Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Break In The Case, As The School Police Would Say

The school police were extremely fond of saying things like, "Hmm, sounds like this woman knows more than she's telling!" and "Sounds like this teacher is the key!" Life seems to be grand when you're playing Sherlock Holmes. It was equal parts endearing and frustrating.

I called the teacher who witnessed said abuse today, (for she was the key!) and she answered her phone. She had been up in the mountains for the last little while and couldn't get any reception up there. Imagine her surprise when she listened to her voice mail and there were messages from me. The police. The school. Whoever.

Niko's teacher was screaming at him, she said. Not just him, all of the kids. Grabbing them and yanking them around. Saying hateful things. She said you could walk by the classroom and hear the teacher yelling at the top of her lungs. Her aid was very good at keeping Niko away from the teacher, she said, which makes me think that he might have received more of it than the others. The teacher said, "I reported it to the administration last year, but they said that they were handling it and basically told me to mind my own business." She gave me the names of who she talked to.

Well. That puts a whole new slant on things, doesn't it? So apparently the administration was aware of this behavior before this teacher reported it. So how many people knew about this? More importantly, if it was such common knowledge, why didn't the school contact ME? Somebody is screaming at my son, yanking him around, and I blissfully send him to school with the exact same teacher for another year? I'm speaking with the superintendent tomorrow. I find that I have a lot to say.

These are the steps that I have taken, for those of you that might find this information helpful. First I tried to call the principal, but school was out for this month. So I called the district's public concern line (not helpful) who put me in touch with the person higher than her. (Also not helpful.) Then I consulted an attorney, who advised me to take Niko to the hospital to check for signs of abuse. The hospital released that information to the police, but I called Abuse and Neglect Detail anyway to file my own report. I am still waiting to hear back from them, but I was assured that they'll call as soon as they are able. I called DCPS. (Not helpful.) I called the school police, filed a report with them, and tonight I'm filling out an official complaint form that I received from the disabilities advocacy center. The idea, the advocate says, is to create a paper trail. So I am. I also called the region special education department and talked to them, and the school police gave me the name of the superintendent and told me to speak to him directly. So.

No media, and it isn't in my plans. I'd like to resolve this as peacefully as possible. Unless, of course, I find that I need it, and then I won't be afraid to scream buildings down if I need to.

That's only elementary, my dear Watson.


Every minute counts.... said...

I am so glad that answers are coming. I totally agree with the paper trail theroy...the more you can document you did the better off you are in the long run. Learning Special Ed law, I learned...if you ever get to court they can not cross-exam things that are written down.
Keep up the good work!

Tes said...

You go Sherlock! All this will be resolved, I feel it, you feel it and it will happen.
Big hug
P.S. taking Noel's advice this school year I am writing everything down.