Line in the sand

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherintexas, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Theres a situation at my school that is bad for all involved- the student, all the other students in the grade level, and all the staff in that hallway. The student is not mine so there may be relevant background information that might make a difference.

    There is a special ed student (and the fact that I know he is in sped is a problem in itself but it's not hard to figure out when the sped team is chasing him) who has repeatedly assaulted students and staff as well as disrupted all classes from the violent outbreaks in the hallway. One of my students has been targeted by this student and the student has reported bullying because of his ethnicity to campus admin as per our procedures. At least one other student was assaulted in the hallway. Two teachers were assaulted. He has run into random classrooms and tried to assault students or staff in that room. My students have asked me to keep the door locked and we only take restroom breaks when this child is not in the hallway. From what I've heard during the ruckus is that the student refuses to go into his assigned inclusion classroom and has meltdowns in the hallway.

    I'm not an official mentor to one of the teachers involved but she has asked for my help in knowing what to do next. She has asked twice in writing for an ARD but one has not yet been scheduled.

    I don't think the child's placement is the right one since my students are in danger because of his presence. I fear for my teammates' safety. I can't speak to his educational goals but he spends very little time in his inclusion room so you don't have to be a genius to figure out he isn't getting any educational lessons since they are focused on keeping him from hurting others.

    I am not in a union state but most of us are in a professional organization with legal help. I have considered calling to see what I can do to protect my kids. That was the only advice I know to offer my teammate. Call for legal advice since her requests locally have been ignored.

    Any other ideas? I feel for her and don't want her to leave teaching because of this one kid.
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I've had a similar student in the past, and what was most frustrating was that the meltdowns were part of the child's diagnosed condition, so it was really hard to do anything about it. While the team agreed that the placement was not the least restrictive environment, the parents disagreed with the team and involved lawyers. I was so relieved when the year finally ended!!

    I would venture to guess your school is in a similar situation, and I'm really not sure your union will be able to do anything.
     
  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    It's hard to know what the ARD team would decide as requests for an ARD have been ignored.
     
  5. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Oct 1, 2017

    If Admin is already aware of the current situation and they are not doing anything, tell the woman who asked for help to write down everything that she can remember that was physically aggressive and report it to the board.
     
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  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Last resort, which will not help in the present, but could be started now...When I had a child like that one year the police said to file assault charges. Even though the charges would have little consequence in the present, when the child got older there would be a paper trail which could be used to assign more serious consequences.
     
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  7. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    I would recommend, if somehow possible, an outside observer to become involved in order to include opinions that are not influenced by the staff that is already involved. Another possible method of doing so is to set up video cameras (which might be a nightmare in getting legal permission depending on state laws), but this would be an independent observation for the staff to use to obtain totally objective data. While viewing the video of how the student behaves, this data could provide useful ideas for redirecting the student's behavior or avoiding stimulus that might set him off. A teacher's memory of an event, even from several teachers in discussion, is often unintentionally influenced by emotion and influenced through the comments of others during the discussion: nothing can influence what's on the camera and previously undetected clues might be discovered.

    Meanwhile, I agree with you, the other students' and the staff's physical safety should be a priority! Surely, this student needs help, but it's not going to help him to seriously injure someone and then have that imbedded in his brain. Any serious harm that he inflicts will then become a new and more excitable stimulus towards further antisocial and anti-self behavior. In other words, the current situation is a lose-lose situation for the staff, students, and this particular student.

    I've seen this happen so often in many various situations. A student has difficulty and it is resolved with more of the same, more of what wasn't working in the first place. I've also seen an opposite solution applied to resolve situations, where a teacher purposefully keeps changing rules and procedures in order to purposefully be inconsistent. I even had a principal who requested teachers to do this. Inconsistency does sometimes make kids nervous enough to behave for awhile, but then they fall back into the same pattern until the teacher tries another new idea.
     
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  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Oct 1, 2017

    In our province, this could be considered a "Workplace Health and Safety" concern. We have a divisional rep that we could report this to.
     
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  9. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    This situation is disgusting. How many dozens of lives are to be endangered for the comfort and convenience of this one kid?

    The big hammer is calling the police, insisting they filing reports, and pressing charges. The police will not cater to his placement or IEP. The police have jurisdiction in criminal matters that outweigh your local bureaucracies. Thank god for that.

    Honestly, if the kid assaults anyone, the police should be involved and reports filed at the very least. Otherwise your district is putting a legal noose around its neck that will eventually pull tight. This kid will hurt someone's child, someone with the sense to hire a lawyer and make the district pay. The district won't be able to hide behind least restrictive environment and IEPs at that point.

    This child's placement is improper, because it places others in eminent physical danger. Everyone outside your district will see it that way. The courts will see it that way.

    Everything this kid does should be put into a single document and presented to district administration at regular intervals—every week, for instance. Include recommendations for placement or requests for support. This shifts a degree of legal responsibility from teachers to those paid more to shoulder such things. This information needs to be in writing, that there is no confusion at some later point as to what was known, who knew it, and when.

    I realize I'm rambling a bit. I'll be more deliberate.

    Contact your professional organization and request legal support immediately.

    Document everything and submit that documentation at least weekly, with requests for a change of placement or additional staff. No one can accuse her of overstepping her bounds this way, and it alleviates some of her legal responsibility. Even if she doesn't submit weekly updates, maintain a running record of everything this kid does, staff responses, and any requests made to the district for support. Sooner or later, the courts will become involved, and administrators are very good at pointing the finger down the chain of command.

    If the district continues to stonewall efforts to maintain a safe environment, someone will have to put her neck on the line and call police when the kid assaults someone. Districts have a way of punishing staff who rock the boat and fail to support ineptitude, so this is a risk. Legally, the risk to the district is substantial were they to retaliate against someone for calling the police, but...the world is largely full of idiots.
     
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  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    It"s least restrictive environment that meets the needs of the child. This environment is NOT meeting the needs of the child because the behavior issues have not been met. In this child's case, he would be better served in a program designed to deal with EBD students. To try and keep a violent child in a mainstream environment will not teach him what he needs to learn about impulse control. I should know - I work with the older version of the student in question, and I have seen how this kind of impulse control and violent tendencies brings this kind of student to my kind of school.

    Why isn't this child looking for a placement in a more appropriately restrictive environment? Because going out of district costs more when you add tuition and transportation costs. Since money talks, file police charges for all assaults, and when the threat of legal action becomes a reality, the school will start looking for a school that truly meets this child's needs. If this is simply a matter of being in inclusion, then spending all day in a self contained classroom may make so much more sense. Fear of physical violence should not be the burden that the other students take home with them each day.
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Oct 1, 2017

    We have such a student in our grade. He has been moved to full-time one-on-one. While our school is trying to put together a behavior unit for emotionally disturbed kids, this kid and his family are currently in counseling for options at our school/moving to a different school with different resources. (We're a charter, so we really don't have other schools to automatically send him to.)

    I remember reading years ago another thread (maybe city-data?) Teachers and parents eventually called the police in several different cases after assaults. Amazing what the school was able to do after police and lawyers were involved.
     
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  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    I think the police were called for one of the teacher assaults, but I don't know if charges were filed. I would have.

    There is an aide available but he isn't just for that student. There are other students who need inclusion support but they aren't getting help as the aide has to stick to the violent kid like glue.

    She is documenting everything. And taking a copy of it home so it doesn't disappear. I've advised her to print off any emails she has sent in case they disappear off the network.

    I'm even documenting the times I hear screaming and banging out in the hallway and the times the kids ask me to lock the door because they are scared. And I don't even have the kid.

    I believe kids labeled as having special education needs have rights to an education and should be in a general ed classroom as much as possible. I also believe that one student should not be allowed to hold one hundred people hostage on a daily basis. I hope the admin at my school will finally grant these teachers an ARD and try to get him placed in an environment where he can get an education and also allows every other child to get one as well.
     
  13. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    This student kept coming to my mind all day yesterday. If intervention is possible, here are some ideas I had.

    To start with, this is an example of the Hans Christian Anderson story, The Ugly Duckling, howbeit in this case, the duckling's behavior truly is ugly and, as mentioned, dangerous. Because the other students and their parents now perceive him as the ugly duckling, he can never gain social acceptance, which will only increase his antisocial behavior. This is not to fault the other students and their parents; their fear is justified. This fear is a learned response, just as a scientist's lab rat might learn to fear a bell when it is associated with an electric shock. I'm wondering if it would help for the students to relearn their judgment of this student. (Although I agree with the above, he needs to be in a different placement, but assuming he might stay in the same placement), the obvious goal is for this student to change, and hopefully he does. In the meantime, the students (and staff) need to learn to accept him for who he is and accept him when he does change for the better. Currently, that involves locking the door and staff intervention, and unfortunately it currently might involve students avoiding him to avoid violent encounters. What I'm trying to say is that empathy might be a better viewpoint than enmity, better for all parties involved. I'm wondering if it might be appropriate for classes to view and discuss the old Danny Kaye film, Hans Christian Anderson. The film has a rather poignant retelling of The Ugly Duckling story, and the entire film portrays Anderson beginning as an ugly duckling himself only later to be recognized as the swan. Once this child recovers, he is going to need a friend, perhaps even an older student as a mentor.

    A second thought I had. Unconventional behavior often requires unconventional intervention. I wonder if someone would be available to begin each day and perhaps intervene several times each day with some deep breathing relaxation exercises, perhaps even including visualizing himself reacting positively in what he perceives as amygdala activating circumstances. Because most if not all behaviors are the result of multiple causes, perhaps other possible causes outside of school should be investigated. I'm especially thinking of diet. The obvious triggers such as red food coloring might need to be eliminated, but also a plant based diet might be more brain healthy for this child. (Quick reminder, he is a child, not a demon). I'm also wondering if after school activities might be strengthening his lower brain responses and deactivating his upper brain; sometimes such children are videotized by TV or video games for hours after school. Sometimes tweaking the child's music habits can be beneficial; too much hard metal (or whatever it's called now-a-days) might possibly be replaced with classical music or jazz. In fact, the more I think about it, jazz seems to be a great addition for today's children's musical repertoire; it has an even snappier beat than most modern stuff and catchy melodies, especially music from the swing era. (You know, it's hard to beat somebody up when you have Fascinating Rhythm dancing through your head). A further thought, I personally would avoid a reward system to alter his behavior temporarily; he needs a permanent change, and he needs to learn proper social skills, not learn to gain prizes.

    Just some thoughts I had yesterday and this morning.
     
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  14. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Still no ARD scheduled. Assaulted another student today.
     
  15. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Can't you call the police on this student? He's assaulting other students, which is clearly against the law. Not only that, but the faculty are responsible for the safety of the students. To even let this student enter the school seems to be professional negligence.

    You have a duty to provide a safe environment for your students. yet the police have yet to get involved?

    Why not just call the police?
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Whether it should or not, it looks really bad for the teacher to call police.

    Much better results would be had from the parents of the assaulted students filing police reports. Parents calling police normally means immediate action.

    It's a tricky situation, but if there's a way to plant that idea with parents without actually coming out and recommending they file a report, that could be an effective plan of action.
     
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  17. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Why would it look bad? You don't have just one very violent student, but many students who are there to get an education.

    Looking bad? From what I am reading here, there is an extremely violent person being allowed onto the school, who everybody knows is violent. And the teachers do nothing?

    That's not just merely looking bad. That's looking like criminally negligent.

    Don't you have a professional (and perhaps legal as well) duty to provide a safe environment for your students?

    In this thread, I'm being told that American teachers are not allowed to create a safe educational environment for their students because it looks bad. Yet, in another thread, I am being told that teachers can't take restroom breaks during a class because they have a responsibility to... manage their class?

    You realize, of course, the mixed signals that I am getting here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I don't mean that it's a bad thing for a teacher to do. However, a principal might not appreciate it (again, wrong or not) and may take it as a sign that the teacher can't manage her own classroom. So, yeah, I agree with what you're saying on a moral level, but in an effort to keep one's job, it may not be the first course of action. Sure, firing a teacher for calling the cops would be a lawsuit waiting to happen, and that probably wouldn't be listed as the direct reason. It could get a teacher on a principal's bad side and lead him/her to dissect every single little thing the teacher does until the principal can find an unrelated reason to quickly fire the teacher or prove them incompetent.
     
  19. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    From what you say, you are going to risk students being violently assaulted in order to keep your job.

    I think the moral issue is crystal clear in this situation. The bit about wanting to keep your job is understood, but...

    Sorry, but I just can't agree. I would rather lay bricks then stay in a situation where I knew the students entrusted to my care were going to be violently assaulted because I wanted to keep my job.

    At least laying bricks is an honorable profession.
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    The police have been involved in the previous assaults.

    This student is not my student and I did not witness it. I don't know if the police were called this time.

    I agree that this child should be in a different placement but I don't have the power to do anything to change this. I think admin is afraid of doing anything since he is sped, but that is just a guess on my part.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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