too put off by my flippant regard to this issue.

The next year I received another invitation to meet with the school. This time there was a conference room full of people. This meeting was called because the other day when my daughter and her class came in from recess she walked on her tip toes to the bathroom. They started to explain to me there is a mental condition associated with the need to put pressure on the ball of one’s foot. This was a one time thing and my daughter had just played the part of “princess” in a made up play with her friends on the play ground. When I asked her about this she said “that was the day we were playing princess and I was dancing my way back from recess.”

At the time of the meeting I couldn’t believe what they were saying but I staid for the full two hour meeting and listened to what they had to say. I mentioned that she was only 8 yrs old and perhaps she was thinking she should be a ballerina. After two hours the women in the room asked me to sign a document giving my consent to them performing psychological and psychiatric testing. I actually laughed! I told them that this was not a case of her wanting to put pressure on her feet nor did one trip to the bathroom on tip toe warrant such testing. I excused myself and went back to work. I even told my co-workers about the meeting when I returned and they all laughed! They also said how grateful they were that their children are all grown up and no longer in the school system.

When I moved to this new state I couldn’t find a house I wanted to buy so I rented. Finally, I found a house I liked and we moved just a short distance. This short distance resulted in Snow White attending a new school. A few weeks after she started the new school I was asked to attend another school meeting. I found out during the meeting that this was called due to the way she held her pencil. Again they asked me to sign a paper given them permission to perform psychiatric and psychological evaluations in order to teach her to hold her pencil differently. I again declined the testing but said they could give her classes on holding her pencil since it was such a big deal to them.

Over the next few months things got ugly. Snow White was given a choice to do her work in class or give up recess. Well, actually what they said was if she didn’t do her work in class she had the option to come back and finish it or go out to recess. The first few times she went back to class but then she learned that her work was not being graded so she stopped doing the work and went to recess. She said the work was like 2nd grade and it was too boring. At this time the teacher started sending the incomplete classwork home and Snow White finished it within 15 minutes. I mentioned this in the next school meeting and the principal asked why this work couldn’t be completed during all the hours of school yet she would turn it in the next day. When Snow White was brought in to the meeting the principal asked her where she did her home work “dinning room“. Where was Mom, “down stairs working.” What do you do when you can’t figure out the answers? “Move on then take all the questions to Mom so she can tell me how to work it out.” Shortly after this meeting the teacher stopped sending the incomplete work home.

I asked the teacher if the work was now completed in the classroom and she said it was not. I told her to keep Snow White in at recess but she said that was not affective as they were giving her the choice but she always chose recess. In my house you do as you are told. I told Snow White if she didn’t complete her work in class she would have to stay in at recess. She said “The teacher says I don’t have to so I go. It’s more fun.” I talked with the teacher again but she again insisted it is up to the child. I told her that my daughter is a child and her education is not up to her.

Then there was a new development at school…rocking. The teacher mimicked it in a meeting. When I was asked what I thought the first thing that came to mind was “do you need to use the bathroom?” I know when the bathroom breaks are at school and yes, sometimes Snow White needs to use the facilities but waits for that time. I told her she can get a pass but she said a few times the teacher said “in a few minutes.” Snow White said “Mom, do you know how embarrassing it is to have to ask in front of the whole class to pee??!” This resulted in a bouncing ball to wait it out. Unfortunately, this bouncing ball is on the chair all day long. This leads to bouncing and rocking through out the day. This also leads to a new “issue” to discuss at the next school meeting.

I cannot tell you how many times a few of the women at these meetings told me “If you Loved your child” or “If you cared anything about your daughter” or “If you were a good mother…you would sign the papers allowing us to do the psychological and psychiatric testing.” One time I actually talked back to them and said “Did you Just call me a Bad Mother?!” The immediate response was “No, not at all. It wont harm anything so why not just sign the papers?”

The state testing was coming up and therefore another meeting was held at the school. “If your daughter does not pass the state testing we will not pass her to the next grade.” This was also said to my daughter when she was brought into the meeting. She said in sort of an apologetic voice with her head down “I don’t have a problem passing tests. I did less third grade and still passed the state testing and all my classes. I will pass the tests.” After this meeting she hugged my waist all the way to the car. Before we reached the car she was crying and said “I don’t know why all this is a big deal. Homework is for those who don’t get it in class. How do you not get it? You know it or you don’t and I always pass the tests.” When we were in the car I told her it isn’t all about the tests but doing the work in class to prove it to the teacher. She kicked the seat in front of her and said “But the teacher said I don’t have to do it. I can do what I want in class and then go to recess.”

One day while at work I received a phone call from our family doctor’s office. “We need you to bring Snow White in for a check up.” When I asked why they said they received a notification from the school that concerned them. I promptly agreed to have the appointment ASAP which was during that same week. The doctor met with us and she did examine Snow White. Then she told me something that unsettled me. “You must have the testing done but have it done privately. Do Not let the school to the testing. You will be giving up much of your rights as a parent if you allow them to do the testing. I will give you a list of names. You must have her tested or they will do the testing themselves. If you do not have her tested yourself then I have to tell them. In order for you to get a referral I need to write down something for them to test her on so I am writing down ODD.” She explained that ODD was an oppositional disorder usually seen in teenagers who do not like authority. “The school is coming after you and you need a lawyer. Don’t take this lightly. I don’t see what they see but they are already taking their statements outside of the school now.” She was so sympathetic and a bit more afraid for us that I was at the time that it really hit home. We were really in for a fight and she had seen this before.

I took her advise to heart but forgot to get a copy of the letter that was faxed to the Dr. office from the school. Since my work was right next door to the school I dropped by on my lunch hour to get a copy and the school pretended not to know anything about the faxed letter. I was so upset about being lied to my face that I took a little extra time during my lunch and went to the Dr. office who produced the three page fax. I cried after I read the fax. No wonder they wanted to see Snow White immediately. It was horrible and so not true. Ok, when I say horrible it didn’t say she was abused but it said things like she was hallucinating, always in her own world, doesn’t make friends and so many other things that I was just shocked! They made her sound like she just sits in her own drool puddle at school.

How could they send such a thing to anyone? How could they send out anything to anyone without letting me know or at the very least sending me a copy as well? It wasn’t an abuse letter it was a circle the answer questionnaire with no possible good answers. If there was abuse I believe the school has the right to take maters in to their own hands but not to spread obscure lies. What questionnaire has an answer that is either always or never? Why would those be the only choices? Have you ever been scared? Have you ever been sad? How can you answer that as never or always? We had a death in our family and yes we were sad? Is the child defiant? Yes, she did not do her work after we told her she could do it now or at recess but there was no room for explanation. Is hygiene an issue? Once and only once the teacher thought Snow White smelled and might have had an “accident” and asked me to bring a change of clothes to school. I came to the school but Snow White did not have an accident and the teacher said it must have been an off day for her nose as she didn’t smell it any more.

The next school meeting was just over a month before school let out. The state testing was over and Snow White completely gave up doing most of her in class work. When she did turn it in it wasn’t graded, only stamped by a fellow student who came around to see that it was done. This was the way it was done all during the school year so why did it bother her now? It bothered her because “it wouldn’t matter if I wrote down Yankee doodle dandy to a math question.”

So on to the meeting, I was told to sign the papers to do the testings or they would hold my daughter back in the 4th grade. I was faced with signing the papers “or else.” That was it. Ok, that wasn’t just it. I stated that I had already contacted my insurance company and would have Snow White tested outside of the school. This lead to one of the 10 women standing up, pounding her fists on the table and screaming at me in words I could barely make out. Why would this decision make her so angry? They wanted my daughter tested and I agreed. I just didn’t agree to let the school do it.

When the angry woman settled down the principal excused herself from the meeting. A woman sitting to my right handed me a packet then said “ I observed your daughter today in class and this is my report.” I looked across the table at the teacher quizzically since we both knew my daughter was not in school that day, she was home with her brother with a fever and vomiting. The teacher said nothing and just looked down in her lap. She had sent me an email prior to the meeting saying things that lead me to retain a lawyer. I thought it was odd that this state has so many problems with the schools that there is a specific division of lawyers dedicated to school issues.

I looked over the report while the woman next to me explained that out sourcing the testing does not mean they would even consider the results of those test. She also pointed out that each of the tests cost anywhere from $1,700 - $2,000. “Why put yourself through that expense when we can do it for Free?” I told them I was instructed to do so and I was following through on that. I did not tell them I had a lawyer. I didn’t want them to know yet. My lawyer said that once the school knew I had a lawyer they would postpone the meeting until the next school year, hold my daughter back a grade and then make a plea to the magistrate to wave parental consent for the tests.

This same woman sitting to my right also explained “Half the time these out side sources spell the child’s name wrong so we really don’t have proof they did the testing on the right child!” Just after she said this I circled ALL the times SHE misspelled my daughter’s name AND the DATE. Then I turned it and pushed it towards her so she could see it better. She said something snide to me and the teacher spoke up “Why does it mater if she is taking the option to out source the testing? She has that right, that option.” The room went silent.

A few moments later the “papers” were passed down to me again and all eyes were on me. They were a different color this time but requesting the same permission. I pushed them to the middle of the table and again said, “I am opting to have the testing done elsewhere.” Another woman said that if I signed the papers today they would allow my daughter to pass to the next grade. I was starting to cave and asked what time frame the testing would take place? I was told it would be made a priority in the first few weeks of the new school year then it would take a few more weeks (6) to evaluate. After this recommendations and other meetings would take place. I would have no say so, I would have to do what was directed as would the school.

At this point I was near tears but I wouldn’t show them there. I either had to sign the papers or my daughter would not pass. If I only signed the papers she would pass. They said if she passed the state testing she would pass but my lawyer explained to me that they wont have that information until August and school lets out in June so that was an empty promise to my daughter.

I finally came to a point in this meeting that I wanted to know all the options. So, if I signed the papers she would pass to the next grade, go through testing, I would have to abide by the interpretation and results as the school saw fit and not have any say so or disagree with anything they decide. I decided to hold my ground and say that the testing will be done out side of school. Testing because of how a child holds a pencil? How a child walks to the bathroom once? How a child bounces on a ball on their chair? That the school was treating me with not passing my child on to the next grade based on my signing these papers?

I said that I would have Snow White tested and I meant it. I would have it done over the summer vacation which would give “us” as a whole a jump on things rather than waiting until after the school year started. They told me that if I did it on my own they would hold Snow White back in the 4th grade and let her peers go on to the 5th grade while they sorted out the details of the testing. This makes no sense to me. How can they pass her on if I sign the papers and let them take longer to do the testing? Wasn’t it the whole point that I have her tested as they wanted? Wouldn’t that be the same? Why do they think it is not the same? It would be done sooner rather than later and Snow White could still enter the 5th grade.

Three of the women in the meeting were very angry with me through out the whole thing. I was glad when it was over. It was too intense and I was trying to be very cool and collected. The next week I met again with my lawyer. I have to rephrase that, he is Snow White’s lawyer and stated so in our first meeting. “You may be the one paying me but my interest is in what is best for your daughter. If the testing comes back that your daughter needs special attention at school or to be medicated I will be her representative, not yours. If we do not agree that I am to represent your daughter’s best interest then we can part ways at any time.” I was really touched by this and I showed him all the documentation I had.

He also noticed that Snow White’s grades were always good and that she had passed the last year’s state testing on grade and above. He was really interested in the interim report that was altered with whiteout. I so wish I could find that original document!! I sent a copy back to the school so I could keep the original. I still cannot find the original. I kept it at my desk at work for a few weeks. I am afraid that I folded it in an old document no longer needed and put it in the recycling bin. If I brought it home and find it, it would be of great use to show the school has altered documents to their benefit. At the time I received it I was suspicious about the white outs but didn’t think it was a document the school had to obtain the original of through out the year.

Along with that the lawyer said that since the school has been asking for parental permission for so long it is not likely they will receive it through the school judicial system. If the school thought this was such an emergency they would have pursued a judicial interaction before hand. He stated that the judge would also take in to consideration that Snow White has already taken the testing at great expense to the parent. The judge will question why the parent took on the expense and he has a ready answer that the school changed their reasons for the testing over and over again over the years she has attended the public schools here in this state.

At my 4th of July picnic I asked parents if they had received their child’s report cards. All answered that they had received them last month. When I said that I had not yet received Snow White’s the unanimous reply was “they are waiting to CTOAs (Cover Their Own A**s). Last week I finally decided to call the school and told them that I have not yet received a copy of my daughter’s report card.

I had received Snow White’s State Testing Report two weeks ago. She scored Proficient in Math and Advanced in Reading, Comprehension, and Spelling. She was only 3 points below Advanced for Math and 3 points from a perfect score for RCS. This past Monday I finally received Snow White’s Report Card. She is in the 4th grade and yet she was scored BB (Below Basic) for Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Fractions, Time. My daughter knows her mathematics and knew how to do fractions before the school started to teach her. She scored well enough at the end of the school year to receive a score of Proficient from the state testing but yet the school says she has BB rating? Snow White has a great passion for reading but finds the books in school very dull, “Who wants to read a book with the words half as tall as a normal paragraph and about a poor dog who looses a leg then gets better? That stage of books Mom, they always get better and there is no after story. It isn’t a real chapter book story.” I flipped through a few of the books offered in the library box in her room and found they were very 2nd grade material. No wonder she cannot stand the material. Also, her room is not allowed anything but the library box to read from. No wonder she is put off by reading now. She loved reading before but almost stopped all together when it became an assignment to right down what you were reading and how far you got. She finished books before and Chapter Book

On the news in either York or Lancaster there was a young boy who had two breast removals due to the medications that the school said he must be on or he would not be allowed to attend school. If the mother did not admister the drug at home and provide the school with the drug then he was not allowed to attend school. It was a behavior medication prescribed after the school testing. This poor innocent child had to indure breast removal surgery but the school was not held accountable. The mother was told to contact the pharmasitical company. Yet, if she had not given him the prescribed medication her son would not be allowed in school and she would have gone to jail. What really took me by surprise is that no one thought to hold the school who diagnosed and demanded the prescription be held accountable.

Before learning the cost and the way the school goes about testing I would not have thought this family wouldn't know the end cost. I am so sorry for what they have been through. I also do not believe this starts with the company who supplies the medication but those who started the process and went through with it. Starting with the school.


WM said...

Wow...just wow. First off good for you for sticking to your guns and not letting them push their testing on you. You know your child. They seem to be really reaching. It almost seems as if she needs more stimulation. Perhaps she needs to be tested for advanced placement classes.
It's sad how schools are quick to try and label children negatively . Good for you for retaining a lawyer and making sure you educate yourself about all your options was so important. Keep on keepin on, I know this can't be easy!

Lahdeedah said...

Wow. Well good for you getting outside testing. There's nothing wrong with the school saying, hey, we think something is going on, will you get your kid tested, but to seriously go as far as they are? They are not acting in her best interest... they wanted her tested, adn you're doing the testing!! I'm glad you have a lawyer.

What is going on with her? Anything come from the private testing?

3carnations said...

Wow. What a nightmare. Best of luck with it all.

Good to see you "back". :-)

Claire said...

You have an informative blog. I’ve learned something from it. I do have mine too Thanks

Kisui Nai said...

Nice post, as well as the blog also

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