Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The drama of life

So the amazing news is that Casey just found out that he qualified for Long Distance Triathlon World Championships, which will be in Immenstadt, Germany next August. We're amazed and really excited. About 100 Americans will make up Team USA, and there will be athletes from 50 countries competing there.
The only complication is that I'll also need to take my comprehensive exams for grad school the first week in August, which puts a damper on travel plans, but we'll work it out. I may be studying French literature with my stein and pretzels, but I think I'll manage. ;-) It's going to be cool.

The other ongoing drama is not so pleasant. At school, there is a student that was put in my French 2 class at the beginning of the year, who, unbeknown to the powers that be, has a history of violence and problems with losing control. Well, things started fine, then some small problems cropped up (not doing work, etc,), but earlier this month he lost control in my classroom and responded, indirectly, in a violent manner. I was very upset and was frightened by his behavior. I talked to his case worker, facilitator and assistant principal and wanted him out of my class. They didn't want to do that, and we all met with the kid, he talked to me, apologized, acknowledged his problem and said he was working to do better. So I was mollified.

Then less than three weeks later, it happens again, and this time the kid makes an implied threat. I, again, talk to everyone, including the head principal, but nothing is decided. The next day, I have to stop the kid at my door and tell him not to come into my classroom again without my and his principal's permission.

The next day, he starts a fight in the cafeteria which the principal called "the worst fight in 10 years." It took 6 coaches and the assistant principal several minutes to break up the fight. The student is hauled away in handcuffs. And I was told that he'd be at an alternative school for quite a while.

But this week, I'm told that he'll be back in a week. No, no, no. The main crux of the problem is that the student is special ed, and is therefore protected with more laws and liability than the average student, and I feel like the administration is putting that as a priority over my concerns and safety.

After two meeting yesterday, the head principal agrees that the student can be placed elsewhere and take French using Rosetta Stone. I'll still be his teacher, but the direct instruction will not be from me. Excellent. I felt like it was resolved. I took steps to prepare materials for him.

And then I'm called down to the office, again, after school today. Another special ed law hiccup. I have to go over the entire situation again with another administrator. The original administrator sits there, playing with some kid's cell phone. They discuss that it may be necessary to have an official special ed meeting, with the student and his parents, where the parents may refuse the Rosetta Stone plan.

This is where I remind them that, yes, the students parents may sue, but I also have a father and husband that are attorneys. My husband spend an hour and half the day before calling different attorneys about this situation, including the Texas Education Agency's special education attorney, who agreed that the student needed to be removed and that I have every legal right, (per Edu. Code 37.002), to remove the student from my classroom. That I can and will have an attorney present in a meeting if there is a chance that the parents will contest the removal.

As of today, it's agreed that he'll be doing French in study hall, and I will show the kid what to do, with an administrator present. I hope that's it. I really do.

It's been tough. The powers that be expect teachers to be passive and uninformed of their legal rights and are not particularly motivated to defend their teachers in the face of the liability of spec ed law. I've had to push, continually, to get to a reasonable resolution, trying not to offend the powers that be, but not lay down my rights and safety, either. I hope that it's settled now.


nodnarb said...


Tiffany Dawn said...

Wow thats crazy~! Sorry about the drama...

HOW COOL IS THAT ABOUT CASEY!!! man!! Did you guys have ANY idea what an incredible ride this would be when you started trying to get healthy!? I'm so inspired by you both! :)

Christy said...

wow v - that is intense. i am sorry that you are having to go through that. i am glad that you have stood up for your rights and are not letting them run over you with fear.
thanks for organizing tonight! it was so much fun!
and CONGRATS to CASEY that is awesome!