Since this thing just keeps getting more and more ridiculous, I figured it was time that I just laid out the entire story from start to finish in one place.
Last year when it got time to start thinking about Em’s placement for this year, I started questioning another mom whose child had moved into the 2nd/3rd combo class. The story I was hearing was frightening. The teacher was not at all cooperative, gave up quite easily if the child was one with issues staying focused, and honestly, just sounded wacky.
In the beginning, I was taking things with a grain of salt. This particular child had been in Em’s class the prior year and I was well aware of his behavior. To say he was challenging would be putting it kindly. I listened, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “well, I get being frustrated with him, so maybe it isn’t that bad”.
I started talking with the aides in Em’s class and her teacher. I heard not one positive thing about this teacher. While always being very careful to not say anything horribly negative, they made it quite clear that she was “a different breed of teacher”. When Emily’s teacher approached her about Em transitioning to her class, the instructor uttered these words: ” That is the Down syndrome girl? My aides aren’t equipped to handle her pull ups, so therefore, I will move to have her transferred.”
With those words, Ms. Z said no way and the decision was made to keep Em and two other children in her class and do second grade work in that setting. One parent decided to proceed forward with the new class and that left Em and her BFF in with Ms. Z. I knew last year that the two aides were not happy about it. They felt they should be transferred to another school to a “moderate/severe” placement. Ms. Z declined and thus, here we are today.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine these two women that have been with Em since Kindergarten would turn out to be her two biggest obstacles. Emily and I did everything we were supposed to do this summer. We worked hard on learning the cues of when she had to stool and two weeks before school started, she had it down. We never looked back thinking all this nonsense was done.
Day one went fine and then the perfect storm hit. Ms. Z had to take eight days off for medical reasons and the sub they brought in was the bitch that likes to throw around the R word in front of myself and my daughters. I wasn’t happy, but I kept hearing Ms. Z was due back on this day and then it was that day and before I knew it, she was gone for eight days.
My options were severely limited. I couldn’t allow Emily to miss eight days of school and trying to talk with the principal about my concerns regarding the sub went unheard. I just hoped that the aides would keep her safe and Ms. Z would return so life could go back to normal. Never have I been so wrong about something.
Now, not only am I hearing “when she soaks through her undies” (NEVER happened) and “we all know she will be placed in moderate/severe somewhere down the road” (Um, I don’t know shit about that) I just want to scream. Today I was told she had regressed since last year. Okay, in all honesty, how the hell would you know? You were with her the first day of school and didn’t come back until last Friday. You were absent more than you have been with her, so perhaps she is just being like every other eight year old back in school and seeing how far she can push things.
Today the whole hair situation seriously pushed me right over the cliff. I was told that “her hair gets in the way when I try and place a sticker on her shirt, so she needs to have her hair pulled back daily”. Okay, I will totally admit that Em has a hair thing. She HATES it off her shoulders. Whereas I like mine behind me off my shoulders, Em insists hers cascades down over hers. Does it get in her way when she looks down? Yes. Does it make me crazy? Yes. Am I going to cut it? Hell no.
I won’t cut hers for the same reason that Caleb has this ridiculous blonde streak in his. It is their hair and within reason, they are allowed to wear it as they like. Yes, I can put Em’s hair up, but I promise you that by the time I drop her off, it will be either all the way down or well on its way to being down.
I really feel that this is just a way to push her out of the class. The pull up issue didn’t work so now lets say her hair is “impending her ability to work” and see what happens. Honestly, what next? Her shorts are disrupting the focus of the little boys and therefore she must wear a parka?
I hate what this is doing to my beauty queen. Today I came early and she was at recess. Instead of running and playing, she was sitting on the play structure alone. This is not typical of her. She loves to run and play and she is a shell of herself while she is there. The other day she actually said to me “Mommy, I sorry” when I took her to the bathroom and she had a small amount of stool in her panties. I almost cried sitting on the edge of the bathtub.
My heart is breaking and I know the only thing I can do is pull the lawyer card or remove her from the school. I’m not ready to concede her remaining in special education for the remainder of her school career. She deserves the least restrictive environment and this is far from what she is getting.
As for tomorrow, I have no intentions of putting her hair up unless Emily is okay with me doing so. I also need to email her teacher (again) and discuss the difference of what she is being told and what is actually happening in regards to her pantie issue. The aides are changing her out of completely clean panties and placing her in the extra pairs I send daily and apparently telling the teacher she has had multiple accidents.
I have one job right now and that is to be her advocate. Time to put the boxing gloves on and go kick some ass. You have messed with my beauty queen and I won’t stand quietly to the side.
Wish me luck. I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do, but I do know that the days of Emily being singled out are over.