Followed by selected responses from Project NoSpank readers.
January 12, 2003
Although my son is not being physically abused by teachers in his school we have had to fight the bathroom policy. I finally won that one, because I have made it clear that my son will use the restroom when ever he needs to, and if he is stopped I will report them for abuse. But I am still battling another issue. my son uses an asthma inhaler. The school district allows him to use it with a signed concent form from the doctor that was also signed by the principal, the nurse and myself. the nurse also has in her possession a document from the doctor stating that my son will use his inhaler up to 6 times in an emergency while waiting for medical attention. He is to use it 4 times before the nurse needs to call 911. well, not only has the nurse decided that he is not allowed to take 6, but that he must go home if he uses it 4 times, and calls me almost daily to take him home, meaning that I must leave work to do so. She is not the worst of his problems though. there is another teacher who humiliates him in class about having ADD, and OCD. She tells him that inspite of the doctors and neurologist diognosis that he CAN help the symtems he exhibits and that he is faking it. That when he says he doesnt understand the math lesson he is lying, and now to add insult to injury she decided friday that she does not want him bringing his inhaler to class. My son, whom I have raised to stand up to bullies, told her that he would be bringing his inhaler and that she needed to read the contract signed by the principal. After looking at the signed contract, she said, " well, ok, but you have to check with me first before you use it, for permission to use it."
I've had conferences with the teacher, the principal and the school councelor. nothing has worked. The school councelor's advice was that my son would have to deal with people like this teacher all his life, so he should learn to live with it!
I spoke to the assistant super intendant of schools, and she said she would have the district nurse talk to this teacher but that was before the new update on friday about her saying that my son has to check with her first before he is allowed to use his inhaler. I know that a " talk" from a district nurse is not going to change this woman's evil nature. is there any legal rights that my son has? thank you for taking the time to read this letter-
January 24, 2003
My heart goes out to you.
When I read your letter, my chest sank. I experienced everything you experienced and more.
My son suffers from Asthma, ADD, and Dyslexia. Even though he is extremely bright; these disabilities cause a lot of trauma in his life due to these horrid kinds of people.
They tried to cast him to the side educationally and only kept him for the head count checks. They had an on-call school nurse for the whole city. (Call the hospital; they'll send her over.) But my son was continually having attacks, suffering from fatigue, dehydration and nose-bleeds. He was sent out in extreme wind, dirt and desert heat against my wishes. Given foods he was allergic to. Told he was never to speak unless spoken to. He was given pieces of paper with a frown on it if he smiled or laughed.(Threatened with disciplinary action if they added up by months end.) I was told that children needed this for conditioning. Come again? They were going to tell me how they believe my child should be. What happened to individuality? He was not allowed to use the bathroom except at recess. He was not allowed to drink water ( essential in care of Asthma). He was poked with a blackboard Pointer in his back for writing his name backwards and being to slow on his timed assignments. (Bruises I clearly pointed out to the joint teachers and Principal.) All this was maximized after the "Conditioning" discussion.
The Principal asked me not to remove him and he could stay home when he was sick with homework I could pick up. He refused to change the medication contract the included the parent were not allowed,even when called, to administer medication to their child. There would still be no school nurse. AND my child would not receive any special treatment for his learning disability. His teachers agreed and said as far as the Asthma goes; they didn't need to learn anything. My son should handle it himself. He was 5 years old!
In essence, nothing at school would change. BUT I could keep him out of site (and out of mind) during sickly times...with their permission.
I said in reply, "Then I should Home School him. " My son and I left.
He is still traumatized at 9 years old; regardless of all the help from the medical community. It has changed a once shiny boy into a frightened, untrusting, anxiety ridden child. This has intensified the disabilities he already had. He is slowly making progress to regain his confidence and inner piece. He will get there.
For four years I have been struggling to gain the right to Home School my children with opposition from the state. (Letters threatening actions against me if I go ahead.)
The past four years have been spent in Independent Studies. (Not the place for Learning Disabled Children.) But I intend to proceed to Home School my children in Fall 2003, regardless.
As a friend recently reminded me, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention." And I have a great motivation. LOVE
In June 2003, I will have certification for teaching children with dyslexia and similar disabilities.
They can't take your power if you don't let them. YOU are the PARENT. YOU have all the rights.
California Mother of 4 and a SurvivorJanuary 24, 2003
Jordan, for the Mom with the son who has asthma, she probably has already done so, but the first step should be to have a clearly worded letter from the childís doctor stating that he must use the inhaler 6 times a day. She should ask the doctor to sign the letter personally so it wonít look like a stock letter from the staff. (My sons had asthma when they were younger and both had to use it 4 times a day to PREVENT attacks. What many people donít understand it that this keeps the bad attack from happening, it isnít always a sign of immediate distress.) The doctor should be informed of the situation with the school and that should be put in the childís records at the doctorís office. Preferably the doctorís letter to the school should include notification that a note about the school preventing appropriate medical treatment at school is in the childís records.
She should send this letter to everyone at the school- nurse, principle, teacher, etc. This will just provide documentation.
If this doesnít change things, if it were me, Iíd invest in one visit to an attorney and have him or her draw up a letter and send it to the appropriate people warning of further action if the child is not permitted to have appropriate medical care during the school day. Let the attorney know that all of this is documented in the childís medical file. This is a potentially life-threatening situation, and a legal remedy is not unreasonable. She will probably never have to do anything further once this step has been taken.
KellieJanuary 24, 2003
I find Sheri B's situation quite appalling...
The actions of these people will exacerbate her son's condition and their obvious neglect of him could lead to fatal consequences.
I wish her well and the strength to fight this gross lack of professionalism.
G. P., London, EnglandJanuary 24, 2330
Counsel might want to check the statutes regarding "unlicenced practice of medicine," probable cause might exist to sue or even arrest the teacher.
BillJanuary 14, 2003
Re: the letter from Sheri, I have but two things to say - 1) document everything in writing and 2) find a good lawyer. It is likely that this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and she probably has multiple grounds to sue.
With regards to her son, she will need to constantly reinforce that he has not done anything wrong, that this is not his fault, that this is not fair and that she is going to do everything in her power to try to make this situation better.
Let me know if I can be of more help. This whole situation not only is flagrant discrimination, it is child abuse.
MadyJanuary 12, 2003
May I send your letter to the NoSpank list and invite responses? I can ask respondents to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward the mail to you. That will protect you from crazies who will email you insults in order to teach you a lesson. You are doing the right thing by protecting your child from the adult bullies. The reason they fight you is because the example you present makes them recognize that their parents were cowards who failed to protect them when they were little and that they are cowards who fail to protect their own children. That drives them up the wall. As for the counselor's suggestion that your son should learn how to handle unreasonable adults, exactly how does he propose that your boy should do that? There should be absolutely no question about access to an inhaler. I remember a case in Australia in which the kids on a school bus tossed a asthmatic boy's inhaler out of the window "just for fun." The boy died on the bus ride home. When big bullies play petty power games over an inhaler, that sends a dangerous signal to the little bullies. This isn't a game.
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