Monday, October 8, 2012

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No Talking Allowed!

One of the first things we learn as children in school is that there are rules. Rules, that presumably will keep us safe, encourage us to be kind to our friends, to share, to show respect by being quiet while others are speaking. These are all good and necessary things for a child to learn.

On Friday, I was making the rounds to three different teachers at our elementary school for various reasons - not the least of which being my monsters- and I stopped in to the Pre-K classroom on my way out, hoping to be able to speak with that teacher as well. Fridays are no school days for preschool. I was happy to find the teacher there, working on the next week's lessons, and able to talk with me for a few minutes.

During the course of our impromptu meeting about my little Logan monster, who has suddenly begun hating school to the point of begging to stay home, tears and sobbing, and screaming meltdowns every. single. day., she asked if I knew that I wasn't supposed to be talking to our para. Apparently, the para showed our beloved Miss P some paperwork she received during her training that  states parents are only to talk to the teacher, never the para. The teacher will then let the para know of any changes in meds, routine, therapies, or strategies. I was floored. Absolutely stunned. Flummoxed, even. (Flummox: transitive verb, meaning confused, according to Merriam-Webster.) And I wasn't the only one. Miss P was just as confused by it all as I was, and still am.

Here's the deal. Miss P teaches three pre-k classes Monday through Thursday, back to back. Literally. They are scheduled so close together, that one class is leaving through the back door while the next class is coming in. There is so much going on during drop-off (and the previous class leaving at the same time), that I never, and I do mean never, ever get the chance to speak to her. I have to talk to the para, or there would be no updating possible. And yet, according to the training our para received, that's a BIG no-no.

What. The. $%&* ?!?!?! So, basically, last week when I told the para about Logan's new seizure status, that was a no-no. When I told her that I was watching a welt on his face because I wasn't sure it was an allergic reaction, or that yes, he has had meds today, that was a no-no. When I brought my twinnies in late last Thursday because Logan was having a meltdown when school started, I wasn't supposed to tell her that, either. When he came to school with a black eye because he ran into #2's elbow, and I told her about it, WRONG thing to do. Ditto any talk of lack of the twinnies' sleep, pottying issues, or emotional distress. Don't ask how she's doing, don't say you like her hair, earrings, or shoes. And for the love of little green apples, do NOT approach her to tell her thank you for the great job she is doing.

In this case, it isn't the children that should be seen and not heard, it's the parents. Someone explain this to me, please. I have never, ever, EVER been told this before. Not last year while working with our previous para, not this year while the para was being trained, not during any of the many meetings we had with the school district, title 1, the district nurse, and the principal between this year and last year. Not  by any other special needs parent I have ever spoken to. So. How did this come to be? How does this even make sense? And why was I just told about it? Well... I can answer that last one.  We were talking about Logan, and the teacher explained that the para may appear to be stand-offish from now on, and this is why.

NOT OKAY, people with power! NOT OKAY! Think about it. How much will be forgotten before it is passed on to a para? How much will be lost in translation? How many kids who have severe needs will wind up having avoidable incidents, because the parent isn't allowed to speak to the para directly? I am ranting, yes. This is stupid, stupid, STUPID.

So really.. someone explain it to me. I need to know why this is even an issue. I need to know why I now I have to call yet another meeting to raise yet another nine kinds of hell this year so that our team is all on the same page and actually acting like.... a team. This is getting tiresome. I just want to be able to communicate with the para that works directly with my special needs children, rather than expecting an already harried teacher to remember everything I tell her, and/or pass notes to someone who is standing right there but "not allowed" to speak to me. Is that so FREAKING much to ask?

Rules image via the Google by  North Forest Independent School District
No talking sign via the Google by Ninja Novelty Signs
Parents seen and not heard via the Google by Flickr

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