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Letter To My Son's School Principal - cc.Teachers - School board

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Dear Mr. ******,

I am writing to address my verbal outburst on Monday, February 23rd, 2009.
When I was dropping off my son at the office, after serving an out of school suspension, and was preparing to leave, the secretary took one look at him and ordered him to, “sit down over there...” and said to me “you have to stay.” She then proceeded to inform anyone within earshot of the office, “If he hasn’t finished his homework, he can’t stay.” Not only was this embarrassing to my son, something, it appears, that was not considered, as was the possibility that I might have an appointment to attend, it was disrespectful and downright rude.

I went outside to collect myself, and she sent the counselor out to ensure that I would return. We were joined by yourself and my son’s teacher, at which time I lost my temper.

On Monday afternoon, you called to inform me that my son would be staying home Tuesday, and I quote, “we’ll try again on Wednesday.” We arrived Wednesday morning to a less than cordial reception. After politely asking the secretary if we should wait, we were informed, again within earshot of anyone in the vicinity of the office, and again reciting contents of a letter addressed to me, “He is suspended...he shouldn’t even be here!”

When I mentioned that you had told me to bring my son on Wednesday, you refused to comment, or provide an explanation to my repeated query as to the discrepancy in the return date between our telephone conversation at 2:09 on Monday, and the letter given to my son at 2:45 on that same day. I accept responsibility for not completely reading the suspension letter, as I presumed it mirrored what I had been told. However, after reading the opening sentence that states, “I am writing to confirm our recent discussion,” I am forced to ask, to which discussion you are referring.

The secretary then accused my son of probably not giving me the letter in the first place. This not only cast aspersions on his character and honesty, it further embarrassed us in the presence of others. I can understand my son having to face the consequences of his inaction, but what I can’t understand, and will not condone, is why he needs to be humiliated and embarrassed in front of not only his peers, but adults who do not need to hear information of this nature that does not concern them.

When asked for necessary copies of my son’s I.E.P's from grade 3, up to, and including his present plan, the secretary again voiced her reluctance at having to assist us. Not only were we treated to a brusque demeanor, displeased looks, and poor manners, my son and I have had to endure this additional mortification in the presence of other students and adults. This type of reaction and dislike only serves to reinforce a negative attitude and unnatural trepidation in my son towards school.

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I understand, better than anyone, that my son’s behaviour impacts everyone he comes into contact with, but I do not feel it necessary to subject him to this public display of displeasure on your behalf. My son and I both experience this type of discrimination daily from the outside world; we do not expect or accept it from the professionals attempting to help with his behaviour modification, and education.

As your office is concerned that I may be experiencing difficulties handling my son’s behaviour at home, to the point, I might add, that you elected to call Child Services on my behalf, why would you knowingly compound it by issuing another 5-day out of school suspension.

It is no wonder that after enduring suspension after suspension, being subjected to an ongoing unnecessarily rude and judgmental attitude, on top of dealing with a disability that my son is continually punished for, from both society, and it appears, your office, I snapped. My resulting behaviour on Monday reflects the level of frustration regarding assistance and tolerance of my son by your office.

Since my son’s acceptance at grade 3, with the exhibition of worse behaviour and attendance record than he is showing now, this school strove to help him become productive, and the resulting A’s and B’s on his grade 3 and 4 report cards and his increased attendance reflected that dedication. The only out of school suspensions that were issued incorporated pro-d days, so that my son did not lose any class time.

After the implementation of changes with senior staff, and my son’s TA, out of school suspensions were reinstated, and his behaviour has once again begun to spiral, with his grades dropping to barely passing and now, F’s across the board. The fact that he does not have one-on-one assistance also plays a large part in his lack of success. It is evident that the policies employed by your predecessor resulted in far more success with my son's academic and behavioural achievements than those implemented under your administration.

I have followed every recommendation and abided by every decision your office has issued, including a more active role in helping with his education, to the increasing detriment of my son’s and my relationship. I have suggested that his former TA be reinstated to assist him, in the hopes that he might respond with a more positive attitude, as his past records indicate this to be possible. I have also asked to have the out of school suspensions limited, but my requests have been refused, citing the responsibility and lack of resources within the school board as the reason.

I would like to point out that the nature of his disability is ADHD/ODD, which means Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. My experience handling my son’s disability is not limited to my 12 years of dedication to him, and includes parenting classes, Psychiatric assessments, Psychologist counselling, ADHD course, Paediatric assessments, and extensive research. I have consulted with an ADHD psychologist and been told my knowledge is a great or exceeds his. I have written a book on ADHD/ODD, with my experience vindicated and echoed by International ADHD psychologists and authors. My article entitled Thunderstorms and Rainbows, a Mother’s Perspective on Living with ADHD/ODD" was published in Volume 6, Issue 1 of the, 2008 edition of Synergy Magazine. In addition, I have created and maintain, a website to provide support to other parents of similarly disabled children, advising them of the latest research materials, and helping them navigate the bureaucratic jungle of regulations imposed by governmental agencies, educators and medical professionals in their attempts to seek solutions for themselves and their children in dealing with these disabilities. If you so desire I am prepared to supply you with names and credentials of persons who have assisted me with my ongoing endeavours, and can provide you with reference materials and publications to understand and deal with this disability.

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As you have, to date, dismissed any comments I may have offered to redress my son's behaviour, perhaps you may be more receptive to those put forth by prominent psychologists and psychiatrists specializing in this field. I quote, Russell A. Barkley, PhD., from his book Taking Charge of ADHD, The complete authoritative guide for parents, New York: Guilford Press (revised 2000.) “...children without self-control are viewed either as not wanting to control themselves (they are “bad seeds”) or as not having learned to control themselves (they are viewed as simply “undisciplined” by their parents). Science is showing us that there are neurological (brain) factors that contribute to self-control and willpower, along with learning and upbringing. And when these brain systems are functioning improperly or become damaged, normal levels of self-control and willpower are impossible.”

“Suspension from school (usually from one to three days) is sometimes used as punishment for severe behaviour problems, but it should be used with much caution. Many children may find staying at home or full-day daycare more enjoyable than being in school.”
With an estimated 5 – 8% in the U.S. (This doesn’t include Canada, or the rest of the world,) of children suffering from one or more or all of these disabilities, which numbers are rising every year, it is imperative that educators begin to seek effective and progressive alternatives to address the difficulties presented by these children.

My son’s suspensions for “...his ongoing defiance,” do not serve to control, modify, or improve his behaviour, and being told on more than one occasion “...we won’t tolerate this type of behaviour,” resulting from the very core of my son’s disability, I find it hard to accept your explanation that you are trying to help.

I am meeting with the Learning Disability Association of Canada, with the hope of a possible solution to my ongoing concern of educating my son. Considering my level of involvement, participation with, and dedication to my son’s education and well being, you can comprehend the depth of my anger, disappointment, and loss of faith regarding the way we have been treated. Just as I am held accountable for my son’s behaviour, so are you accountable for your office and staff. I am only one parent, voicing my concerns; I wonder how many other parents of similarly challenged children have also been confronted with your apparent reluctance to deal with these issues in a positive manner.

If you are unwilling or unable to become part of the solution, then, regrettably, you become part of the problem.


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cc: Classroom Teacher
District Principal
Assistant Superintendent
Vice Principal
Education Assistant

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Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 18, 2013:

I have spent years offering advice to parent who are having problems with schools, and I have done my best to guide them through the basic steps of speaking with those in charge etc. Now, I realize that few officials actually listen to the concerns of parents, thinking that they (the officials,) know better how to educate the children. So with that in mind, my advice would be to write a letter to the school board with copies to the principal, teacher and counselor, stating your concerns and feelings. You can use my letter as a guide if you like - not saying that your concerns were like mine, but you can get the feeling from what was written and go from there. I have to say that although I didn't receive an apology, we were treated better and my son's education improved after the letter was delivered.

annegill on September 18, 2013:

Hello Enelle,

I am drawn to your story as my son who's in grade 3 is failing to get the help he needs in school. He is identified in the school and has an IEP in place but last year was his first year with no EA support. He hardly progressed at all academically, his reading is at the grade 1 level, and so is his math. He needs to have the one on one support that an EA could provide, but the school says there is other children who need it more and so he is not a priority. I had a meeting today with the Resourse teacher to discuss his IEP and repeated my concern about his lack of EA support. She didn't seem at all concerned about it. I'm frustrated to say the least. I could include more but I just want to ask you if you have any advice for me in order to get my son the assistance he needs, preferably an EA. Thank you so much for your time.

Deborah M Jones from Illinois on July 10, 2012:

Please read my articles 1) Teachers Unions and their Dirty little secrets

2) Can the Illinois Department of Education stand up for their children?

What I discovered was there is teaching malpractice in the primary grades. A bad teacher can ruin a child's life if they do not master reading. Instead of firing a bad teacher the school is quick to blame the parents or state the child is disabled. It's a school district scam! Explain this to your son, he will understand, finally someone gets his position, then put he in a private school. Your paying so the administrators WILL listen to you. Tell the new school the situation too! In most instances the school can accommodate him if he truly wants to make up what he could not get before!

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 27, 2012:

First thing I would do would be to involve the school board. I would forward a copy of the email you received from the principal, to the school board and ask for an explanation and solution to the ongoing problem. If you don't get a satisfactory response, I would (along with the other mom,) go to the media.

Karen on May 26, 2012:

I have a serious concern about my son's school. Last week he and another student were given a detention by a certain teacher for laughing when water spilled on the pants of a student in the wrong area....even he laughed. The entire class was laughing, but the teacher singled out my son and the one who's pants were wet to the office immediately. They were given a detention and served it. This week, I found out my son and the same student were sent to the office again as they were being singled out by this same specific teacher. My son and this boy both came home with detention slips saying they would have to serve them on a particular day. I spoke with the other mom and the more we realized it, this same teacher had given the detention after slamming books down and swearing at the class and throwing markers. The principle right afterwards had popped her head in looking for another teacher, the class was quiet already. Both my son and the other boy's recent progress reports were impeccable and no issues of behavior, etc. both have good grades. The other mother and i felt our sons were being singled out so we wrote on the detention slip that we would NOT allow them to serve it and thought that would be the end of it. I sent an email to the principal and received one in return that continuously put my son down and the other student. I have not responded to that as of yet. However, the next day, my son and the other boy were told they had to serve 3 more detentions but in school since their mom's wouldn't allow it afterwards and were made to not have a lunch but an office detention. My son's friend asked to call his mother and the principal refused to let him. After school, we found out, as we as mother's were never notified. The other mom received an email that her son needs better friends (she was speaking about mine). What are my rights as a parent?? I and the other mom are furious. These are intelligent, well-behaved kids. Do we as parents have the right to not allow them to serve them in school as well since we already made that point clear previously? The teacher is known to be inappropriate, drunk, and has fits of rage, but the principal is backing her saying it is our children that are the problems. They have been bullied, etc. The principal wrote that she doesn't come to our home and make the rules and their mom's will not make the rules in her school. Help please!!! Advice!?

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on May 14, 2012:

Thanks billybuc, I appreciate your comment :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 14, 2012:

Unbelievable story but unfortunately I taught school for eighteen years so I am more than willing to believe it happened exactly as you say. I have seen similar situations handled in a like manner and it is one reason why I no longer teacher.

Hooray for you for being a solid advocate for your child.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 10, 2012:

I totally understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, it is an uphill battle to get the school/teachers/principal/schoolboard on the same page. I would suggest that you sit down with your son's teacher, principal, counselor and anyone else they decide should attend, and set up an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for your son. That would be a first step, then you can amend it to include behavioral issues, safety plan etc., should you need them in the future. Set up outside counseling for him so that you can get help in the school - most schools require outside help in order for them to help in school...strange I know, but sometimes necessary.

You might try telling both the school and your son, that you CANNOT come and get him or you will lose your job...which is more than likely true...and be very firm on that...don't rush to the school to get your son. It will help to stem the flow of calls to come and get him.

Crystal on January 10, 2012:

My son has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD and I have been dealing with the same issues. My son was being tossed out of DayCare at the age of three where I was told to correct his behavior before he could return. My son was awarded an Educational Assistant which helped but then my funding was cut down to six hours per day, three days per week.

Now my son is in Junior Kindigarden and my sons honey moon period is coming to an end.. I am now getting calls from the school even though he has an Educational Assisstant working with him One-on-One..

I'm becoming more and more frustrated being that I have the same opinion as you do.. First the DayCare system failed my self and my son, and now the school system seems to be failing us too.

I understand my son is a handful. I live it.. Everyday!! What I don't understand is how my son can have a one-on-one worker who's job is to keep him on task and intervein when my son is spiraling out of control and yet the school still calls me as if "Going home with Mom" is a punishment when really it just teaches my son that all he has to do is misbehalve in order to get a day off from school..

Is there any way I can force the school to come up with a better behavioral management system for my son besides me continuously having to leave work to collect him.. Where is his EA and what happened to the old school disapline of sitting quietly in the principals office which is more of a punishment than being sent home from school which is more like a reward for a child having a bad day???

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on December 19, 2011:

Hi Jess, feel free to notify HubPages that I disallowed your last three comments. Debating personal opinions with you will be neither useful or illuminating for the rest of the people who come here seeking information.

In my opinion, preserving the school ethos is not a valid reason for excluding children and denying their right to an education. It is typical of those educators who are neither equipped nor willing to deal with special needs children.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on December 18, 2011:

I have no idea if inclusive education was working there. I will say that it did not include my son - or many other children whose parents I spoke with since the administration was changed.

I was not the only parent who disagreed with the administration. Several parents pulled their children out of the school and sent them elsewhere. The previous principal went out of his way to ensure that every child received a proper education. He didn't believe that sending a child home would serve to better the child's attitude or behavior - instead he believed it fostered a reluctance to attend school at all, and he was right. His replacement did not hold those beliefs.

My son was bullied for years while attending that school, simply because he didn't play the same kinds of games as his peers at recess. I applauded every success, every small step and every extra effort my son's teachers and staff put forth for him.

As for the personal attack - I am used to that from people who don't know what parents like me deal with on a daily basis, not from someone who claims to know.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I disagree with yours and let's leave it that way.

jess2 on December 18, 2011:


how would you know what miles i have walked?- how would you know if i didn't have the very exact personal and professional experiences that mean I entitled to my opinion on this issue.

i will say that the teachers lives are made immeasurably harder when your son is there.

I will say that is also true of his peers.

i will also say that when your son isn't there better and safer learning takes place.

i bet the staff there have tried very hard for your son. that doesn't mean they won't make mistakes from time to time.

it seems to me your are slow to applaud and quick to attack

i think conduct quite unacceptable and i haven't even heard their side of the story.

do you think inclusive education is working here ?

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on December 12, 2011:

I agree marlenejns! Thank you for the solidarity :)

marlenejns from Michigan on December 12, 2011:

This letter just breaks my heart! We need people in schools who actually care about the kids. Get those people out who are just there for their paycheck. What a crazy world we live in when kids can't be treated with respect. Kids and parents both deserve respect from all school staff.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on December 08, 2011:

LMAO! Thank you for that! I haven't laughed that hard in a while! As you have no clue about what I deal with daily, or what I have dealt with in the past, you have no idea what my role even is! Walk a mile or two in my shoes before you comment...

jess on December 03, 2011:

whilst the school may have not be perfect you seem unwilling to appreciate your own role in the problem.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 17, 2011:

Hi Sonia, I understand your frustration, believe me! You need to sit down with the teacher, principal and counselor to get an IEP in place. (individual education plan) Have the counselor assess your son's education needs etc. That is the first step. See what can be done to help your son get the education he needs to succeed - possibly a teacher's aid in the classroom to help him focus and complete his tasks. Let them know that he HAS TO EAT his lunch and snacks - this will help with the ODD behaviors.

sonia on November 17, 2011:

I was just contacted by dept of child services. The school is "concerned". Well, like yours, my son has DD/ADHD and they don't give 2 shits. They only want to address the symptom not the cause. I can't even begin to tell you the shit i've been thru with this school system. I'm at my witts end. I just left a very "colorful" message with the school counselor.

I just don't know what to do.

I can't stop crying.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 09, 2011:

Imagine how his parents or caretakers feel - unfortunately a child that is deemed special needs to have support in the classroom. This is something that should be discussed with the school board, something that I know isn't easy to do...

Teacher on November 09, 2011:

I have a student who recently tried to hit me in the head with a wooded year stick because he was having a "bad day". My other students are in constant fear of this student. Unfortunately, nothing can be done because he is special. How special will he be when he gets older and really hurts someone or worse? Schools and staff are tired!

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 31, 2011:

Hopefully he will decide that what others think isn't as important as how he feels about himself. He is only a year away from graduation - show everyone that he can do with or without their support!

soup14 on October 30, 2011:

i feel your pain son out and failing and no one follows the plan and now he depressed and refusing to work and it his senior year.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 14, 2011:

Hi Kayla, I wish you the best. Stick to your guns and don't let them "scare" you! You and your daughter have rights. Find out what they are. Leaving a child unattended for that long is a no-no and they might be in trouble over that. Definitely send the letter, with a copy to the teacher and school board.

I have since found a school that is willing to teach my son, and others like him. Let me tell you, it is a blessing! For the first time since Kindergarten I am not getting phone calls to come and pick him up, and no suspensions...

Kayla on October 13, 2011:

Oh my goodness!! This is exactly what I am afraid I will be dealing with as far as my daughters elementary school is concerned!! My daughter is in kindergarten, she has already had 2 office referrals, and ISS(involving them putting her in an unsupervised room for 6 hours with out notification of myself or her father). How on earth did you succeed with your situation. I have a 3 page letter I will be sending to the school, it's so similar to yours I have goosebumps:( I am so sorry you and your son had to go through all of that. Has his education situation improved? I've been looking for constructive criticism for my letter, but after reading yours, I feel more then confident. Thanks for that.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 30, 2011:

Hi Tracy, it can be most frustrating - especially when they won't listen!

Tracy on September 30, 2011:

Going through about the same thing at this time. So frustrating! Daily struggle to attempt to get my son the education he wants and deserves!

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 22, 2011:

Thanks mcleodgi, I appreciate your comments!

Ginny McLeod from Overland Park on September 21, 2011:

I think you did great. You're also right to point out that many children practically see out-of-school suspension as a golden privilege.

One of my closest friends (she just turned 28) also has big-time ADHD and mild Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She was adopted so I consider her one of the luckiest people I know in that sense.

Symptoms of ADHD include the fact that they never filter out what they try to pay attention to and they constantly blurt out everything they're thinking whenever they're thinking it. They also usually have a very low tolerance for frustration.

This is very true of my friend and seems to be so for your son. My friend received in-school-suspension a few times for outbursts but of course, didn't learn anything from it in the long run.

Even today, most people are rather repulsed by her. I seem to be the only one who isn't. It seems that whenever I'm around here, I almost automatically have a feeling for a certain patience that I have only for her (and I don't consider myself to be a particularly patient person, either).

You don't have to be perfect. Doing the best you can is what counts. As long as you keep sticking up for your son like you do, he'll remember this and carry these wonderful memories well into his adulthood.:)

Asiha on September 11, 2011:

I felt the same way every time Because i am the only one who is Asian.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 21, 2011:

Thanks so much for your comment Ornov.dm99, so glad you stopped by :D

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 18, 2011:

Thanks grace :) I was rather pleased with it myself...said everything I needed and wanted to say at one sitting :D

grace on February 15, 2011:

I love this.

Kotori from Chicagoland on January 26, 2011:

Typical principal arrogance-- only lawyers seem to scare them.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on January 26, 2011:

Thanks Kotori :D I was rather pleased with my efforts - not that they did much good, but at least we were treated civilly for the remainder of the year!

Kotori from Chicagoland on January 25, 2011:

Wow! Great letter. You go, Enelle. You are exactly the kind of informed and caring parent that I, as a teacher, respect. I know that your son's experience is all too common, yet, in the US at least, patently illegal.

Dennis Regling from Freeport, Ohio on January 12, 2011:

Homeschool. There is no other choice. The government schools will never give your child the well rounded education you can.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 22, 2010:

Thank you DevinCo, I appreciate the compliment! So far this school year is going quite well :D

DevinCo on October 21, 2010:

This is one of the best hubs I've read. There can never be enough communication between students, parents, teachers, staff and administration in education. As a teacher we must facilitate the needs of our students first. Thank you for sharing this story. Nice to hear things are getting better for your son.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on October 13, 2010:

ACSutliff, so far my son is doing better than he has done since grade 6. He is doing more work in class (although still not enough) and he is not being as disruptive. He is actually completing homework - a big step, and something he hasn't willingly done since grade 5, so there are more positives than negatives so far!

scholarshipsformo, I agree - I think they should!

scholarshipsformo from California on October 13, 2010:

They should go to the press with this

ACSutliff on October 12, 2010:

As a teacher, my first priority has always been to keep kids in school. It might seem that I let my students get away with too much sometimes, but my goal is for 100% of my students to be in my classroom learning every day, and sending them out of my room is a last resort that I hope never becomes necessary. I recently had a student suspended for violating a school rule in the handbook, and I have never been as upset as I was when I found out that the student would be missing for ten days. Think of all that time out of the classroom, spent not learning! It sickens me!

Have things improved with your son? I hope he is having a successful year!

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 28, 2010:

I wish her all the luck! Here's hoping things turn out well for her :)

barberlorijo on September 28, 2010:

My daughter went to the school board last night. They seemed more interested in her being denied a meeting than what the principal did. She is waiting to see if anything is done. the press is her last option. She is hoping he isn't rehired next year. You have to show that he did so many things wrong to get him dismissed during the year.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 21, 2010:

Tell her to go to the press...that might get their attention

barberlorijo on September 21, 2010:

My daughter called the school today to set up a private meeting with the school board. They refuse to meet with her and said she could try the public forum, at the meeting,but they probable won't recognize her.

Indiana is in the United States isn't it? This is crazy.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 18, 2010:

I understand exactly how she feels. Congratulations to her for being proactive and not just sweeping this under the rug! Good for her!

barberlorijo on September 17, 2010:

My daughter has already seen about changing school.

My grandchild hasn't been tested and because her reading is improving the school doesn't think she needs tested,

She doesn't qualify for help, since she hasn't been tested.

The people from the LDA has been helpful. They gave her a number for child education for the government. This association gave her pointers on what to do.

She is sending a certified letter to the superintendent, stating that they wants a letter of repremand placed in his file. (I takes so many repremends to have him fired)My daughter is writing letters to the papers, on the school's web page, and will be going to the next school board meeting. She has researched and found that one member of the board voted against his contract and she is contacting her.

She has found numerous parents with similar situations with this principal. It is very sad that no one took the time to report him.

My daughter is concerned for her child and has let the school know that her child is not permitted to be called to his office without the parents being there.

Even if my grandchild goes to a different school, something needs to be done to protect the other children in this school.

The funny thing is that the last two teachers loved my grandchild. She is quiet and well behaved.

I will keep you posted.

One more thing, the child education association ask my daughter what kind of school is this,they couldn't believe what is going on. Sometimes my daughter says she feels like she is living in the twilight zone.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 17, 2010:

First off, I would change schools! The principal and the rest have no right to talk that way to your daughter or granddaughter!

Yes they were quite helpful, even though we discovered that my son doesn't have a learning disability.

barberlorijo on September 15, 2010:

My grandchild is behind in reading. She missed many days of school in the first two grades because of illness.

The principal told her parents that she is a failure. This all happened yesterday.. The guidance counciler, teacher and the principal himself agree that it happened. The superintendent told my daughter it is none of her business what reprimand that he received.

Did the people from the Learning Disability Association help?

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on July 07, 2010:

I can see where people would get the idea that I might use the ADHD/ODD as a crutch, but to be honest, it isn't necessary. I didn't say my son didn't deserve a form of punishment for his behaviour, I'm saying that the school was using his defiance as a reason for suspension. My son also exhibits all the symptoms of Aspergers, so we might get lucky and actually be on the list for help in school. Right now, I, like you, get no support in the system.

Kelly on July 07, 2010:

I think that you are using the adhd and ODD as crutches. Yes, they were rude. However, it sounds like you justify it by their behavior. He did something to be suspended. I would have made my son write and apology note. HOwever, my son was put in a cubicle in 3rd grade for HUGGING a little girl. He was at the cubicle all day:( Something has to be done. My son is entering 5th grade and has been diagnosed with Aspergers. I am furious. Only the ESL kids and the really severe disabled get help. I am not saying you are wrong I am just saying your son is watching you and you dont want him manipulating you and the system. I like how you fought for a more sensitive way of dealing with the both of you in public. Take care...

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 18, 2010:

Thanks Neil :)I hope the information helps :)

George Poe from United Kingdom on April 17, 2010:

Great !! I've bookmarked this for further viewing..

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on April 02, 2010:

Hi Neil, Thanks very much for the compliment!

George Poe from United Kingdom on April 01, 2010:

Very good article. You write well and provide some valuable information..

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on February 28, 2010:

Hi Missi - I hear you! The school we have now is so much better and more willing to help my son succeed. Big difference from the last one!

Thanks for your comments and the compliment! :D

Missi Darnell from Southern California on February 28, 2010:

You go girl! This scenario was so much like my oldest. My son loved the confrontation and Lord help the person who dared to challenge him. The front office lady at the school basically had free reign at the time he attended the elementary school and she would say things to him like "If you were my child I would discipline you." Well, he welcomed her comments, of course that would justify his. In lieu of calling her Mrs. French when he ended up in the office he addressed her as "Frenchy". I've learned a lot since he was little, I've definitely learned that when dealing with schools you put everything in writing! Stay strong and keep up the good work.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 20, 2009:

I do understand what you mean with the labels - in my case however, the behavior is what keeps him stuck. I will check out the behavior check sheets on google - thanks so much for the tips and comments :)

matt bowers on November 20, 2009:

That is great. I am also so happy to hear that you took what I wrote how I intended! As friendly and hopefully helpful account of my experiences. So often the label of ODD or any DSM label does little except keep kids stuck. Kind but firm relationship with school and significant adults and consitent expectations at school and home with consistent consequences and gosh how important communication is. Very tough and you have to have school buy in and conversly parent buy in. I found a cool tool on a behaviour intervention website called a behavior check sheet generator- you can plug in behaviors you want to change from a large list, decide how to grade and it can go to school and home again. Again, must be tactful with schools as they, of course, have so many other kid to teach and so many other duties that I never thought about until I began working in a school. The stereotype of early out in the afternoon, lots of holidays and the summer completely off is just not quite accurate. Teachers by and larger work extremely hard with limited resources and with mandated work that often takes them from building relationships and being creative with kids. Nearly every teacher I've met has really gone into this work to help kids. Some teachers, like all of us, have more internal resources and institutional support than others.

If there are any teachers or administrators that think outside of the box the use of behavior think sheets and other positive behavior intervention is much more productive than "old school"lol punitive measures. Check out PBIS and google behavior check sheets and tie them to consequences at home and school. Its hard hard work but ultimately its a battle you as parent must win and can't always count on the schools to drag and pull or push him thru it. Good luck and keep it up!

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 19, 2009:

I can see where that would definitely feed the cycle - my son took it a step further however. He knows that the teachers don't have any authority except to send him home, or refuse to teach him, and he does play on that. It is hard to keep on top of what happens in school when I'm not informed about his transgressions on a daily basis. This school has been keeping me well informed about his progress, and behavior, so I am able to use that to my advantage.

Today, he actually did school work (a first for almost a year now, due in part to how he was treated in his grade 6 year.) I also have a good counselor for him this year, and that is starting to make a difference as well.

matt bowers on November 19, 2009:

As a school based clinician in very progressive and yet structured school I can say that at this school, the teachers and staff frequently go out of their way to help children and parents. I also know that many teachers have tried and tried to help children whose parent have abdicated their responsibility to set boundaries for their children. While I appreciate your dedication to your child and do not in any way condone the rudeness and unprofessionalism of the school staff the other extreme of parents are the parents that love their child to prison and enable and couldn't help but wonder if your child, as children will definitely do, picked up on your discontent and uses that as ammunition for his continued misbehavior

Cheeky Chick on November 16, 2009:

Enelle, there's a link at the bottom of my Bad Behavior or Sensory Issues hub that's written by another mom. It's called 10 Things Kids With SPD Wish They Could Tell You. I think one needs to be written about kids with ADHD as well, and distributed to the schools. Maybe then they could find compassion and understanding. Just a thought.

I'm with you sister! Contact me any time you need a shoulder to cry on. Sounds like you are making steady progress with your son. I'm glad to hear it.


Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on November 16, 2009:

Thanks so much Cheeky - we have changed school districts, and so far it seems to be a better environment for my son. He still refuses to do any work in school - results of the last administration, but we are working on correcting that.

We have had a lot of positive changes this summer, and a few negative ones - but I'm hopeful we can overcome those ones. Thank you so very much for your support - you're right - we gotsta stick together LOL!

Cheeky Chick on November 15, 2009:

Oh Enelle, your son is one lucky kid to have you as his advocate. I volunteer and substitute as a Teachers Aid in the schools, and have also noticed how badly these kids are treated. Where is the understanding? Where is the compassion?

I have a son with Sensory Processing Disorder, so that may be why I come from a place of understanding with other kids who struggle with challenges such as these. When working in the Middle School Detention room, one day, I learned what a difference a little kindness and understanding makes. One boy was with me the entire day. He told me he had ADHD/ODD and that this was the only school that would take him. We bonded immediately, and he was a big help to me that day. I also observed that he only did the work for his English class, and after seeing the way his English teacher interacted with him (with kindness and respect) I understood why.

You are definitely right in calling out the school's administration and staff for their rude behavior. They also need to educate themselves on ADHD/ODD and make their school a positive learning environment.

Best of luck, Enelle. I've got your back.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on September 24, 2009:

Mrs. Obvious - I haven't found a school that strictly handles kids like mine, however, we did try one that had a behavioural program - unfortunately, they couldn't handle my son and he was expelled shortly before summer break. He is attending regular school (grade 7)and they are extremely helpful, more so than the one he was in last year, so we will see how he far, so good!

Willow Mattox from Northern California on September 21, 2009:

wow, doesn't your county have a school for severly emotionally disabled children? When I got my son's I.E.P. in Kindergarten, they put him in this special day school and it is the only place he could blow up, be restrained, and then go back to working like nothing happened. They have a student to teacher max. ratio of 9-3. He is now in third grade and may be transitioning out by next year. He also gets one on one counseling sessions once a week at school through them and group sessions with classmates every day. He also can have regular med check appts. with the County Mental Health worker. Are you fighting to have him in regular classes, or does your area just not have anything to offer you?

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on July 01, 2009:

Yes, Shalini, I have found the majority of educational professionals just don't have the time, patience, inclination, or all three to step up and help kids like mine. I am the first to say that my son needs a lot of attention, but that being said, they could at least offer some sort of support regarding his schooling.

Shalini Kagal from India on July 01, 2009:

Enelle - my heart goes out to you and mostly to your little boy. It really is sad that the ones who are supposed to educate children are so lacking in what is most essential - the milk of human kindness :(

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on June 18, 2009:

Hi Peggy - It can be a bit of a rough ride let me tell you...but I have since spoken with a Child Mental Health worker who has a different outlook on how to help with my son's behavioural management, so I will keep my fingers crossed. Our first meeting is next Wednesday, so hopefully we can find something that works...this in turn will help with how he reacts at school. It's a work in progress lol...

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2009:

So sorry that you are having to deal with people who are obviously not as educated as you with regard to your son's disability. The sad thing is that there are others out there with the same problems. Truly hope that you can find the help you need so that your son thrives and you are not continually frustrated.

Enelle Lamb (author) from Canada's 'California' on June 12, 2009:

Hi RedElf - The letter did have some impact, however, there has been no apology from either the principal, school board, or receptionist...

MM - They still send him home regularly but at least now they aren't always suspending him for his behaviour, and they don't treat either of us the way they used to...but it's still a very small victory...gotta say, I don't like the principal one bit

Teresa - I agree whole-heartedly about the principal - I am working at finding a different school district where they won't treat us like lepers, not easy lol...and next year will be tough just to regain the ground we lost because of the principal's mismanagement of my son...

RGraf - Thank you - I understand what it's like when professionals assume you as a parent are doing something wrong...I was so angry and upset when they called Child Services on me because I lost it on them...I have considered homeschooling, but with my son's disability, and the fact that I am just not cut from the 'teachers' cloth, I am looking into a tutor for him. If I have to keep him home part of the school week with a tutor and send him to school for the rest, that might be something that would work for my son.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on June 12, 2009:

Good for you! We didn't have anything quite so upsetting but my son's teacher made assumptions about him being out a week and called child protective services because we supposedly kept out of school for the sole purpose of babysitting his sister who was out only one day during that week for the same illness. They said that we were not there enough for the kids. My son was devastated and said he couldn't understand why his teacher would lie. We are now homeschooling.

Sheila from The Other Bangor on June 12, 2009:

Excellent -- my heart goes out to your son, and the school principal is an ass. No wonder you lost your temper. I think I would have been tempted to hit the guy.

This is egregious failure on the part of the principal, as your son's previous school work attests. So sorry this happened to you -- hope you can get the help you need to get your son back on track.

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on June 12, 2009:

Groan. This account of the humiliation and frustration you must feel makes my stomach hurt. Schools are not the only authoritarian institution that make rules and enforce them regardless of anyone's "special needs" or circumstances. They look only at the surface behavior, not at the root cause.

Sounds like you have your hands full. I know that sometimes kids do grow out of ADDHD. Not sure about ODD. But I hope you are able to get some assistance. Continually suspending your son is NOT a very good solution, is it?

RedElf from Canada on June 12, 2009:

Way to go, Enelle. No staff should ever speak with disrespect to a child or parent in the hearing of others, especially other students or staff. As the comments were public, I would hope the apology was, as well.

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