Are we making a bigger issue of this than it is? Would like an unbiased opinion.

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by cjk2002, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

    It's been a looooong time since my last post (2+years maybe?) Anyways, I would like an unbiased opinion on an incident with my DS2's substitute teacher. He has a diagnosis of "educational autism" through the school and has an IEP in place. 
    My boys are in first grade, separate classrooms.  DS2's teacher was 6 months pregnant at the start of the school year.  There was a substitute in place and she was in the classroom 2 days a week to get to know the students. His teacher's last day was suppose to be 11/1 but as we all know with babies, they are unpredictable and she gave birth a month early to a healthy baby boy. 
    We had his yearly IEP on Tuesday, November 18th.  The sub sat in the meeting but did not have much to say in regards to his classroom behavior or his progress. She told me we would discuss it the next evening during P/T conference. 
    When I walked in the room for the conference, she pulled me over to his desk and was excited to show me something.  I looked down and his desk was outlined in masking tape.  Earlier in the afternoon she had an idea to keep him in his seat and decided to tape out his desk and told him that unless he asks for permission, he could not leave his desk area. She told me she was tired of him getting up so much during the day.  She told me that his O/T advised her that he is going to need more "breaks" during the day because she is not allowing him to get up and she was fine with that because it would not be in her classroom. He is allowed to stand up in the taped out area, but is not allowed to move freely around the classroom like the other students.
    DH & I have a few issues with this: 
    1.  We were never informed by either teacher that he was getting up and disrupting the class; if we had known we would have taken steps at home or worked with them to find a solution. 
    2. This was not brought up during his IEP the day before.  Again, if we had known, we could have discussed it as a group (principal included) and worked on a solution.  
    3.  She did not warn him about what was about to happen.  At 1:15 during the school day with less than two hours left,  she informed him in front of the entire class that this is what she was doing and proceeded to tape off his desk area. Knowing she was meeting me a few hours later for the P/T conference, she could have informed me of her plan and we could have discussed it. 
    4. She did not get permission from the principal, O/T, social worker or anyone else that works with him on a daily basis to see if this would be a good idea. 
    After talking with DS2 the next morning he confessed to me that he is having a hard time in math and reading.  He was getting up so much as a distraction to not have to do his work. I informed the principal of this revelation and he said he would talk with the sub.  
    As it stands he is still taped into his desk area.  I agree 100% that if he is disrupting the classroom we need to figure out why and find a solution but I don't feel this is it. DS2 is very compliant and does stay in his desk area so knowing that did work, I feel there should be another alternative with a warning that if he does not behave, they will have to tape off his desk area again. 
    His teacher is suppose to return at the end of January. 
    So here is my question: Do I just leave it be and count down the days until his teacher return or do I speak up and meet with the principal again and voice my concerns?  When his teacher returns I am going to express that I do not want her to continue taping off his desk. 
    Like I said, the biggest problem I have with all of this is that we were never informed of him being a disruption in the classroom. If we had know, we would have done something about it. Also, if this was her plan, it should have been passed by us before she did anything. This way DS2 would have known in advance that we and his teacher were on the same page and working together. 
    With DS1's teacher  I was shown his work and how he is progressing and where he needed help. Not once during the P/T conference with DS2 was I shown how he was doing academically. We spent the 20 minutes talking about how he is disrupting the class. 
  2. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I think it should be brought up in a meeting with the principal, IEP, sub and social worker-I personally feel like you should have been told about this plan before it started.  I know basically nothing about IEP but I'd be upset if this was something that was being inforced on my child without any previous knowledge of class disruptions.
    How does he feel about it?  Is he upset or embarrassed? or is it helping him stay on task and not be disruptive?  Just curious.
  3. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

    He does not like it but is compliant. That is where I feel it could be used as a "warning" instead of permanent rule. Something to the effect of "DS2 if you keep getting up without asking for permission, I may have to tape out your desk again" and then follow through if needed.  He does really well if you give him set rules and will follow them. 
    I asked him if any of his classmates make fun of him about it and he said no so that is good. 
    I also found out at the P/T conference that he goes to the bathroom A LOT and she looses track of time and has to go in and get him. He was in the bathroom 10-15 minutes at a time and when they would go in to get him he'd be playing in the sink washing his hands. She just assumed it was part of his "break therapy" and never said anything about it. When I confronted him, that was another excuse to get out of math and reading.  They have a set time twice during the day for the bathroom as a class and I insisted he gets only one more time (of his choice) during the day. Unless he is sick, having to go to the bathroom three times in 6 hours is more than enough.  Since setting that limitation, he now only goes one, two times at the very most during the day.  
  4. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I wouldn't be happy about that either, and would probably approach the sub about it. I think it would be better for you all to agree on a plan ahead of time, and let the sub know how you want to be communicated with about these kinds of things. The end of January is a long ways away if you're dealing with negative behaviours and discipline styles. I am glad there was no fall out with the other kids though.. that kind of stuff usually makes the teacher look worse than the kids if I remember from my school days. Hope you guys can resolve it.
  5. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Is there a resource/spec. ed teacher or a para involved?
    I'd be curious for Sharon's reaction on this, but at least at our school, something that drastic and visibly differentiating would have to be approved by the parents.  It would also come from the resource teacher, not a classroom teacher and definitely not a sub.   One of our long term subs that knows the school well I can picture bringing up a suggestion like that.  But for a sub to take unilateral action without the approval or knowledge of the parents, therapists and resource teachers would not be looked upon well at our school.
    Honestly, I would talk to the principal or the resource teacher if you have one.  It might be that he needs a para to keep him on task or to monitor his breaks.  What troubles me is that she took such a visible step to differentiate your son.  Working in special ed, I can tell you that we try very hard to keep our intrusiveness to a minimum.  Our kids have enough to overcome without setting out signposts for every one to see that they are different.  
  6. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

     This is exactly what I was thinking too... why didn't she bring it up at the meeting the day before?  I would go back to the people who participated in the IEP meeting (I assume principal, school psychologist or guidance counselor, etc) and let them know.  Poor kiddo.  I'm glad it didn't result in any comments from the other kids, but I don't think you are making a bigger issue out of this, than it is.  I would be pissed.
  7. BJAMs

    BJAMs Well-Known Member

    I would have been very upset to have this dropped on me the day after an IEP meeting.  You should have been notified that your son was having trouble and it should have been a group decision on how to handle it.  Correcting your son in front of the class was inappropriate.  
  8. dtomecko

    dtomecko Well-Known Member

    I agree with the other posts, and I definitely would not wait until the end of January for the other teacher to return.  This seems very unprofessional on the sub's part.  Especially since you had the opportunity with the appropriate people to discuss the situation, and she chose not to bring it up.  Like you said, she seemed almost proud to show you, like she solved the problem all on her own. It never occurred to her she may have created another bigger problem.  It may make her life easier in the short term, but it's not getting to the root of the issue.  Very unprofessional, and shows a lack of experience, in my opinion.  You're definitely right to go with your instinct.
  9. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

     That is exactly how I feel. His desk is the only one in the classroom that is taped off. Last Tuesday that had a VIP day at school that we were suppose to go to but unfortunately he had the stomach flu. All I could think about is all these other parents/grandparents in the classroom seeing a desk taped off and thinking what it was for and then having their kid say "oh that's because DS2 can't get out of his chair". Or worse yet if we would have gone, DS2 would have had to explain it. 
    This was 100% the subs idea. From my understanding, the sub taped off his desk and when she told the O/T her great idea that's when t she was informed that by making him stay in his seat may cause him to need more breaks which would be outside the classroom. There was absolutely no concern in the manner in which she told me. It was "hey, look what I figured out, why didn't anyone think of this before!".  If it would have been addressed as "I'm at my wits end and I just want to try this" I would not be as upset as I am.  
  10. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would talk to the principal.  I wonder if that could be considered a violation of his IEP?
  11. AmynTony

    AmynTony Well-Known Member

    absolutely unacceptable.  My son is a mover (GIEP so completely different) but his teacher lets him stand at the side of his desk to do his work if he wants me it comes across as a form of restraint.  There is no way I'd let that go till January.
  12. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

    Well I found out today that she is now taping off another students desk (he has Asperger's) so she's no longer excluding DS2.  I'm thinking of dropping the mom and email to see how she feels about it.  Hopefully there is strength in numbers. 
  13. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It fits some of the scenarios given to us during discussions on restraint and seclusion.  Limiting a child's contact with peers, bathrooms, and restricting movement by any means comes under the restraint and seclusion.  We are allowed to do time-outs as a cooling off period and remove kids from situations where they disrupt learning or are a harm to themselves or others.  I have seen instances where a child has had such a difficult time that the school and the parents working together have come up with alternatives to a classroom situation, but it's always with parent consent.  
    One of the examples given to us as the difference between restraint and time-out is the difference between removing a child into a hall and telling them that "I need you to sit here until you calm down and can talk.  We're going to be here about 5 mins and then see if you can talk to me." as compared to "You need to sit down and be quiet and you had better not move until I tell you to."  The first is considered a time-out.  The second is considered by our special ed co-op to be restraint.  We were informed that you can be doing restraint even if you're in a hallway not touching a child.
    I would really start asking questions of the principal.  And quickly.
  14. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    With his IEP, he has a case manager.  S/he should be called and what you have said here should be mentioned.  Just because a child gets up, doesn't mean he should be confined to his desk.  Kids need to move.  It should have been brought up at the meeting THE DAY BEFORE.  But, that doesn't matter now.  That is not the way to 'control' students.  That's like having an arrow taped to their heads saying "I'm different." 
    I would start asking questions and making some noise like Marissa said.  That is just plain unacceptable.
  15. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I think it is very good that you are also contacting the Mom of the other child whose desk is now going to be taped.  I really have a problem with the teacher not addressing this with you first, others involved with him at school and especially not bringing it up during his IEP meeting-which would have been a great time for her to bring up any issues in the classroom.  I would definitely not wait until January. 
    One of my friends has a son who has been diagnosed with PDD and one of his issues was getting up and like Amy's son, the school and teachers were very accepting in allowing him to stand when he needed to.  He doesn't need to do that as much now as he did in the younger grades.  
    The teacher also never said anything to you about his struggles in math and reading?  Because that would be another thing I'd bring up with the principal as well.  I don't know about all schools, but our school has title I reading and math available to all students who need or would like the extra help.
  16. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Where to begin...first of all, she shouldn't have done it.  Period.  When dealing with a special needs child, there should be a discussion among coworkers before something like that is even tried!  
    Where is the special ed teacher in all of this?  If he has an IEP, there should be a special ed teacher somewhere in the picture.  
    This should warrant a call to his case worker, and an immediate IEP meeting--did you know you can call one at any time?  You don't have to wait for a year, or any other predetermined time if there is an issue.
    Finally, this is just a pet peeve of mine, but a teacher who is subbing for a leave replacement, is more than just a "sub".  They, at least here in NJ, have to be certified to teach in the classroom they are in, so she should have the training that told her what she is doing is not a good idea--and this coming from someone who once --many, many years ago, put a ball of masking tape in a kids chair to keep her from jumping up all day--it worked, the sound of the tape, reminded her to sit back down, and we only did it for a day or so to help break a habit--she had no reason to keep getting up, she just did.
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