My medically fragile child's new teacher has already singled her out because I complained last year.
My daughter has a weak immune system and life threatening allergies, has a small brain tumor that may or may not be contributing, and has had 2 surgeries in the past 3 years. She has missed more than 30 days of school each year. She is an articulate, friendly and extremely well behaved child, very motivated in school. In standardized testing, she misses only one or two questions, if any, in every subject. The problem is that her teachers often won’t save handouts for her, won’t assist her in finding a working computer at school when it is required to make up her work, sometimes won’t accept her make up work, won’t make appointments for make up work, or make them and don’t show, complain loudly to her classmates about her absences, and announce her medical conditions in class. This has happened 3 years in a row with different teachers, despite my talking to them at the beginning of the year, but was compounded last year when one of her teachers was very disorganized. Fed up, I complained to an administrator about a school policy that I thought was contributing, and she forwarded my email, resulting in an email war between me and the various teachers. The one teacher retailiated by discussing it with the class. This year my child’s new teacher gave a speech to her class about working things out with the teachers and not telling parents about problems because she didn’t want parent emails. Then she singled out my child to hear it again. I am fuming! Any advice on h
EdEd gave you wonderful advice. Follow up on his tips. Do ask for a "504" based upon your child's medical concerns. Talk with the school's counselor or principal about this in order to initiate the process. If you run into a snag, contact the district's administration office for help.
That's a very unfortunate and frustrating situation! Ideally a school would bend over backwards to accommodate your child because it's the right thing to do. In reality, sometimes it's important to have your child's rights spelled out in formal documentation. Children with disabilities or medical diagnoses are guaranteed the same rights to education as other children, and there are protections in place to guarantee children those rights.
For example, you may want to consider asking for/advocating for something called a "504 Plan," which is a legally binding document that describes how a child with a particular disability with have equal access to education.
Practically, it can be helpful to know that some schools are hesitant to go this route because there is no money associated with "504 Plans" for schools, unlike special education, and it can require more work and responsibility for the school. Professional educators would have no problem with these added responsibilities, but less professional educators may. So, be prepared for an excuse why the school would not want to pursue a 504 plan.
It may also be helpful to find out if your district has a parent advocate program - someone who understands rules/procedures, and stands up for parents. If the district doesn't, a local community agency might. Stopping by the United Way in your county may prove helpful in finding such a community-based agency. Also, increasingly hospitals have parent advocates, pediatric psychologists, and other psychosocial/educational support personnel which may be able to guide you better as to the specifics of your districts.
You should be angry! I am a teacher and a mom - and I am angry! I apologize for the teachers who have treated you in this manner. It should never have happened.
A child who has a medical issue or a learning issue deserves the same treatment as all other students. In the past I have spoken to my class about why a child is out for an extended period of time or why a child needs to go to another teacher for reading or math. But, it is not in a negative manner, it is to help the class understand differences in how we learn.
Do you have other schooling options? If you have experienced this for 3 years and already involved administration, I worry that it may not improve...how sad! You and your daughter both deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and maybe you won't find it where you currently are. I will be thinking of you!
Try home school through Connections Academy Online plus you get to spend more time with your kid. I love It!!!!! It so much fun to bond with them and spend more time (quality) they dont see it as school they see it as an fun activity or a game that we get to do together its our special time
I am a special education teacher. I am horrified to hear how you and your daughter have been treated at her school! To discuss a student's medical issues with the class is both unprofessional and insensitive! Forget about school policy, your child has a right to a free, appropriate public education, and school policy can't lawfully stand in the way of that! You have a couple of options, depending on your state and school district's services. In Virginia, we offer intermittent homebound services for students with health problems that cause frequent absences. The intermittent homebound teacher should provide some instruction and coordinates assignments with the student's teachers of record.
Here is an excerpt from the Virginia Department of Education website describing homebound services in our state:
"Homebound services may be provided on a daily basis for students whose acute illnesses prevent them from attending school for a short period of time. Some students have chronic illnesses that may “flare up” necessitating shorter, more frequent periods of time away from school. For these students, it is appropriate for the physician or licensed clinical psychologist to request intermittent homebound services. These are services that would start and stop, based on pre-defined triggers. Examples of students who may require intermittent homebound services are those with cancer, while they are receiving chemotherapy or are immune suppressed; or, children with sickle cell disease who are in “crisis.” The homebound instructional services for these students should be individualized to minimize the interruption of instruction.
Based on the premise that instruction should take place in the school setting to the fullest extent possible, school divisions are encouraged to provide part-time homebound instruction for students who can tolerate less than 5 full days in the classroom setting. This may be an excellent transition strategy for students who have been on extended homebound or who lack the endurance for a whole day in the school setting.
Homebound instruction may be provided to eligible students utilizing online technology. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, the program content must be verified by the homebound instruction coordinator and must be taught by licensed teachers. Individual student instruction shall be monitored by a teacher licensed by the Virginia Board of Education or by the homebound instruction coordinator, as long as the coordinator holds a
license to teach in Virginia. Should an online provider be used to deliver instruction, the school pacing guidelines must be followed.
If the home setting is not deemed appropriate for instruction and the student’s condition allows, homebound instruction may take place at the school, public library, or other agreed upon location." The entire document can be found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/homebound/homebound_instructional_services.pdf
You also have the option to request an evaluation from special education services at your school for other health impairment (OHI) under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), since your daughter's health problems impact her education because of frequent, necessary absences. Read the following web page for more information: http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/ohi
You will need documentation from your daughter's doctor describing her medical condition and possibly recommending intermittent homebound or other supportive services for when she becomes ill and has to miss school.
If you do not receive help for your daughters situation, write a letter to the principal (typed on paper, signed and mailed). Include everything that has happened including the fact that teachers have chosen to discuss your child's medical conditions with the class. If you still haven't received the help you need, mail the same letter to the school board. Nothing gets results like a letter to the school board!
Teaching special education is very stressful and has a high burn out rate. It is understandable that many parents are stressed over their child's special needs and the round the clock care sometimes necessary. however, I find that despite parents good intention to advocate for their child's needs they instead have a tone of frustration and hostility which sometimes interferes with effective communication. Sometimes this results in a dysfunctional relationship with the teacher, or multiple teachers. To compound this problem parents complain to the administration and then the administration adds additional stress on the already stressed teacher, sometimes the administration even threatens the teachers livelihood and reputation as a special needs instructor. In addition, many schools are short on funds, teachers are underpaid, and supplies (paper, books, and computers) are limited/rationed, classroom para-educators (in my experience) are often not very reliable employees increasing a teacher's load, and the school may be very strict about students having average daily attendance which is where funds for the school comes from (if it is public). Although this does not excuse poor performing teachers it is a common thread that well meaning parents seem frustrated with special education teachers as they simply do not know that they too are under a lot of stress. Since this has happened with multiple teachers it may be that your frustration (as well as the frustration of the teacher, the school, and the administration) is interfering with clear communication. I suggest you first consider the stress the schools, administrators, and teachers may be under and then re-approach by asking for your child's needs calmly and directly to the teacher at a scheduled meeting time and then further remind them by putting it in an email that you send to them and you (if you prefer you can write a letter and have it put in their box but keep a copy for yourself).
Also please consider the facts:
How do you know that the teacher:
"...won’t save handouts for her, won’t assist her in finding a working computer at school when it is required to make up her work, sometimes won’t accept her make up work, won’t make appointments for make up work, or make them and don’t show, complain loudly to her classmates about her absences, and announce her medical conditions in class."
1: Are there computer available for your student to make up work? At our public school we have to order in advance for a computer, if there is one to give.
2: Is the student misplacing the worksheets? I often find worksheets and makeup folders left in the classroom by the students and parents in odd places.
3: Were you in the classroom when the teacher was "complaining loudly"? Is this first hand information? Is it from a student? If it is, you may have inaccurate information. Perhaps you need to inquire if this did actually happen.
I hope this helps and I hope you find the resolution that you are seeking. Please be easy with yourself, your feelings of being "fed-up" and fuming" although they may seem justified to have, the stress that feelings like these inflict are very painful to hold on to and are not good for you, your relationships, and/or your family. I hope that if you choose to take this advice, that it works for you and that you strengthens your communication with your child's teacher such that it positively influences you, your child's classroom, and your family.
I have attached a resource that explains some challenges that your teacher faces for your understanding.