Guest Blogs

First Day of Summer School

I have the honor of being known forever as that psycho-mom who runs bawling to school admin every time someone looks sideways at her kid with ADHD.

Stomping Grounds has gone from being my place to drink coffee and write my blog to my place to cry and write rants. If I keep this up, they’ll be calling for a psych consult, to see what drugs they should slip into my coffee. Or they’ll kick me out. “We’re sorry, but we must ask you to leave. This is a happy place. You’re ruining our good karma.”

I cry when I’m mad, and once again, I’m pissed as hell.

Summer school started this morning. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve been trying to set the stage for Nat to have a good experience.

At Natalie’s last IEP meeting, I advocated that the summer school teacher be made aware that Nat has an IEP, and that she should read it. Last year, the teacher had no information.

“Give her a copy yourself,” I was told.

I wrote about readjusting our schedules to get up early, in light of Nat’s recent sleep disturbance.

Our preparation also included a lot of talk:

Natalie: “I don’t want to go! I’m scared!”

Me: “You’ll be fine! You had fun last year, remember?”

Natalie: “I want Mrs. Bakshi! Mrs. Bakshi was nice!”

Me: “You’ll like Mrs. Braun. You’ll recognize her when you see her. Her room was right across the hall from Mrs. Junck’s. Bekah says Mrs. Braun is REALLY nice.”

Nice my ass.

I walk Natalie into a strange school this morning. A poster inside the front door tells us that Mrs. Braun’s class will be in room 9. Down the hall we go. Along the way, teachers are greeting kids, welcoming them into classrooms. We get to room 9. Door closed. Dark.

“What room are you looking for?” a teacher asks.

At-Home Tips for School Kids

“The poster said room 9, but it’s dark.”

“That’s the right room. Mrs. Braun isn’t here yet.”

We go in, turn on the lights.

“Oh, here she is!” I say. Mrs. Braun walks in. After a moment, I approach Mrs. Braun. “This is my copy of Natalie’s IEP. I was wondering if you’d be willing to read it?”

“This isn’t special ed! She can’t be here!”

“She was here last year,” I say. “We talked about her coming at her IEP meeting in the spring. Her special ed teacher referred her.”

“This isn’t special ed,” she repeats. “You can leave her today, but she might not be able to come back.”

Natalie’s holding my hand, listening to this. “This is adult stuff. I’ll take care of it. I don’t want you to worry about it.”

“I’m scared!” Natalie repeats.

Thirty minutes later, I’m in the office of the district’s director of special ed. Not only did the school decline my request to provide Natalie’s IEP to her summer school teacher (“Give it to her yourself”). Nat, who was already scared about starting summer school, was greeted by a dark room, then: “This isn’t special ed! She can’t be here!”

“The summer school program isn’t funded by special ed dollars. The fact that some special ed students are allowed to attend is a gift.”

“It’s not a gift if they have a bad experience,” I say. Don’t I sound all smart and in control!? I blubbered every word and used up half a box of Kleenex.)

She consults with Natalie’s principal. They’ll sort things out, so that Nat will have a good experience. Message on my voicemail later: All is well. The teacher will be happy to read the IEP and make the outlined accommodations. Nat had a fabulous first day.

Hmmph. Fabulous. I have a f@#% fabulous headache. And I have the honor of being known forever more as that psycho-mom who runs bawling to admin every time someone looks sideways at her kid.

Get used to it, everyone. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.