Don't let your school bully and intimidate you!
I put this page together for two reasons... One is to vent my anger at the school, school district and a creep named John Collier, all of whom are harassing us in one way or another, and the other reason is to show other parents that no matter how low a district will stoop to fight you, don't give in and don't give up! YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S BEST ADVOCATE! Diane
Okay, here's kind of how it started...
We are in Victorville but our school district is the Adelanto School District in Adelanto California.
It's January 2006 as I write this and we received our son's diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome a couple months ago, in November 2005. During a meeting we were having with the school principal and vice principal, the school district psychologist and the director of pupil services back in October or November, the psychologist suggested Asperger's after listening to us (my husband and I) recount our son's history.
We spoke with our son's doctors (behavioral and neurological), met with a child psychiatrist and our son was diagnosed. I had done much research on Asperger's Syndrome and PDD (Pervasive Development Disorders) after the district psychologist's suggestion of Asperger's so by the time we met with the psychiatrist we were pretty certain that Asperger's Syndrome was what our son was dealing with.
The meeting with the principal, vice principal, psychologist and services was because our son was being severely bullied, physically attacked and even thrown violently to the ground, and it was happening in P.E. literally every day, and we were tired of it. Prior to the physical assaults, he was verbally attacked again and again and again, day after day after day, in P.E.
It started when a kid from our neighborhood who has physically and verbally bullied our son for 5 years or so was transferred into our son's 6th grade 7th period P.E. class. The day he was transferred into our son's class he started harassing our son, calling him names, cursing him out, telling him he was stupid and gay, and so on.
We complained LOUDLY (because our gentler tactics weren't working) to the school, several times, and the two boys were placed on a "no-contact contract" which meant if either of the boys, according to the vice principal, so much as looked at each other the offender would get in trouble. Of course our son took this literally and told the vice principal when the other boy was looking at him... ;-)
Anyhow, eventually the boy broke the contract by calling our son a name and he was suspended from school for one week and then transferred out of the P.E. class.
Unfortunately by now it was too late and our son was now the target of several boys in the class. After our son was attacked several weeks in a row and the school wasn't doing anything to prevent it we finally had to threaten to sue the school district.
The school then put some measures into place to manage the 160+ students in P.E. in our son's class. Teachers were supposed to be present and keep an eye on the kids at all times and security was going to be assigned to be present at all times during this period.
Of course the teachers and security didn't follow through on the new arrangements so we pulled our son out of P.E. a couple times because P.E. simply wasn't safe for him.
So we started observing our son's P.E. class from the parking lot every day. Although this is our right, it absolutely rankled the teachers, security and administration that we were doing this. They actually started parking their vehicles in the spaces we were parking in to force us to park elsewhere
At one point they even sent out some guy (I "affectionately" refer to him as 'the creep') who had been in the P.E. class, with NO identification I might add, to tell us that we couldn't be parked where we were parked because it was a fire lane.
Now, it's important to note that there was no red curb and where we were parked was a standard pick-up area AND the creep (who gave his name as John Collier and position as Investigator) actually passed by folks who were parked at a clearly marked red curb in the front of the office to harass us where we were legally parked!).
Well, I had had it. I was done with my son being bullied, I was done with the administrators bullying me, and long story short, I told him to take a flying leap.
Since he could not give us any police or fire department identification we told him that once an officer with a badge and identification told us that we were parked in a fire lane, then we would move.
It was so funny, he turned redder than any fire truck I've ever seen! ;)
What a bunch of jerks these folks can all be! They're harassing us after our son is viciously attacked in P.E.? I'm still scratching my head thinking "What the..."...
I'm sure John Collier doesn't realize what enjoyment he gave me that day with his so-obvious-frustration that I refused to bow to him, and I feel no guilt at all with laughing at the idiot because he was actually out there harassing us when we were sitting there merely to observe P.E. to make sure our son wasn't attacked any more!
What a creep... (redundant I know but it's what he is plain and simple).
Anyhow, the school district has since hired an attorney (guess we scared 'em a bit ;) and below is the letter from that legal firm, with my 'oh-puh-lease' commentary following it...
OH MY GOSH! Where do I start... ?
Let's see... First off,
"Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith has been retained on behalf of the Adelanto School District to assist you and its administrators at Mesa Linda Middle School with resolving issues advanced by both parties"...
To assist us? Hardly! The tone of the letter clearly indicates that they aren't there to help us!
"The right to direct a child's education is not without limitation and does not include the right to go onto school property to monitor classroom activity,..."
WHAT???? We don't have the right to monitor classroom activity? Again I say WHAT???? I'm so shocked that they would even put that in the letter. Am I wrong or is it not true that parents in California have the absolute right to go onto the school campus to monitor classroom activity?
" ...to demand certain disciplinary action be taken against another student..."
Well if our son is being slapped in the face over and over and over and over again in P.E. and no teachers or security are around to stop it and he can't hit the kid back so he spits on the kid and then the kid slugs him in the stomach and knocks him to the ground, you better believe we aren't going to accept that our son receive the same punishment as the kid who attacked him. Not to mention that this was the 2nd attack of three that happened three Fridays in a row.
"...to unilaterally veto fair and just discipline imposed on their student, ..."
Okay, let's see... For the second week in a row our son is attacked in P.E. class, this time slapped and slapped and slapped, he spits to defend himself, he gets slugged and knocked to the ground and then he's assigned Saturday school right along with the kid who attacked him and the other troublemakers and bullies... ??
I think NOT!!
The school can't even protect him during a regular school day, in a class that's supposed to be under 100% constant supervision, and they really think I'm going to put him at more risk by putting him in Saturday School?
So the school vice principal decided to punish our son by making him write an essay about how he could have handled things differently. What? How he could have handled things differently? Well let's see, maybe if he was able to fight for himself maybe he could have punched the kid back instead of spitting or maybe if one of the four teachers present had been doing their job and watching the kids then maybe the attack wouldn't have happened to begin with?
There's many ways it could have been handled differently but our son was not in the wrong and I told the vice principal to show me where it says in the education code that our son cannot protect himself without fear of reprisal by the school. He couldn't show me so I refused to require our son to write the essay.
So, if that's considered as "unilaterally veto(ing) fair and just discipline imposed on their student" then okay I guess I'm guilty...
" ...or to repeatedly threaten legal action unless strict adherence to their dictates are followed. "
Okay, we'll quit threatening legal action. Instead we'll just go ahead and bring it!
We will continue to try to hold the school to their legal requirements, such as having teachers present during P.E. class and providing a safe bully-free environment for our son. If the school and/or district refuses to meet their legal obligations then we'll have no choice but to bring legal action. Like DUH!
"Such conduct willfully interferes with the discipline, good order, lawful conduct, and administration of classes and activities."
Oh My Gosh! Discipline? Good Order? Lawful Conduct? I think these have all been addressed above. It's pretty clear that they are not disciplined, in good order or following lawful conduct.
"This conduct also causes administrators and faculty to feel intimidated, threatened and harassed. We hope you did not intend your actions to produce these results."
OH Puh-L-E-E-E-A-S-E, give me a break! If the administrators and faculty do their job correctly then they have no reason to feel intimidated, threatened and harassed. If they don't do their job then yes we will go after them legally in an effort to have them removed from their positions and/or to pay for our son's private education. If they choose to feel intimidated, threatened and harassed then that just shows that they aren't doing their job.
The District recognizes that you have concerns. Administrators at Mesa Linda Middle School have spent many hours investigating and responding to each and every concern you have called with this year, including your complaint that otherstudents are calling your son names.
What?? Our son was physically assaulted several weeks in a row, one assault being so bad that he was quite bloodied and we filed a police report on it, at the school, and they bring up the complaint that other students are calling our son names? Kind of suspicious that there's no mention of the physical assaults...
District resources are not unlimited. Mesa Linda Middle School has a thousand students, not just one.
Oh okay I get it, I understand now since you put it that way, since district resources are not unlimited and because Mesa Linda Middle School has a thousand students, not just one, okay then I guess it's okay that our one student is being physically and verbally assaulted while under your care, that care which I might remind them includes the legal requirement of keeping him safe on campus.
Administrators at Mesa Linda Middle School have worked very hard to provide all its students with a quality education and safe campus.
The trouble here is that the office adminstrator tells the P.E. teachers to be present and they tell the security to be present but then when they turn their back the teachers and security do what they want to do. We personally observed security not being where they were supposed to be, chatting with other administrators while supposing to be watching, P.E. teachers congregated on one end of the entire P.E. field while the students are on the other side, and so on.
It's just one more example of rules that are in place that are not being enforced and adhered to.
We must find a way that permits you to present concerns without unduly interfering with the efficient administration of the school or causing its administrators and faculty to feel intimidated and harassed.
Well see, there's a problem here. They used the word 'efficient' in describing how the administration of the school is run but it's most definitely far from efficient. Why in the world would we interfere with efficient administration when we have much more important things to do, like earn a living to feed our children? We aren't interfering with efficient administration, we're interfering with inefficient administration!
PARENTS! Don't let your school or your school district intimidate you! Stand firm for your child because if you don't then NO ONE will.
Wonderful Autism Apps / Applications ... and ... some of my favorite books and other goodies
I'm so tickled that authors have been contacting me and asking me to review their new books for them!
For as much time as I spend researching Asperger's Syndrome this website should have thousands of pages but because my son has Asperger's Syndrome I find that the things I want to work on very often are not the things that I have to work on so I'm still not able to spend as much time on it as I'd like to.
As he heads into adulthood (he turned 18 on Dec 13 and yes I need to update some things at my website such as my home page that says he's 17) I'm finding that I have even less time on my hands as I spend more time trying to master the puzzle of how to help him transition into "life after high school".
That's where Autism Tomorrow: The Complete Guide To Help Your Child Thrive In The Real World comes in. It's a guide to help your kids after high school. You'll find parts of the book will be applicable and some won't depending on your child's current age. Although the title implies "Autism after high school" there is still quite a bit in there about what to do before your child hits "real life". But overall a helpful book.
Please contact me if you'd like to send a copy of your book to me for review. I would absolutely love it!
Fiction, Non-fiction, Auto-Biographies, Instructional books, etc. I'm interested in them all. :) And if you autograph it that would be SUPER cool! ;)