Son Left Alone in Classroom (Purposefully, for an Hour)

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    • #82354

      Hi all,

      I feel as though I am here often, although it has been awhile. Thanks for all of your great, supportive posts, sharing your stories and advice.

      Issue of the day: When I looked in my son’s (10 yo, 4th grade) backpack, this afternoon there was a notecard (that he had written on) just inside. Today was a church day at school and we had forgotten, so he was dressed casually.

      It said “dear mom, today was a church day and I didn’t know and was in regular clothes. When our class went to church the teacher said “just leave him in the classroom” so I have to stay in the room for an hour.”

      Feeling ice in my veins, I asked my son what this was about. He confirmed that he was left alone in the classroom, without anyone checking on him. When the class returned and the assistant principal was with them, she asked my son “where WERE you?”

      My son’s teacher this year has been quite a nightmare. Because her behavior can be masked by my son’s (ADHD hyperactive/impulsive type,) she has taken liberties with discouraging, humiliating and overall treating my son like garbage. They have had their positive moments, but the bad have outweighed the good. Soon after the start of the year, my son let me know how his teacher was treating him. When we brought it up at P/T conferences, our upset fell on deaf ears.

      Over the last few weeks, my son has come home miserable, at this point in the year often in tears. Saying the same things as the start of the year- leading him to now slacking off in his work, being a class clown and giving up. When his teacher wonders “WHY HE WON’T DO HIS WORK,” she does not want to hear that she may be contributing to the problem, if not the cause.

      Before I received the note this evening, I had already written an email this morning to my son’s teacher and the school counselor, asking how we could make the remainder of the school year work. Now this. As though the teacher is saying “eff you.”

      My son wants to leave the school, I am trying to process all of this. The assistant principal called me within 5 minutes of my sending the “wth is going on” email this evening. We talked and I elaborated on the situation.

      What would you do in our position?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by TaurusMoon.
    • #82361

      It’s never acceptable to leave a student that age alone for an hour. Neurotypical or otherwise. If it were me, I’d probably do what you can to get thru the rest of this year, assuming there’s just a few weeks left. Be firm in expressing your concerns and needs, but play it cool and just try and keep things easy on your son. Then I would start the search for a new school. Sounds like you’re probably at a private school and in my experience most private schools are not skilled at/not willing to accommodate our kids. I’m not bashing private schools – my NT son goes to a wonderful one, but I know it would not be a good fit for my son with ADHD/ASD. He is thriving in our public school that has been great about accommodating his needs and understand his need to learn in a slightly different way than his peers. Our first public school experience was not as pleasant to deal with, so I admit not all public schools are a good fit either but they typically have more experience with kids who have special needs and are bound by law to accomodate those needs to provide a quality education where private schools are not. It’s not easy so hang in there, but your son’s education should not be an uphill battle and if a school is fighting their obligation to give him a wailing educational experience then it’s time to look elsewhere.

    • #82370

      Um, I would flip my lid! How dare they leave him behind for an hour without anyone and then ask where he was like it was his doing!!! I would be LIVID. And I would be finding another school. You are hiring them to teach your child. You pay their salary. You can fire them, too! I am sorry for your son. Poor kiddo! 🙁

    • #82379
      Penny Williams

      The “you don’t have the right clothes on so you can’t participate” thing would trigger me long before the being left alone (which is also uncategorically unacceptable). I’m pretty sure God doesn’t care what you’re wearing. 😉

      It’s sounds like the rigidity of this school doesn’t match with your child’s learn style and special needs. Of course, no one can decide this but you, but I would personally change schools this fall. This teacher is really damaging him right now, too.

      My son also had the worst teacher ever in 4th grade. It got so bad for him that the principal moved him to a different teacher the last nine weeks. Then, we had him repeat 4th grade because he was traumatized — literally.

      Do what you can to protect your son from this kind of harm. I’m not saying to baby him or make excuses for him, I’m saying to find a compassionate and supportive environment.

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

    • #82386

      Honestly, the leaving the child alone bothers me less than the continued treatment of your son that you describe, and the leaving him alone is completely unacceptable. Why not at least put him in another room with adulte.. the office, the nurses room, another classroom?? If I were you, I would pull him out immediately, but I have the ability to be home during the day. I would homeschool the rest of the year or find another school. The effect a teacher can have on a child is significant. His self esteem is in the balance here. If you are a tuition paying family, I’d tell the headmaster (or whatever your administrater is called) in CLEAR, STRONG statements, exactly what is going on (write it all down first), and I would tell them you intend to leave the school if the teacher does not change her approach. I also think it would be good if the school would let you share some of the articles available to TEACH the teachers about ADHD and how it manifests, and how to work with kids who have it. Tell the administrator that your son has a disibility recognized under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). This may ‘legitimize’ his situation, if the teacher and administration don’t think it’s valid.

      Sadly, I believe that private RELIGIOUS schools do not need to comply with ADA regulations. You may want to consider a public school or a private, non-religious one that you screen first to see if they will work with your child and accommodate him.

      My son is in a public school, and an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is available to the kids. Is this even available in your school? I suspect not or they’d have instituted one by now to help your son, but If it is, request one immediately. You need only an official diagnosis. They MUST accommodate your child’s needs… everything from extra help, to special parameters for taking tests and homework, the ability to be in a quiet space if they need it, etc.

      I encourage you to look for another school, honestly. It sounds to me like this one is not interested in working with your child, and this will have an impact on his belief that he can be successful, that he is smart, that he is capable. He is being humiliated and abandoned. No action on your part is too strong at this point, IMO, since you have already appealed to the school.

      I hope this helps. Stay strong, fight for your child’s rights!

    • #82501

      I came across this post while researching other things and felt I should sign up purely to respond to this.
      When I was a similar age I was at a mainstream primary school (I’m in the UK and was diagnosed with high functioning Autism and ADHD at a young age) where as a result of me being disruptive in lessons (Largely because the school didn’t have the facilities or staff trained to deal with disabilities like mine) I was shut in a storage room all day for some time. As such I feel very strongly about this and would highly recommend you research schools with a special needs unit. From what you say it sounds like your son isn’t getting the help he needs in order to grow academically and emotionally. Neither was I, and within weeks of moving to a school with a special needs unit I was rapidly making large amounts of progress.
      I feel very strongly that children (especially those like I was) shouldn’t be left alone in that environment and would suggest you take your grievances to a higher level. I’m not sure about elsewhere but in the UK I think there are laws against leaving children of this age unattended.
      Just my two cents, and I am biased because of my experiences. Things might not be as severe for your son as they were for me, but something’s not right nonetheless.
      I hope my ramblings are of some use to you!

    • #82510

      Three words “Duty of Care”.

      Of course laws vary by state and country. But, there is a basic standard that anyone accepts when taking care of children. A responsibility to provide the same care any reasonable person would.

      I know the school would most likely deny having left your son behind on purpose (as demonstrated by the “Where were you” line). But, even threatening them with legal action for having left your child in a room alone for an hour might bring them to their senses.

      Private school teachers are underpaid and normally have poor benefits packages. Nevertheless, that’s not an excuse to abuse a child.

      I don’t know if you can put a recording device in his backpack. But, that would be my next step. When it’s a “he said, they said” situation, a recording tells the truth.

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