January 7, 2019 at 10:17 am #106291
I recently discovered at my son’s holiday party (3rd grade) that his teacher has moved his desk to the corner of the class and he faces the wall. According to my son he has been there for a month and the teacher hasn’t allowed him to return. All the other children are grouped in the center of the class. I have sent an email requesting his teacher to allow him to return to the group and I also requested a day for me to attend his class for an evaluation. I haven’t heard back from her yet. Has anyone else dealt with this issue? It breaks my heart to see him separated from his peers. If I don’t hear back in the next couple days I will request a meeting with the principal. I tried looking up studies on this matter but don’t really find anything.
- This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by jasminemwells.
January 7, 2019 at 11:08 am #106305
Whoa. You say ‘recently discovered’; and he’s been there a month.
What the actual??
You’ve sent an email and got no response yet?
If it were me, I would be in the school’s office ASAP today, standing on the principal’s desk (figuratively) to get an explanation.
3rd grade? No, this needs to be cleared up and corrected NOW!
Grizzly Bear Mama time.
January 21, 2019 at 10:33 am #107228
If you are wanting to have a productive and lasting relationship with the school, unleashing the mama bear isn’t going to help. Current and future teachers aren’t going to work well with you and your child if you verbally attack them. Tone down the rage (however rightful) … it only hurts your child in the long run.
January 7, 2019 at 11:14 am #106310
My son is in middle school so we’ve been at this a long time and I can’t think of a single situation where it would be acceptable for the teacher to do this. The way you wrote this makes it sound like it’s happening at this moment and if that is the case and you have the flexibility to do so I would go pick him up from school. If that’s not an option, I would call the school, ask to speak to the principal and let he/she know what is transpiring, that itsunacceptable, and that they need to come up with a different solution. If, as I assume is more likely, this event has already happened and you are now trying to address it after the fact I would definitely be asking for a face to face meeting with the teacher to first understand why, then explain why it’s an unacceptable solution and work toward alternatives for the future. If she is not responsive or uncooperative, escalate the situation to the principal. If your son does not already have one, now is the perfect time to request an IEP Evaluation with a Functional Behavior Assessment so that a team can come together, understand what is causing whatever behavior led to this punishment and a plan (IEP or 504) can be put in place that will help him learn and grow – tactics to head off and resolve behavior issues, vs singling out and embarrassing him. If he was being disruptive he should have been sent to the office or other appropriate location to calm and regroup instead of what was done.
January 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm #106335
um…. What can you learn facing a wall?
Unfortunately, the teacher has now taught those children that he doesn’t belong in the classroom with them, and it could be difficult for him to be accepted by them for a long time in the future. That’s just wrong. I don’t care what the circumstances are.
January 7, 2019 at 2:59 pm #106340
I had a similar problem when my son was in kindergarten. He went to a charter school because they boosted that their learning style was “fit to the individual” which i knew he needed because he has a hard time focusing. We set a meeting with the teacher, wrote an IEP and watched this teacher take notes on his behaviors. Finally school started and after the 1st day he would cry and tell me he didnt want to go back to the “mean” teacher, so one day i stayed to see what was going on (i was nervous and i hate confrontation) while i was there the teacher showed me his behavior she deemed unacceptable. It was literally him talking to the kid next to him and they choose the same book and slightly fought for it, very minor no hitting just a small struggle for his behaviors and he ended up giving the book to the other kid. But while i watched this she was saying to me ” see, look at that, he’s hurting the other kid, he cant be around the class, i think we should isolate him. Give him his own desk away from all the kids, and make him sit outside the circle during circle time” I didnt even know what to do, i knew he would be crushed because he loves his peers and i couldnt think or understand this teacher. I ended up only making it to my car before i broke down in tears. I called his dad after and told him everything. He ended up taking an early day and dropped by the school an hour after i left. He called me and informed me that when i left our son started crying, they put him in a corner and left him there for 40 minutes without notifying us of his distress or trying to calm him. Once i heard that i called the school told them i was picking him up and informed them we would be leaving their school and going to our local public school.
Sorry that was long, but if you and child are uncomfortable about it remove them, seek a new teacher or a new school. I didn’t even think these were really options until my son started having problems in class. Since then we’ve been through 2 teachers and just the one school change. Our school now is willing to work with us on just about everything but i know not every school is like this.
You can also call the school and see what they offer as far as behavioral teachers and programs. My son has a few teachers that help him through class on really bad days and the school gave us info/ a resource woman if we have questions or need more information on something.
January 10, 2019 at 8:21 am #106490
This is heartbreaking and infuriating. Moving a student to face the wall all day is unacceptable for any student. But to call out a child with disabilities in this way is cruel, and it’s discrimination. As other said, he can’t learn this way, and she has damaged him socially among his peers. Not to mention that she has crushed his self-esteem.
Call a meeting with the principal ASAP. Ask for the FBA mentioned above, if it’s a behavior issue. Demand that he be returned to the group and treated equally at once. I personally would ask for a change in teacher/classroom as well — this teacher is obviously damaging for him.
If the situation isn’t immediately rectified, let the school know you’ll be filing a discrimination complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. This is a common practice when kids with disabilities are being discriminated against. No school wants this. But if the knowledge that you’ll do it doesn’t change things, then absolutely file the complaint.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
January 11, 2019 at 3:02 pm #106549
Hello, I just joined today..
My 8 year old was recently
Diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. He
Is struggling with behavior, focus and impulse.
Also, staying on take is school.
We have had multiple “behavior” forms sent
Home and I have dealt with them, discussed
The behavior and why it is unacceptable
And then we move on. He usually does a good
Job of dealing with this.
Yesterday, we received another behavior
Sheet. This time, he humped another students
Leg/hip in line at school.
Oh my gosh!! I was mortified!!
We just received his prescription, ND will be
Starting it tomorrow.
I am just at a loss, what in the world
Would make him do that?
January 14, 2019 at 10:00 am #106632
My guess is he was trying to be accepted socially or get his peers to laugh. He probably saw another kid do it before and got a “good” response from the group. I understand him getting a referral/behavior report for that. Just make sure he’s not getting into trouble for behavior that is clearly part of his ADHD.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
January 16, 2019 at 3:05 pm #106878
God can you imagine how humiliated he must be?
January 21, 2019 at 8:03 am #107207
This is in reply to the child’s desk in the corner conversation:
First off, I’m sorry that you are dealing with this. As the parent of an ADHD son who’s desk was also moved away from the group and facing the wall while he was in elementary school, I understand how devastating this can feel.
I learned about the position of my son’s desk when visiting his classroom for parent orientation night (which took place about a month after the school year started.) I was shocked to say the least but didn’t share my grievances with the teacher at that time. I decided first to talk to my son about it and to check in to see how he felt. I assumed he would say he hated sitting away from the group but much to my surprise that was not the case. When asked about it, he said: “ I love my desk being away from everyone. Now I don’t talk to everyone and I actually get my work done. And I don’t get in trouble now because I’m not talking to other people and I’m getting my work done.”
This completely “humbled” the mama bear in me that was ready to tell the teacher that I emphatically disagreed with her tactics. What I learned that day is that my son may know what he needs more than me or any teacher so I need to always check in first with him before supporting or being disapproving of teachers’ classroom management techniques.
Just thought I’d share because I had a similar story, but with my story’s ending was a surprise (at least to me). We allowed our son to sit where he felt he could do his best work. I asked him if he thought he might like his desk better if it was away from the group but facing the board and he said yes. So we made that change and let him know that he could move his desk to be closer to the group anytime he wanted. I think our story is a good example of how teachers, parents, and students can (or at should make the attempt to) work together. Then go from there…
January 21, 2019 at 9:46 am #107218
I had many of these types of problems while my son was in school. However, he was not usually facing the wall. Due to sound effects he would make (humming, singing, making noises while tapping his pencil) his group mates would constantly complain. Eventually he had to be moved into a group by himself against the teacher’s desk.
She was a very kind and understanding teacher but wasn’t able to accommodate his general noise. He is like a living frat party unmedicated, and for a couple months due to medication changes and weight-loss he had to be off meds. As a teacher myself I think the entire class needs to be taught in a more kinestetic and wiggle/noise friendly way, but my personality (I also have ADHD) is the filter through which I teach, as is a more gentle person’s personality. I remember his report card saying he needed to improve his group work, to which I asked “How can he get better at groupwork while sitting alone against your desk when everyone else is in groups?”
Eventually my son asked to be homeschooled. I am blessed to have been able to quit my job and homeschool him full-time. We have been doing that for three years now and he does so much better. We still have weekly gym class and field trips with a large group of other homeschool students he knows. He isn’t as distracted, overwhelmed, emotionally reactive, nor does he have 2 hours of homework.
I truly hope you find a solution that works best for your child. Often the teachers are trying their best to accommodate and teach 20-30 different learning styles, behaviors etc.
January 21, 2019 at 9:51 am #107220
Please do not be afraid to meet with the principal and confront the teacher about this. Your son needs for you to do this. We had a similar experience with our son in second grade. We met with the teacher and wanted to take the approach of “lets work together”. She continued to treat him differently than the other children. Without going into much detail, this approach was not effective at all. The result was his growing frustration, him becoming the target of bullying, and ultimately removing him from that school. The teacher sets the example for the students in what is acceptable behavior in how to treat each other. I regret the way that we chose to handle this situation. I would suggest arranging a meeting with both the teacher and the principal together with a goal of setting a plan and expectations. The teacher needs to be held accountable for his/her actions. I am happy to report that our son is doing wonderfully at his new school both academically and socially. I will take a stronger approach if ever in this situation again.
January 21, 2019 at 10:08 am #107222
I happen to be a mother of a child with the diagnosis ADD/ADHD. My child is also a 5th grade male. As yourself , I want my child to be happy , make good friends, and experience success in life and the classroom. My experience in the workplace is also 19 years teaching in public school system in Kansas. My background is half of the time teaching kindergarten and half time teaching second grade. I feel giving you my history will help explain my background and hopefully my response to this teacher’s style of discipline response.
First of all, if your child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and you do not have either a 504 or I.E.P. plan for your child this may be something you wish to request to protect him more from this type of educator. My child has a 504 plan and this gives you an opportunity to legally require his teacher to make decisions including his parents in how things run in the classroom to intervene on your child’s behalf. My suggestion, is to put in writing to the principal that you would like to give them your child’s medical diagnosis and request for either a 504 plan if he does not already have one. Also let the principal know you have concerns on your child’s self esteem with the classroom isolation discipline practice.
One thing I requested was one break a day for my child when he was younger. Our building has peace corners in every room.(bean bag with sand timer for 5 min.). This is one of many options we offer our students. Also order an ADD/ADHD advocacy shirt online like I did and wear it to your meeting so they understand you are present to advocate for the success of the little love of your life. Attitudemag.com has some articles you can look over for suggestions.
If you already have either a 504 or I.E.P.; Request a meeting with the principal, school counselor, and school psych. to share your concern for changes to be made to his current plan to better support your child and stipulate for a break if need be during the day.
January 21, 2019 at 10:09 am #107223
At one particular school, because the teachers all talked to each other, my desk was put by the teachers from 3rd grade through 5th. Needless to say, this singled me out as different and weird, alienated and ostracized me from my peers and encouraged a certain amount of bullying. I wasn’t hyperactive in class, just horrendously bored and would draw comics and share them with my neighbors.
I think they can’t single out kids anymore like this, so I would get in touch with the principal, and then the Superintendent over your school system and then if need be the super over the state. I’ve had to do that with bus issues. My daughter might have ADHD or Autism, but she’s so freakin smart she can learn the boring crap easily, where my mind spit it out like a baby refusing to eat something it thought was gross.
I know this makes you feel alone, but you are not alone, we are here to support you, and I’m sure other mom’s would rally at your side. No mother wants to see their child singled out, and I’m sure they would support. Call your school out on Facebook, get the issue some needed attention if they just try to ignore your concerns.
We are with you!
January 21, 2019 at 10:21 am #107226
As a mother of a child with ADHD and as a public school teacher, I am saddened that you found out about the placement of your child’s desk by attending a party. How shocking that must of been!
I would like to offer a little insight… teachers are people, too. Chances are pretty good that the teacher is untrained in supporting students with ADHD and/or unsupported by the administrator. Additionally, the teacher probably hasn’t responded to you to avoid confrontation. Though that’s not at all an excuse, it is a very human reason.
When you are able to speak with the teacher, you might want to ask some of these questions to understand how it happened to begin with…
When did the desk get moved?
What specific incidents lead to it? (Documentation?)
What other strategies were tried first?
Is this meant as a behavior modification strategy/punishment or academic support?
What research supports the effectiveness of this strategy?
Then a few questions to understand how your child’s day looks…
Is my child required to sit in that desk during the entire class time?
Do you allow opportunities during class time for movement, interactions with peers, etc? (I don’t mean recess here. I mean while in the classroom.)
What other learning spaces in the classroom can my child utilize?
What changes do you make throughout the school day to support my child in actively participating in lessons and meaningful academic conversations with peers?
How has my child’s learning improved since this desk placement?
Lastly, some questions to prompt the change you want to see…
What are you hoping this desk placement will accomplish?
Can the school work together to figure out other research-based strategies to accomplish these goals?
If your child does not already have a 504, bring to this meeting documentation of the ADHD diagnosis as well as the written letter requesting a 504.
All of these suggestions only apply if you are at a public school. If things don’t change quickly, consider engaging an education advocate. If you’re at a private school, LEAVE!!!
January 21, 2019 at 11:37 am #107250
This is not acceptable. Unfortunately most teachers
are not special ed certified and have to use their judgment (right or wrong) on how to deal with situations. You should call a meeting with the teacher, principal and superintendent. Try getting your Dr to write a letter of recommendations for the classroom. For example, seating within a group near the front of the class. You as the parent have to advocate and keep on the school dept like a squeaky wheel. Make sure every little thing is put into his/her plan. I’ve been in the situation before and it’s not fun. Our outcome was a different school where the principal is student oriented and the whole team is willing to do more to help my child succeed with minimal negative interactions and outcomes. What is not included in the plan is addressed in action plans for the best outcome. I also suggested to the school council that all teachers be certified in special education.
If children are integrated then all teachers should be certified to teach them. These kiddos require special attention and need teachers that are fully trained and understands why things happen. Good luck, it may take time and alot of energy, but its worth it!
January 21, 2019 at 5:58 pm #107270
This child was me 58 years ago, in 3rd grade. I wasn’t the bouncing off the walls type but I was a disruption. If I sat by the window, I stared out in a daydreaming daze, totally unengaged in class. I was then put as far from the window as possible. This didn’t work because I was sitting next to a boy who quickly became a friend and we talked. I was moved next to a new girl who seemed very quiet and shy. That is, until she met me. I, somehow brought out her personality.
I was then moved to the front of the class which didn’t work, so I was moved to face the front chalkboard, away from the others in the middle of the classroom. It was then that I got caught doing scientific experiments on the chalkboard eraser while the teacher tried to teach.
That night my parents got a call from the principal. My mother and I met with her the next morning. You see, I was far from stupid. I had an extremely high IQ. That coupled with the focus problems of ADHD made classroom learning a nightmare for me and subsequently the teacher.
They knew nothing of the “disorder” back then. Their answer was to put me up a grade and load me with enough work to challenge my brain. I guess it helped. I made it to here.
All I can speak in this case is from the child’s point of view. Though my teacher was at her wits’ end, I never felt shame from her until the eraser incident when she finally lost it. Though no one knew about the disorder let alone how to deal with it, they handled my case caringly and with the best insight they could. Because of this, I don’t feel “scarred” by the incident etc. it all depends on the school teachers and leadership. The parent has to be the advocate no matter what. Storming the castle and ripping new ones as you go will probably not get as positive an outcome as you desire, but presenting yourself as a determined and strong advocate for your child is never wrong and should get good results unless you are dealing with morons.
January 22, 2019 at 10:30 am #107313
As a teacher and a mother of a 13 year old who has ADHD, I’m appalled at what I just read. As a teacher I can tell you that it’s hard to teach a class when there are distractions and children with ADD/ADHD can be harder to engage during lessons. But putting a child in a corner to face the wall!!! It’s just unacceptable. The icing on the cake is that she isn’t responding to your emails. As a teacher we have 24 hrs to return a parent’s call or email. I can say that she is probably trying to diminish any visual distractions that cause him to be distracted but there are other ways to do that. She needs to speak to the school counselors for strategies to help him be more successful. Please send an email to the principal and let her/him know that this is going on and that the teacher is not responding to your emails and that you want to be seen ASAP! Good luck.
January 22, 2019 at 12:43 pm #107326
As a teacher, adult with ADHD, and mother with a child with ADHD, I honestly must say I have done this and to this day still do it. I have had all kinds of ADHD come through my classroom since I started teaching. When placing students away from others I consider the following:
Are they hurting others physically or emotionally?
Are they getting their work done?
Are they distracting others/Can others in the group learn?
I look for the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT. If they are not hurting others and everyone is able to do their work, but that student isn’t doing their work then I don’t move them. When they start to affect other students is when I make the move. But I don’t go straight to the corner/facing the wall. First, I move them to the group closest to mine and see if that helps. If that doesn’t work then I try putting them by themselves by in the middle of the room. If that doesn’t work then I try facing away from others. Mind you this is only during independent work. I always have the opportunity for them to come to their groups to work when it is that time. I also talk to the student to make sure that they know that it is not a punishment and that my only intention is to help them and others to get their work done.
The honest truth is that some kids NEED that in order to function in a classroom environment (which majority of the time is not ADHD friendly). I have had parents also complain about their child being excluded or punished, but after talking to me, they understand that it is only to help their child learn. It is very much like students that have to go to small group for testing. They are there because that is how their LEARN BEST. You wouldn’t keep your child from wearing glasses just because it makes them different, so why would you keep your child from learning because it is different than the other students?
I highly suggest talking to the teacher to get their input and reasoning. I tell all of my students’ parents to come to me if they have a concern so I can explain my reasoning and so I can get their input. If a parent tells me that they don’t want their student alone, then I move them back. Usually around progress report time the parents realize by their student’s grades that the move was in their student’s best interest and ask to move them back.
One of the other comments mentioned their child humping another student’s leg and that is a good point as well. I have one student this year that sits behind my desk because he hurts other students. My first priority is other students’ safety and I’m sorry if others don’t agree, but I will do what it takes to keep ALL students safe (as well as keep that student out of the office).
January 23, 2019 at 5:41 am #107397
Hello OP and everybody else.
I just want to offer an alternative take on this.
Firstly I do acknowledge your entirely valid distress OP, and I agree with others that the school should have been discussing this with you, especially as it seems to be a punitive measure in response to your child’s behaviour, rather than a positive accommodation intended to help them.
Inclusion, acceptance, and having the feeling of belonging is very important to children, but that can be manifest in different ways, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ‘best’ for a child to have the same arrangements as their ‘normie’ peers.
When I was eight or nine years old (I think that is around 3rd grade) I finished a piece of work early (and sloppily, of course!) and took myself off to a desk facing the wall in the corner of the classroom. I was in search of stimulation, and there was a stack of books on the corner desk. I started reading. After some time the teacher came to see what I was doing, asked me some questions about the book I was reading, and then left me to it.
This became a regular occurrence. Whenever I was bored I sat in the corner and read. This was three decades ago, nobody had a diagnosis. I think the teacher just recognised that I was gaining more from sitting in the corner reading than I was from being bored and distracted during whatever the rest of the class was learning.
This did not have a negative effect on my socialisation. I maintained my relationships with classmates during recreation breaks. They would also come by the corner desk to visit me. I didn’t feel ostracised, conversely I felt kind of special, privileged even. I remember this as a rare happy time from school.
What I am trying to convey here with this long ramble, is that even in this time of diagnoses and accommodations, schooling retains a ‘one size fits all’ approach in many respects, and that can’t be 100% effective, because of our differences, furthermore inclusion for the sake of it is not always the best answer.
OP I hope you get to the bottom of this and find a resolution that allows you peace.
January 23, 2019 at 10:37 am #107412
I’m so sorry to hear you and your child have had to go through this. My daughter is almost 23 and was diagnosed with adhd as a child so we have gone through a lot to get her where she is today. Fortunately, our school district was willing to work with us. That’s not to say that the school was proactive. You have to be your child’s best advocate. I was in daily contact with her teachers and the principle from 1st grade on. By fourth grade is when things really got bad. So her teacher moved her to the front of the class right in front of the teachers desk. This way she was still a part of the class but the teacher could keep a closer eye on her and assist her with her school work if needed. ADHD kids have a hard enough time, they don’t need to be made to feel bad or not part of the group. Keep in close contact with the school and get a 504 or iep plan. It’s not fail proof but it definitely helps to have one. Get everything you want in the classroom for your son in writing and hold the school to it. My daughters 504 followed her to college, even though she no longer needed it. Every year the school would contact me to ask if I still wanted to keep her 504 in place and I told them “Yes”. It’s a long slow road getting them through school and some days it’s not easy. But don’t give up! My daughter was doing well by 8th grade and shooting for all A’s, which she achieved. She graduated with honors from college last year and is working full time as a GIS analyst and going to grad school part time. I hope this information is helpful. I wish you and your son the best.
January 23, 2019 at 10:58 am #107281
I have to wonder how experienced his teacher is. Most teachers know something about ADHD. It sounds like this teacher thinks he is intentionally not focusing or being wiggly. Separating him and having him face away is a drastic solution to a problem the teacher apparently cannot handle.
I realize this conversation started a couple of weeks ago, but if the teacher hasn’t responded in a reasonable amount of time to your email, then phone her, and put a call in to the school counselor (if there is one) or to the principal. When you meet with them, it might not be a bad idea to bring some of ADDitude’s excellent articles on how to work with students with ADHD.
I recently bought a bunch of “porcupine balls” from Oriental Trading (https://www.orientaltrading.com/mini-porcupine-ball-assortment-a2-39_983.fltr?keyword=porcupine). I first heard about them from another teacher, who kept them in baskets on the student table; his rule was that the balls had to be in a child’s hand, i.e. not in the air or rolling across the table or floor. Another solution I’ve seen is a “wiggle seat” (https://www.amazon.com/Wiggle-Inflatable-Sensory-Chair-Cushion/dp/B00NHAQNWY). These might help your son focus better when he is returned to a regular table grouping.
January 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm #107567
My 4th grade Kiddo has 2 desks, 1 has sides and is in the corner as an area to focus on desk work, or test. It sounds like there needs to be way more communication. Also this desk away from others is listed as an idea on many 504 plan accommodations ideas lists that you find online. If the teacher thinks he needs that space to focus then maybe she can also make sure he is comfortable with this solution and make sure he knows that he has a place in the group. I would tell the teacher that you are available and happy to brainstorm ideas, and that you would like to have a more open dialog about how to handle challenges that arise.
January 28, 2019 at 8:21 pm #107789
As a mother with ADHD and four children with ADHD, three boys 27, 24, and 15. My daughter is 7 and ADHD. As a parent you can only help your children if you know as much as you can about their disorder. Some people think that medication alone will fix their child. Sadly enough some parents don’t know that for your child to succeed there needs to be counseling/therapy, parenting skills, and medication. I assuming that your son is ADHD and on medication? Your doctor should have referred a counselor for your son to see for behavior therapy. If not you should talk to them about finding one. At the beginning of the school year I email the teacher and tell them who I am and my child’s name. Explain to them that my child has ADHD and if there are any problems to email or call me. Have you asked your son what he did to get his desk moved? You can’t be mad at the teacher, she has an obligation to all of the other students in her class. If moving his desk has solved the problem and he is able to stay in class. Communication with the teacher is a must.
January 29, 2019 at 3:58 pm #107851
As a student, I have had this happen to me (though not on this level). I became angry and sad that my 504 was the reason I was isolated from my friends. I felt like I had done something wrong, and maybe if I fixed it I could go back to an okay seat. All in all, I hated myself and my ADHD for putting me in that situation, and I was 13. If your child is only in 3rd Grade, he has a much higher risk of developing negative feelings and self-hate, especially over an entire month… I’ll leave it at that.
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