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*&^$# -- just when things were going great

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so - how far am I to push things at school? I am trying really hard to not be "that mom".


ds12, 6th grade, had some troublesome grades that I asked him to talk with teacher about. backstory - this is my 'mild' child, who may have had social anxiety issues regardless of pandas. he has trouble asking for help from adults, standing up for himself, and finding solutions to problems if in a sticky situation. we have spoken with his homeroom teacher about this and are working on giving him support and help him learn how to handle these situations. he does not have a 504. although had a problem last year - but we were able to work through it with great staff. I have been extremely happy with this school and proactive approach for both children -- until now.


we have had some back and forth with a non-response to ds's email from teacher, then I got involved. in one week, he seems to have gone from teacher 'not knowing there was a problem' to him having had instances of being 'extremely rude' and 'engineering the downfall of a group project that needed to be redone' - (that his grade is 10/10), and refusing to do work - not that he just done those, that she just discussed it. they are supposed to be moving him out of this class b/c it seems apparent to everyone that he and teacher are at odds. that's fine with me b/c he also is frustrated with computers in that class that are subpar. really, likely the root of the trouble b/c he often doesn't have a computer that works correctly - therefore, has trouble doing work.


yesterday, he is accused of having made rude derogatory comments that made the teacher cry (?!)- overheard by other adults, but no exact statement can be given to me. he says he did not say anything. he says, "even if I did, I wouldn't be stupid enough to say it around her or in her class"


vice principal (who I previously loved, but am frustrated with this handling) is involved -- kind of just wants to move him out of the class and get over it. I think it is inappropriate to have 'rude', 'disrespectful' and 'engineering trouble with the project' as the statement. I think we need to know specifics and exacts. I am sure that he has had trouble in the class b/c I can readily admit that his anxiety shut down is maddening. I don't understand why teacher has not addressed it prior to this and think this is inappropriate handling.


I have appointment with psych next Tues to discuss. I didn't want 504 for him b/c I wanted him to learn to adjust and learn to ask for the accommodations that he needs. this was going well -- but now I am feeling that they don't really get him and he may need extra help.


thoughts? ocdmom, dcmom, llm ?? anyone else appreciated also!!

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Smarty --


Firstly, so sorry! You know, our kids are lucky enough to get a number of great teachers, but it only takes that one to sour the entire academic experience for us and our kids. And even more frustrating is thinking that things are going along okay . . . that everyone's on the same page . . . that the communication chain is functioning as it should, and then *POW* -- out of left field comes this teacher's assertions that your DS has historically been a problem, that he is currently a problem, etc.! :angry:


I can appreciate your wanting to know the details of the situation, what your DS is thought to have said and in what context, etc. But it doesn't look as though the assist. principal is going to back you up on your "right to know" those specifics, at least not readily. I think I would appeal to both the AP and the teacher (individually) to download as much of the detail of the situation to you as possible; you could phrase it as being in the interest of discussing this behavior with DS and the psych, of wanting to make sure that DS is aware of when his words/actions may be perceived as inappropriate so as to reduce the likelihood of future episodes of similar issues, etc. That being said, be prepared for the teacher to indulge in some "butt covering," i.e. "spinning" if not outright untruths, particularly if she played a role by saying or doing something inappropriate herself. And the AP may be inclined to go the same route, thinking she needs to support her staff, and besides, with your DS moving to a different teacher, what's her downside?


We've had to walk this fine line a number of times . . . coaching our DS that there are always going to be some teachers who "don't get" him, who think his needs are "excuses," etc. But that he still has to advocate for himself and that if these teachers continue to throw up barriers, then he is entitled to turn to an adult (his parents, his counselor, etc.) to help him. And that, ultimately, some people are just not worth a whole lot of effort in terms of trying to convince them that you're a good person, a good student, a hard worker, etc. That there are always going to be some who remain so self-absorbed, so unenlightened, that the exercise with them becomes learning how to get around, under, over or through them so that you come out of the exchange with your dignity and integrity intact. The older DS gets, the more we see that particular skill as a crucial one, and he's learning it well. It should help him navigate not only his remaining academic years, but years in the workforce, too.


You know I'm a big proponent of 504's and IEP's, as needed, and as you mention "accommodations" and "self-advocacy" in your DS's tale, I do wonder if it might not be a good thing to make some of those things official on his behalf, going forward? I mean, without the accommodations legally ratified, this teacher or any other could just tell him "tough luck," couldn't they? And the older he gets, the more likely they are to do just that. Particularly in the high school environment, we've come across some teachers who, despite an IEP, have tried to tell our DS that he either 1) doesn't really need accommodations and/or 2) shouldn't invoke the use of them because "the world isn't going to accommodate" him in the future! So it stands to reason that these teachers, absent a legal obligation to honor certain accommodations, would grant him absolute butkus without the paperwork in place! <_< Keep in mind that, with older kids especially, the entire notion of a 504 Plan or IEP is that the kids are still expected to learn to advocate for themselves, so that skill set remains in development; the teachers don't just automatically step up and adjust their assignments to meet the allowed accommodations. But the 504/IEP enforces the teachers' obligation to grant accommodations that he self-advocates.


Hopefully the psych you're speaking with is knowledgeable, compassionate and knows you, your DS and the situation fairly well? I would enlist her/his help, too, in assessing what the best next steps are. As you know, you're never going to "win" with everyone involved, but since the goal is for your DS to be happy, functional, productive and progressing, anything that achieves that end is well worth undertaking, IMHO.


Hang in there, Smarty, and good luck! Let us know how it all falls out! :wub:

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Ugh- so sorry you are having an issue!


I am also a big fan of the 504. My younger dd has one in place, mostly for extreme shyness and anxiety, which are ever present for her, but do get worse with a flare up. She didnt need one until this yr- middle school, because prior to this it could be handled with a short discussion with the teacher. Middle school teachers are less sensitive, and spend less time with the child- so to be fair to all, we did a 504. We asked for minimal to no accommodations- but with the 504 we are able to alert all of her teachers what to expect, and to request that they give her time to "warm up". I will tell you- not all teachers even seem to look at the 504- but in that circumstance, I as a parent have more power. If a situation is mishandled, I just ask the teacher to please read the 504.


My daughters issue is that she cannot talk to adults- she freezes (selective mutism). Over time, she warms up and is able to speak in very soft voice. When a person meets her (if they have any common sense) the can see this right away, because along with her silence comes body language that makes it easy to see she is scared and not ignoring or defiant. Believe it or not, not all teachers are born with this common sense :-). So in the 504 we spell it out, and ask for common sense accommodations to be made until she is more comfortable. This helps the teacher, and also gives me back up if there is ever an issue that goes beyond the teacher and I.


This being said, you walk a fine line of balancing the need to respect teachers and the need to argue with them in your son's eyes. I impress upon my kids that teachers, like future bosses, parents, siblings, etc are human. They need to (within reason of course) work on finding a way to get along, even with those they don't like.


I would meet with the teacher face to face. I personally have found it best to start there. You don't need to argue- just get the story, work on a resolution - if possible. I would also discuss a 504 with the psych, see if you could come up with minimal requirements that you are comfortable with.


Hang in there and keep us posted!

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Oh Smarty - so bummed! Nancy has great tips (as always). But my one devil's advocate question is "do you really want the teacher's side of the story in writing?" You're in a he said/she said but as Nancy says, the teacher, who is being defensive, has every reason to paint a lopsided story. Do you want it in writing to follow your son? Or just leave it be and let your son know you support him, regardless of what's been said?


I hear you on the waffling on the 504. My DD is my borderline kid, and I too hesitate to do much, especially as she's a good student. And there've been times I've considered dropping DS's 504 as he needs it less and less. But then we run into a teacher that Nancy describes - one who feels kids shouldn't be accommodated, that standards are already too low, and were it not for the legal force of a 504, would make DS's life miserable. So I'm glad we have it, even if it isn't used that often.


It sounds like this teacher will not get it, not matter what you do. There could be things behind the scenes you're not aware of, so focus on the end game, not on the details of getting there. I was so irked by my son's 4th grade teacher, yet I was hesitant to get involved and when I did, it made things worse. At the end of the year, she was fired and I found out lots of parents had the same beef I did. Before you revise your opinion of the AP, wait for it to play out. Just get your DS moved and stay on the good side of the AP, especially if getting a 504 written is a potential goal. Right now, you understandably feel the need to clear your son's name. But if it's not in writing, it may very well fade and be forgotten. If you push, it may not come out the way you'd like. I can only say what I'd do - and that would be to stay on good terms with the AP, get off on the right foot with a new teacher and pave the way for a better way forward for DS.


Today on Humans of New York's FB page is a guy who says "I'm trying to fight less with people. If you want to stay stupid, stay stupid. but me, I'm moving forward." Seems like the best advice for this situation.

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I am with LLM. The AP may have very good reasons he wants to move your son and may not be able to say so, due to privacy laws. Moving kids out of classes is really not the norm, so I'd be inclined to go with what is offered with the knowledge that it was offered without your suggestion. There is most likely something going on you are not privy to.

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I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Thanks so much! No where else can I go that people just get it immediately and have good solid useful advice! -- Well, our psych , but you guys are FREE! :lol:


So -- things are looking better today. ds initially said he didn't want to switch classes b/c he didn't know anyone in that class. they were able to switch 2 classes and make it work - which got him into the PE class he's been wishing he was in anyway. So - he's feeling good about a switch. he was also able to discuss his opinion with AP about the situation that he may have made frustrated, poorly toned, comments ('Aw, come on!', etc) but not derogatory statements.


You all are very wise! Yes, I should likely not throw the AP under the bus so quickly. he is actually fabulous. in the light of day today, I can see he's trying to juggle everyone's interests. the teacher actually brought him into it before I did -- I had asked to meet with her and she was anxious about that.


nicklemama -- interesting. it is semester break - so the timing is perfect for a switch (although the classes are supposed to run yearly) but I was quite surprised that he brought up a switch as pretty much first option of what to do about this. I had been thinking it was b/c teacher was stating ds was so troublesome in the class.


we have the appointment next Tuesday to discuss with our psych, who knows ds well and was helpful in our disastrous situation 2 years ago. ds12 had similar trouble but it was after disaster with ds9 and we were at an impasse with the administration so we had to pull him off the tracks to avoid train wreck #2 - but it landed him on home teaching for 6 mths.. I'm thinking 504 may be good - possibly like you say dcmom - just to get people on the same page with awareness of some of his challenges so when trouble does arise, they know not to immediately think he's just difficult -- because that usually snowballs. additionally, this AP helped with a similar situation last year that did not get so blown out of proportion -- but if he is not around, the outcomes may be very different!



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In so sorry you are having these troubles. I hear the point about not wanting this following your child in writing, but I think that teacher should tell you face to face exactly what she thought she heard your child say. Perhaps this was some sort of complex motor tic that he was unaware of, or just a big misunderstanding? The teacher is not acting I a mature if professional manner. I can not imagine a teacher bursting into tears over a comment any student made. If it was that dramatic it should be reported at least to the parent.


As far as the 504 debate goes, I have several thoughts. First, it's your child civil right. If for whatever reason your child might act I appropriately due to anxiety or other medically established reasons, it should not be held against him. With that said, of course, you want to have some say in how this is dealt with as you would t want it to be perpetuated. But for the teacher to cry and then not be willing to discuss is dismally unacceptable. They shouso at least give you an analogy or explain how the teacher felt by the comment she thought she heard. You are correct I. That his is a he said/she said case. Those are never easily resolved. But the issue is concrete and should be addressed for future purposes.


The other issue with the 504 as in my case, none of the important items were ever implemented so it proved to be worthless. The 504 is only as good as the intentions and ability to communicate as the teachers in loved in your child's direct care. I believe kids should be taught conflict resolution and shouldn't just change teachers at the first sign if trouble. But how can that happen when the teacher so t communicate? I wouldn't let this one to.


It sounds like you do have a good relationship with this school and I would encourage you to use this to your advantage to get to the bottom of this and figure out what went wrong and how it could be handled and prevented in the future.


I hope you are able to resolve the issue to where you are comfortable. I know how hard these things can be!

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Smarty- I taught 20 years, half in middle school and half in high school. When I read that an AP switches classes without a big battle and teacher was reported crying over your DS behavior, my radar says something is amiss. AP is apparently being proactive in switching at a very convenient time and it's an easy out vs waiting and then needing to switch in a month. He is very smart.


I have a little experience with something kind of similar when I was a student in high school. We had a student teacher in American History. She was very unsure of herself and a total nerd in her manner and dress. That is a one way ticket to high school students causing you lots of grief, especially from girls. I was not one of those girls, however. My parents would not tolerate it and it was not my personality. Kids were causing her a little grief each day. Not something really overt but in the tone and comments and she would cry and ask the class why we were being so mean. My assigned seat was in the front row, right in front of my teachers desk. He was the AP, football coach, big guy. I was an athlete and went to an all day track meet. Next day, my friend who also went to track meet and I were called into AP/teachers office. He was not happy and he wanted to know why we had been so awful to his student teacher the previous day and made her cry. Imagine his surprise when we reminded him we had not been in school. She'd reported us as being the trouble makers. Apparently someone sat in our assigned seats and gave her grief while we were gone.


In 20 years teaching, I've never seen another teacher cry. I've taught in 3 states, in inner city Detroit to a private college prep boarding school. My gut says the teacher is having difficulties. If you can't handle flippant comments from teenagers, find another profession.

Edited by nicklemama
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we have had many days off due to weather, so there is a lag in this issue - but they have hardly been going to school. Lord, give me strength!! :)


ds said he wanted to stay in this troublesome class. dh and I really wanted him to switch b/c there was so much trouble. AP offered it up quickly and we jumped at it - said we would defer to AP's thoughts of best way to handle. when AP asked ds, he said he wanted to stay; AP said I think your parents really want you to switch. ds agreed to switch. ds is not so happy with his new class b/c he is coming into a class that has been going on for a semester (of course, common issue for social anxiety). teacher of new class is someone ds is very comfortable with. all in all -- I think it was the right decision, seems all adults feel this way. but - falls on 12 year old kid with not the best social skills who is the one living it and was kind of forced into it -- so I feel bad about that.


seems there was no sort of debrief with ds about it all at school. I kind of did that with him but he may still have lingering issues that teachers are frustrated with him. one of his biggest issues anyway is that he doesn't want to disappoint teachers or have a teacher speak sternly to him.


we met with psych last week. he thinks trouble with requesting 504 is that ds has good grades -- his lowest score on recent report card is 95. he thinks school could be reluctant to do b/c hard to justify impact on education and they may fear would be hard to stand up to an audit. he suggested some other type of plan that would have some sort of proactive intervention strategy. basically, I want something proactive that would help things not to become such a blown up issue that could have been handled better. it seems to me, teacher interpreted ds's troublesome behavior as being difficult rather than looking deeper. all she would have had to do was mention to homeroom teacher that ds was becoming a problem, we have spoken with him about these issues.


I think ds needs some plan because the problem is that ds appears happy, fine, well adjusted, gets good grades, has friends; and for the most part, he is -- until there is a problem. so, if he acts troublesome, it appears just poor behavior. if treated as such, it has the potential to blow up into a big problem.


last week, according to ds, he was arguing with a group over how to do a group project in language arts class (it was not the project he wanted to do) and reading a book in math class (the concepts were hard to understand and book was much more interesting). I think it would be ridiculous to wait for next report card to show decline to do anything! I fear he is sinking fast. ( granted, I may be panicking -- but I want to grab him before he spirals). I don't think he is getting into exacerbation -- I think this is all social skills related.


I am planning to give letter requesting 504 eval or some sort of proactive intervention plan.

please -- what are your experiences with high performing kids and 504? thanks!


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I have a straight A perfectly (in school) behaved daughter.


She never needed a 504 for elementary because her issues (extreme shyness bordering on selective mutism, along w/ general anxiety, all of which is exacerbated in a pandas flare) were always handled with her teachers, who were all supportive and wonderful. Last year as I was thinking ahead toward middle school, dd's teacher actually suggested a 504. All I needed to do was get a note from a doc- we used our pandas doc. The teachers, myself and the school psych wrote the 504 together! This process was extremely simple- two meetings and one letter from doc. This gives every treacher she sees a heads up on potential issues and how to handle them. I feel it also gives me some leverage if an issue were to arise.


Hope this helps!

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My daughter also has a 504, and has never needed academic help (knock on all wood please)

Like dcmom, I had it in place because of anxiety issues,

and the uncertainty of what the future may bring with a flair, or downturn.

I also had a detailed letter from our then treating PANS Dr.

(that I wrote with help)

and it was put in place when she was in kindergarten.

Every year the head school nurse calls me to review it, and do updates.

With the letter signed from a MD,

it was then easy to put the 504 in place.

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Smarty --


As you know my DS is very strong academically, but when he was awarded his 504 Plan in 3rd grade, it was because the school OFFERED it to us, unsolicited. They had been contending with his anxiety issues (PANDAS undiagnosed at that point, but OCD was in the picture) for a couple of years and felt that he needed a defined plan for accommodations during state standardized testing. So like DCMom and SSS, it was about anxiety rather than grades.


I know quite a few other high-achieving students who also have 504 plans, so I'm not sure your psych is in tune on this issue. We were told that 504 Plans are not typically subject to stringent "audits" because there is nominal funding and no additional services tied to a 504; it's only at the IEP level that significant funding and additional services become part of the picture.


On the other hand, through the experiences of three other families in our same district, I'm aware that as your kid gets older, it gets harder and harder to qualify them for either 504s or IEPs; by the time you reach high school, if your kid hasn't had either plan prior, you can almost forget qualifying at that age. It seems to be because the stakes get so much higher in terms of grades, standardized test scores, etc., and everyone is very concerned about some kids getting an unfair advantage on the basis of "vociferous parents." <_<


I say, go for it!

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