Worrying

I almost titled this post failing…because that’s how I’ve been feeling lately – like I’m failing.

Work has been going great, we had great news that Dru was accepted into the pre-K room at daycare, and that he was going to be going into early Kindergarten in the fall (he misses the normal cutoff by 2 weeks). Then, about a month ago, Dru’s behavior started going downhill. Kris was off for a week because a friend was coming in to town, and he was getting ready for a business trip the following week. That Thursday, Dru got sent home from daycare for being a banshee at resting time and jumping on other kids’ cots. Ok, he’s four, we punished him and moved on.

Kris left for Germany on a Saturday, Dru was NOT happy when he realized he was NOT going with Daddy on the plane, but we moved on. Good day at daycare Monday – and then Tuesday, resting time, he hit the teacher when she tried to get him to calm down at resting time. This time, I had to leave work to get him, and he was VERY contrite. We made a list of ways to behave better, and he wrote an apology to his teacher. Had a decent day Wednesday. Thursday, I pick him up to find out he’d gotten in trouble for pushing another kid on the playground – but I didn’t get a call, because they suspect that the child (and another boy, both larger than Dru) had trapped him and wouldn’t let him go down the slide. Seeing as I want my child to stand up to bullies, we talked about not using our hands and asking for help from a teacher and moved on. Good day Friday. Daddy came home Saturday, good day and good day Sunday. Things are looking up.

Monday, he had a decent day (a bit of not listening when time to switch activities, but again, he’s four, it’s a known issue). Tuesday, we get a call that he decided to go Incredible Hulk on the classroom at resting time (anyone seeing a pattern here?) and was throwing furniture. Oh, and by the way, he can’t come back Wednesday. Kris brings him home, I stay home on Wednesday. Through much talking (and removal of fun) he starts talking about resting time, and how he’s scared of the two boys that we know about from before, because they were firing him. When asked to explain firing, he makes finger guns and shooting noises. He also tells me that they do it to him all the time when the teacher isn’t looking. Now because he’s four, I know I have to consider the source, so I take him to his Pediatrician to make sure that he doesn’t have an ear infection or something (which historically has caused extremes in behavior for him). Everything checks out, but it appears he has seasonal allergies (you’re welcome kiddo) and that we can try giving him a kids Claritin to help with that.

At the suggestion of my awesome Mother-in-law, we make a social story to plan out how he will react in the future to situations which make him “nervous” (his word) or angry. Thursday morning, we talk with the teacher and the center director about the other boys (for the second time, mentioning the finger guns) and request that at resting time, they send him to his cot with a book (he loves reading, we hope this will stave off a psychotic break on both his and my part). As I’m about to walk into a meeting, we get a call that he’s losing his mind again (and it’s nap time). I ask the assistant director what’s going on, and she tells me that she’s managed to calm him down by removing him from the room and then putting him back in with a book after he calmed down. When asked if he was given a book at the start of resting/nap time, she said he hadn’t been “not what we do”. I told her that since he was calm, I wasn’t going to come get him, and I would appreciate if they gave him a book pre-emptively going forward, as we’d discussed that morning. That night, we had dinner with an old family friend and her daughters and daughter’s fiance since she was in town. Dru did awesome at dinner. At this point, the only time he’s losing his mind is at resting time, in that room.

Friday, he had a great day. His teacher made special note of it, told us he deserved a special reward for being so good. Her special rewards was getting to be Star Student the next week. He was extremely excited. He had a booklet to fill out, we spent a couple of hours this weekend getting it ready. I had a tutoring session on Saturday morning at the library, he came with and was wonderful. He even got to get a library card of his own and pick out a book to take to class to read as Star Student (the Tuesday activity).

Yesterday, we dropped him off at daycare and he was extremely excited. After lunch (at resting time) we again got a call that he was being sent home because he hit a teacher. Come to find out, they did not send him to his cot with a book, and he was near the boys who have been giving him trouble. Oh, and here’s the kicker – he can’t come back all week.

Thankfully, Kris was able to work that out and stay home. When he got to daycare, Dru was still losing his mind, and Kris wasn’t able to get the whole story. After work, I dropped in to get more details and found out the above information. So I told the director that we were going to have to look into other centers, because something or someone was triggering this behavior . Kris went today and we decided on a new place, which thankfully has an opening for him starting in 2 weeks (we’re off next week for a much-needed vacation, so this works out well).

Now through all this, I keep having these awful feelings that I’m failing as a parent – either I’m not seeing a situation which is emotionally harming my child in enough time to protect him well, or I’m failing to see that he’s a raging terror of a child, and I’m becoming that mother who excuses everything her child does as someone else’s fault. I don’t want to be either person. And I’m sure the emotional toll this is taking on Kris and I can’t be helping Dru – thus the spiral.

It’s even more frustrating, because he’s usually so good, and we know he’s smart – already reading and doing basic addition – so I think we sometimes forget that he’s only four.  Plus, as both sets of parents have told us, we’ve been pretty lucky – he’s held up well to almost all of the changes (and there have been many) that have occurred in his short life and was a relatively low maintenance kid…maybe this is payback…

So we’re REALLY looking forward to our week off next week and starting fresh the week after.

Wow, that was long, sorry guys.

I think this picture of Dru sums up my feelings lately:
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Yes, I know it’s old, but I have to focus on the cute right now…forgive me.

So we’re trying to figure out a good solution for his behavior – he needs to know this is not okay, but we also need to know what’s causing it – if it’s bullying or whatnot, he needs to know we’re on his side. If he’s just decided to go batcrap crazy, he needs to stop. If it’s medical, I need to get him help. But he’s four, so he’s not exactly a reliable source of information. Especially when his usual answer is “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”.

GRRRRRRRRRRRR

Okay, I think it’s bedtime.

Stabbing

is what I would like to do to these “administrators”.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20110817/NEWS12/108170372/1002/SPORTS/

Administrators of a school in Missouri are now on my “should be dragged into the streets and shot with darts until they bleed out” list.  Want to know why?  Of course you do – you’re reading my blog.

So yes, these “paragons of virtue” and “protectors of youth” decided in the 2008-2009 school year to ignore the complaint of a mentally challenged girl who claimed to be sexually harassed and raped by another student.  They bullied her into recanting, then EXPELLED her for making the claims in the first place.  But only after they made her write him an apology and hand deliver it (of course).

When the poor thing returned to school the next year (09-10), the harassment began again.  And then she was raped AGAIN.  She didn’t report this to the school (why would she, after her previous experience) and thankfully told her mother.  When she was checked out by the Child Advocacy Center – who found evidence of rape trauma and semen – the school still didn’t so anything.  Even though she was RAPED IN THE LIBRARY OF THE SCHOOL.

So, the boy was charged and plead guilty (it was his semen).

Now the girl and her mother are suing the school district.  They are alleging a whole host of things, including the fact that the school, as mandated reporters, didn’t report the initial rape accusation.  And then punished her by making it.  And apparently all while knowing that the girl’s challenge included a conflict-averse personality with an inability to deny others.  So, being the lovely caring people that they are, the school district has responded that the suit is invalid because the girl failed to protect herself (NICE ASSHOLES, because as we all know, rape victims are asking for it /end sarcasm) and failed to exhaust administrative remedies.

What I want to know is what remedies they wanted her to exhaust?  They bullied her into recanting a statement, then kicked her out of school.  It doesn’t exactly sound like they were going to be willing to hear her accuse them of wrongdoing.

I seem to be forming many posses lately.  Maybe I need to start a company…

Educating…I think

So my original plan for tonight was to write about HamJam #9.  But my darling husband alerted me to an article which was just BEGGING to be responded to.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19339_the-6-dumbest-things-schools-are-doing-in-name-safety.html

Cracked.com compiled a list of 6 stupid things that different school districts are doing “for the kids” which are both wasteful and stupid.  I’ll go through them in the same order that Cracked did.

#6 – Forcing Students to Wear Electronic Tracking Devices

Instead of the standard Student ID with picture, name, and school info, two district in Houston, TX issued all students cards with RFID tracking tags in them (at a cost to the district of $150k).  Theoretically this will help with tracking attendance (since state funding is tied to attendance).  Here’s the big problem.  It’s a CARD.  You can hand them to a different student, or, (assuming that the school isn’t going to be constantly monitoring EVERY card and its location) just leave it in their locker.  Also, even if the student DOES bring the card with them when they skip class, the range on the cards only extends 100 yards beyond campus.  And since I’ve never heard of someone playing hookie within sight of the school, it doesn’t exactly seem effective for finding people who are, in fact, playing hookie.

There’s also a ton of privacy concerns tied in – hacking, tracking constantly, etc.  And apparently, in case this wasn’t invasive enough, a school in San Antonio has taken it one step further!  They’re putting ankle bracelets on kids who have truancy issues.  Yep, that’s right, ankle bracelets…

#5 – Banning ALL Photography

In order to prevent child pornography (I guess in response to idiots distributing naked pics over text, etc), a school in England has banned ALL photography on school grounds or school events.  This includes spectators at sporting events, field trips, school plays, etc.  Because the danger of one idiot snapping a naked pic of her boobs and sending it to her love interest totally justifies Mr. and Mrs. Jones not being able to get a picture of little Suzie as the lead in the school play.  Especially since most of these naked pics are NOT being taken at school or school events.

Here’s a novel idea – let’s have the parents actually impress upon their children the importance of NOT SENDING NUDIE PICS!

#4 – Absolutely NO Touching

In Fairfax, VA a middle school has overreacted to the issues of inappropriate touching by banning ALL touching.  That’s right.  Apparently they have decided that kids can’t figure out the difference between punching someone and high-fiving them.  I mean, I know that I’ve lamented the state of youth, and yada yada, but seriously?  Little Johnny doesn’t know that punching someone is NOT okay?  Again, this is just lazy.  How about we teach our children (and again, this shouldn’t fall on the teachers, it falls to the parents) what is and isn’t appropriate?  Stop being your kids’ friend and be a freaking parent!

And after noticing that Fairfax had this going, a middle school in CT has adopted the same policy (apparently after one kid got kicked in the groin).  Seriously?  I’m pretty sure every kid on the planet knows that kicking in the groin is wrong.  So the kid who did such a thing probably wouldn’t follow the rules of no touching.

#3 – Banning All Outside Food

So we all know that more and more allergies are appearing across the country.  Some experts say it’s because we’re introducing allergens too early, some say we’re introducing them too late, some say we’re oversanitizing.  Whatever the reason, more and more kids have severe allergies to foods.  One Chicago school has decided to ruin lunch for everyone by banning kids from bringing food from home – unless it’s a strict dietary issue.  So for every kid with a healthy immune system or a non-diet restrictive religion, they are all now required to buy lunch at school.  And yes, they are actually requiring any hungry child to spend money at the school.  I find myself doubting that this is even a theoretically moral issue – I feel like it’s probably financially motivated, because in this economy, I’m sure people weren’t buying school lunches when they could bring their own.  So the school increased their lunch revenue.  Apparently, however, students (and their parents) are rebelling against this and kids are actually skipping lunch altogether – which I’m sure is just SOOOOOO healthy.

#2 – Wearing Prison Jumpsuits for Dress Code Violations

Yep, you read that right.  When your high school kid violates a dress code stipulation in Gonzales, TX, they have to wear a navy blue jumpsuit.  What makes it more ridiculous is that dress code violations include cargo pants, baggy pants and t-shirts.  Yep, pretty much every normal teenager will be forced into a jumpsuit.  At least they didn’t choose orange though – gotta give them credit for that.

The real kicker though?  Many of the students are intentionally violating the dress code so they can wear the jumpsuit!  Yep, this sounds effective…

#1 – Bad Behavior = Fines

Oh yes, your kindergartner will now be coming home not only with macaroni art and marker stains, but with tickets and fines for bad behavior.  And these are tickets from the police, not from the school – so you get to take your kid to juvenile court (by taking off of work), pay the ticket, and court costs, all because your 6-year-old was giggling with his friends and caused a disturbance.  And no, I’m not exaggerating, many of the tickets are being given to elementary school kids, so there’s no way to make them pay their own ticket, like you can do with your high-schooler who can get a job.

So this is really punishing the parents for behavior that they have no direct control over.  Because I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I cussed at school.  And it wasn’t because my parents were bad, it’s because I was a teenager, and that what teenagers do.

This is legislating morality – and seeing as that worked so well with Prohibition, I’m sure this kind of policy will prove to be successful (/end sarcasm)

Oh, and don’t forget that this places more of a burden on our already overtaxed courts and police departments.

Yep, all of these policies seem destined to be highly “effective”.  Seriously, has everyone lost their minds?

Here is my overarching solution to all of the issues – PERSONAL AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.

TADA!  You’re welcome for solving these problems with a minimum of cost.