Challenges at school with a parent.. Can someone do this?

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    • #70120
      momof2
      Participant

      My son is 10 years old, in the 4th grade, and has ADHD (diagnosed when he was going into 2nd grade). For some back ground ..He was born with a congenital heart defect and had life saving surgery at 12 weeks old. The surgery lasted about 9 hours and he had reduced oxygen to his brain due to the bypass machine. They say a lot of heart kids with these type of surgeries have symptoms of ADHD later in life. Because of his heart condition he can not take any ADHD medication as they are all stimulants and carry high risks for cardiac patients. He has always been a child that was emotional, hard to calm down as an infant.. a self soother. Starting around 4 or 5 years he showed signs of being aggressive: hitting, scratching, biting other kids. I started taking him to a therapist, hoping to eliminate the issue as the preschool that he attended was starting to get so many complaints from parents. The therapist, who was convinced that his behavior was a result of trauma from the surgery when he was an infant (could be some of it, not completely sure), really did not accomplish anything. I was hopeful that when my son started Kindergarten, the structure of the new environment would change him. We enrolled him in a catholic school, and 6 months later had to move him to a public school as the behavior continued and the school wanted nothing to do with it. He has been at the same school ever since. When we started, the principal at the time, was a real jerk. Not recognizing that there were contributing factors to my sons behavior and assuming that the problem was with our “home environment” and my husband and I’s parenting skills. (My husband and I are both from very solid family backgrounds. Both of our parents have been married over 50 years, we are professionals, and upstanding members of our community). The principal wanted us to go to parenting classes at a non profit which support children that are in abusive homes. I found this super offensive. He even resisted having my son evaluated, so we went out and paid $3500 to have our own evaluation done and received a diagnosis. After that he was able to get an IEP and Behavior Plan through the school. The years have been challenging, one year he was hitting others, the next year he would flee the class room. Slowly he has gotten better but still has his moments. Now he is in the 4th grade. He started the year FANTASTIC. No issues for the first few months. Everyone was pleased, and he seemed excited to go to school. Just before Thanksgiving he had a few hiccups, one morning he was getting shoved by another child and he shoved back (they both got in trouble). Then one day he was on the play ground during recess. He was playing a game with a group of kids. He got into an argument over a ball with a girl. The girl called him “stupid” and he impulsively lashed out and punched her (apparently in the face). He received a suspension. I met with the (now new) administration who are much better and understanding then the previous principal. We decided that more support would be put in place to help with unstructured time, helping him navigate certain situations. I thought all was well until I had a follow up IEP meeting this week. The principal told me that the parents of the girl who he hit are still upset. They came to the school and requested that they change my son’s classroom and were considering getting a restraining order against him! The Principal told them that the incident did not happen in the classroom, and that they have not had any issues with my son in class. A Classroom change would not resolve anything. She also told them that supports were being put in place to work through the behavior. I think the parents were looking for her support in seeking the restraining order! I was floored! It was an isolated incident, He has never done anything else to this girl before. Can they actually do this? I have seen a few news stories where a parent gets a restraining order on behalf of their child, but in those cases their is extreme bullying or the child was threatened with a weapon! I am nervous that we are going to be facing legal issues.

    • #70123
      PocoPer
      Participant

      Let me start with this disclaimer: I am not a lawyer nor do I know the law on the level a lawyer would. With that being said…

      I do have experience with restraining orders and from what I’ve always understood, there’s a burden of proof that must be met by the filer. There has to be evidence to show that the aggressor is putting the filer in harm’s way and that there’s a level of abuse occurring. My other understanding is that police reports must first be filed. A lot of the criteria to be met may depend on the state you live in.

      Again, not a lawyer but I cannot see any reputable judge entertaining a one-time situation for an order of restraint.

      Has your son ever had any interaction with this girl? I find it odd that after a one-time incident they would have this reaction, unless there’s a history there that you don’t know about. Maybe their daughter was a victim of bullying at some point and it has made them super sensitive to any and all incidents.

      I hesitate at this next portion because this advice could either go great or really turn south quickly: Have you tried talking with the parents, even with the administration there? Have you apologized to them for what happened? You don’t have to divulge your son’s history or medical records, but sometimes an acknowledgment of wrong doing helps. Though we know our children and we understand many of the reasons “why” they do what they do, their behavior sometimes negatively impacts others and that needs to be held accountable. (I’ve been in so many embarrassing situations saying “sorry” I’ve lost count.)

      The positive here is that it sounds like this administration is on the ball and is in support of your son. That’s a great change from the previous one! I bet the principal will be able to help calm the waters again, but if you suspect things are starting to escalate, I would get a lawyer so your interests are protected as well. Right now though, I suspect (though can’t guarantee) that the parents are talking out of frustration and a desire to protect their child which is understandable.

      Hope this helps!

    • #70152
      impudentmin
      Participant

      It sounds as though your son is being accused of bullying behaviour by another family.
      Bullying is usually a persistent and sustained, targeted system of attack. This doesn’t sound like your son, but the accusation is a difficult one to bear.
      It sounds as though your school principal is on board with appropriate behaviour and appropriate responses to negative incidents. Keep talking with her about your concerns for your son.
      In a situation like this, your son needs his justice upheld, also. He has every right to a smooth education with a consistent classroom teacher and environment, even if he made a poor choice in his behaviour. I hope this support from school helps you to relax.
      Somehow, some kids make easy targets for all kinds of accusations, true and false. I hope that your school is able to put things in place for your son to make it easier to navigate if anything like this happens again.
      I also hope that the other family involved allow their child to recover without being filled with fear and rightous indignation over one incident. It is actually possible to bully a child through false or exagerated accusations of bullying … I hope the social skills of all the grade 4’s can be developed by exploring this incident carefully, instead of allowing reaction to rule the outcome.
      Best luck and may calm prevail

    • #70192
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Unfortunately, all too many people (including school administrators and officers) criminalize behavior that is related to a disability. It’s a very real problem in the US.

      I would request that the school do a functional behavior assessment (FBA) and draft a behavior intervention plan (BIP) based on the results. That will help to address these issues and help your son meet expectations at school, but it will also show good faith that you and the school are working to improve the situation and taking measures so he won’t hurt others.

      5 School Assessments Your Child May Be Entitled To

      Ask the school if they have a social skills group too. Schools often offer this for kids who need more skills training and support in this area. It’s often led by a guidance counselor. It can be extremely helpful if done right.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #70224
      momof2
      Participant

      Thank you all for your advice. I have not attempted speaking to other parents. Honestly, the incident occurred early November, my son told me the name of the girl when it happened but it is a child I am not familiar with. I don’t want to dig up the past by asking him again who it was. The school does not provide this information due to privacy.This most definitely is an isolated incident. My son has no history with this other child, and I have not been informed of any other unacceptable behavior in relation to this child.
      I am not familiar with the Functional Behavior assessment, but during the last IEP meeting they did recommend an additional assessment, I will need to refer to my notes as this may be the FBA. If it is not, I will be sure to inquire about it.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by momof2.
    • #70226
      Pump2Duncan
      Participant

      We had a FBA done and then a BIP done in 4th grade (4th grade was a ROUGH year for my son) and I found it extremely helpful and a terrific way to advocate for my son. School does need to be a safe place for every student. The FBA and BIP encouraged the safe environment for all.

      Having a BIP also made it possible for each and every staff member at the school that came into contact with my son to be playing by the same playbook. So even when a less understanding administrator came through, he/she still had to follow the BIP. Honestly, I found it one of the most useful parts of his IEP.

    • #70435
      Shirokuma
      Participant

      Am I the only one to think that its the girl who started it?
      Ok, punching is very bad behaviour and your son should apologise. But , she started to insult/bully him. When I was a teenager I also punched others who called me stupid or touched my stuff. In my opinion the apology should be both ways.

      I am not a lawyer nor do I know the American education system. But a suspension already feels a hard punishment to him because from now it will become even more difficult for your child to follow class.

      What about letting him write an apology letter to the other girl and write his feelings. That he felt upset of being called stupid and that he regrets having punch.
      Writing a letter by hand has more effort and emotion behind it.

      I don’t think that they can put A restraining order if only this one incident has happened. It can ruin your sons while future while that girl started it.
      If they put restraining order you can also file complaint for bullying, but of course peace and friendship is a better way.

      So my advice: write a apology letter.

    • #70456
      Mom3:)
      Participant

      My son has ADHD too and has hit several kids mostly because they started it. He is always pointed fingers at because his impulsive behavior. But the school told me they can’t hold him accountable like other kids because his diagnosis.
      I’ve seen another kid hit kids at times and the school appointed a private aid for the child. The kid was smart so that class was hi LRE but the school gets money for each IEP and when it’s necessary they can even have an aide.
      In the past we hired a special education attorney. It was very helpful.
      Why is this girl calling him stupid to begin with? Her parents might need a parenting class to teach their kid how to not be so offensive.

    • #71274
      TaurusMoon
      Participant

      Wow…this is my first time hearing about a family going so far as to seek a restraining order against a family/child. I am sorry that this has escalated to this point!

      My son is also 10 yo and in the 4th grade. Last year, he was going through hell as he is the type of personality that if someone comes for him, he will lash out in self defense. At the time, he and two other boys were each other’s own worst enemy. First recess they would be bffs, by lunch recess it was war. Although my son responds to being provoked, he is not one to provoke others. Because he is ADHD hyperactive/impulsive, he gives a big show when someone does provoke him, as these boys tended to do. My son’s huge emotional response often left him being “the man caught holding the gun.”

      One instance of fighting led to everyone getting in trouble, another instance where one of the boys scratched my son and provoked him by trying to exclude him from reading circle, my son got an in school suspension because he scratched back hard enough to draw blood. The other boy got a “talking to.” A few weeks later the same boy called my son a “slave and a nazi” and received a “talking to.” From what I understand, my son was the only child in the class that school year to receive a large punishment such as a suspension.

      A particularly disappointing incident last year was when my son was twirling a stick around at recess. A good female friend of his got too close and was hit in the eye with the stick. I had already told the school/teacher that I was in Seattle for work so please reach out to dad with big issues. Instead I found myself between meetings responding to a lengthy email about how my son had hit a girl with a stick and had to receive a talking to. Mind you, this was after almost a full year of emotional outbursts and the school was “all hands on deck” to handle the “tornado that is my son.” I am not too proud to say when my son has done wrong and this was not the time. Given the circumstances, I knew it was an accident, but the girl was advised to stay away from my son.

      Unfortunately for our children big reactions are tangible to school staff. The kids who start poop with your child “under the radar” stay under the radar as your kiddo heads to the chopping block. Nevermind that your child was provoked, nevermind that your child is feeling targeted. “You need to get your kid under control” is the message that is sent your way.

      This is not to say that our kids should be able to haul off carte blanche. We have had to work with our son for endless hours about not giving a provoker what they want- a reaction. In your case, perhaps a meeting with the parents with the school as the mediator would be useful to get an understanding of why this family wants a restraining order. Schools seem reluctant to host such meetings since tensions can run high, but since the family’s response is very serious, I think a meeting would be reasonable.

      Good luck to you all…

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by TaurusMoon.
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