Active Shooter in the making?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by RobM727, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. RobM727

    RobM727 New Member

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    Dec 12, 2019

    Have a 4th grade SPED student in a Gen-Ed class with 27 other students.
    He has threatened to shoot everyone multiple times, staff and students alike, has looked up real guns on his Chromebook, and has recently just brought a gun replica (that makes real shooting noises) to school.
    Several other teachers and I have reported this to the Principal, the student’s parent, the student’s counselor, the student’s TOR, the head of the SPED department, and Department of Child Services (on several occasions).
    The student is tardy everyday, will not work in class, rips up assignments, disrupts the other students, calls them names, and slams desks and chairs around.
    My union got involved and the student is now being checked in the morning with a metal detecting wand, but that is the only action that has been taken.
    The student has never been suspended, expelled, reprimanded, or otherwise. In fact, my Principal recently came down and asked that I not send the student to the Principal’s office anymore because he belongs in the “least restrictive environment.” That instead of following the disciplinary steps the rest of the class is subject to, his punishment will be not getting a reward (because if this student chooses to complete a task they get a piece of candy, so they just wouldn’t get the candy). That when they uses terms like “I’m going to shoot you all until I run out of ammo.” I should just remind them that they can’t talk like that.
    Am I suppose to then just let the student not do work, prevent others from doing work, and threaten lives without any real repercussions?
    If the idea is to include the student in a gen-ed classroom, shouldn’t they be held to the same standard as the rest of the students?
    Does having an IEP allow a student to not have to play by the rules?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 12, 2019

    Definitely have a second talk with your union. At the end of each day, grab his computer and take screen shots of the browser history. Document, document, DOCUMENT.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I have a sneaking suspicion that what is in the IEP will eventually change/add to whatever the behavioral problems/classification are currently in the IEP. A student such as the one you are describing will most likely end up in an all SPED school for students with rather significant behavior problems. Unfortunately, there are very few of these that are equipped to deal with elementary students. Even middle school instruction for these children is less common than high school instruction, but there are more of these restrictive environment schools adding more instruction for these younger students. I would think that a child such as the one you are talking about should have a therapist on board, but the CST has to request and fund that option. Least restrictive environment that meets the child's needs and deals with their problems - that is actually how it is written. If the child's needs are not being met, then the environment isn't actually correct for that child. The school means "within our district because we are not going to pay to send him to a school that will meet his needs but cost us a lot of money." Just my humble opinion, of course. If this child gets in trouble and the legal system becomes involved, things may change, but that is out of your hands.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    The school should be all over that, and it should be banned, just as a real gun would be. Better find out if it is metal, if they are only searching for metal products.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    No. Technically, that is breaking the rules for least restrictive environment and FAPE. Some schools will actively avoid seeing it that. All too often inclusion means "we don't want to pay for services."

    When a student is included in a gen-ed classroom, they are absolutely supposed to be held to the same standard, just provided the services to help meet that standard.

    Last question: Nope. In fact, I'm aware of a few schools getting in huge trouble because they let a student "get away" with things. They seemed to honestly think they were helping the student, then the families freaked out.
     
  7. RobM727

    RobM727 New Member

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    It was plastic, and was given to the Principal immediately. This is what led to the wanding.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2019

    I can't speak about other states, but in NJ, for example, we are not allowed to hold their snack, nor are we allowed to reward with any kind of a food object, such as candy, or other junk food. The suggestion to document everything includes copies of work undone, pieces of work destroyed, any student names uttered in relation to the "shoot them all" talk, any staff names uttered in the same vein. When reminders that this is inappropriate talk and threats are given, be sure to document how he responds, and the totality of the threat, including any names specifically cited. If other students can't do their work because of this student, that needs to be written up, because someone is going to want to know why the other students are falling behind. If the principal doesn't want the child in his office, perhaps he would prefer to get these written documents. It might be worth asking him, as well as the CST. You can not document too much. The truth is that some children are more broken than others. Threats like the ones being uttered by your student shouldn't be tolerated - what your district will put up with may be more than you are able or willing to put up with. I would be surveying the job market.
     
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  9. RobM727

    RobM727 New Member

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    Dec 14, 2019

    UPDATE:

    Yesterday there was another incident where the student constructed a fake gun and pretended to shoot me. When asked “Is that how we act?” Their response was “This is what is about to really happen.”
    Several students saw this, so we had a discussion about safety. I asked the class if they felt safe, to which they replied “No.” I then asked who they should tell, they responded with, “A trusted adult.” I asked for examples, they came up with their teacher and THEIR PARENTS.
    Shortly after writing up an email to document, I was informed that parents had begun to contact the principal. An email response was sent out that the student will be suspended for two days with a case conference to follow.

    New question: I know retaliation is illegal, however I have a feeling that my admin is not going to be happy with me. Is there anything I should be worried about?
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Dec 14, 2019

    Actually, the administration may be very happy. Your administration may be held back in what he or she is allowed to do by direction from those above. When students and parents get involved, it gives the administration traction to do what is necessary.

    Just as you do things because it is required by administration, administrators do things that are required because of direction from above. They don't always agree with what they are doing but just as teachers go along with a lot of things to keep their jobs, so do administrators.

    There was a situation in our local school with a child who was talking about killing others so he could be in prison like a relative. It wasn't until the parents via students informing that the child received the needed help. It went beyond a suspension. The child was removed and given special support. Eventually the child came back to the school and after getting the help that was needed. So, I am hoping that you will have the same situation, but as you are concerned, you never know.

    I say document what happened and what you have done in the past. Keep that documentation off school property. Make a print out of emails that support what you have done, etc. No one can stop an administrator from retaliating until after they retaliate. Best to be prepared to show you did everything you were supposed to do to try to get help for the child or if you have documentation where you were directed to not do certain things that would have been helpful for the child.
     
  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Dec 14, 2019

    Safety is foremost in this or any similar situation.

    Alongside that, it seems that this student seems to have found a means to obtain a reaction. He doesn't know how to deal with his overall situation constructively, and so he successfully experiments with saying or doing things that cause an immediate reaction. Rewarding with candy (nicknamed M&M therapy in my day) changes the brain chemistry, probably in negative ways that will increase the problems that are leading to the abnormal behavior in the first place. (Not to be confused with the myth that candy makes kids hyper, but it does negatively effect the brain chemistry). Rewards also tend to decrease the student's desire to behave for socially acceptable reasons; he's behaving for the candy rather than for proper social decorum. Giving the student special treatment above what the rest of the class experiences can also increase the problem: if he's going to be treated differently, he's going to feel different and even excluded. Emphasizing the firearms threat, such as the metal detector just for him, overemphasizes this special tactic that he has discovered, and possibly will cause an increase in this negative action, but, as I mentioned to begin with, safety outweighs proper environmental conditions for this student. Another factor that probably is already occurring, the other students' parents are probably telling their kids (perhaps rightfully so) to avoid this student. This increases whatever problems he experiences internally that he outwardly expresses with violent actions.

    Back to the school shooter scenario, and hopefully this is further than this student will ever proceed, some research indicates that the student's own Internet usage and video game usage can increase the potential for an actual shooting to occur. Video games especially train kids to injure without hesitation. In the games, they often shoot for the head (as opposed to how a police person or soldier might need to aim a firearm). The games present shooting as being fun and exciting rather than, again, how a police person might use a firearm to protect others. I was shocked beyond belief when I browsed such games on sale at Walmart one day. In the summary on the package, the criminal behavior was even justified as the only possible solution to the plot of the game. Worse yet, the games sometimes promote the killings as a means for selfish gratification and enjoyment; this is the exact opposite of empathy, kindness, enjoyment as a group--everything we hope kids learn while growing.

    I remember when I was a kid...(we didn't have video games)...my friends and I were playing by throwing rocks at each other. My mom asked me to come inside for a second and she reminded me of how David killed Goliath with a stone, and suggested that we find a better game to play. I immediately told my friends what we'd talked about and they agreed that throwing stones was a bit too dangerous.

    Fast forward to 2019. This young boy--do his parents even realize that he's saying and doing such things? Hey! When I was 4 or 5, I had a toy cap gun, and the very first lesson my dad taught me was never ever point a gun, even a toy, at another person! Again, I'm 61, and I still remember that lesson. What's up with parents who encourage such encroachments by their son at the school????????

    And I'll bet his tardiness is a major factor in his negative behavior. I can picture his daily routine--parents screaming at him to hurry up, no time for breakfast--and bedtime, if it exists, is probably later than the teachers stay up. All of this blanks out the brain.

    Back to reality in the classroom, what can a teacher do. Probably the most important tool in the toolbox is the teacher's ears. This kid needs someone to listen to him. I'd recommend asking questions that show an interest in him, such as what kind of ice cream do you like? Or what's your favorite animal? He needs more than anything someone to listen to him. I agree with the above, too, he may need a special classroom, but for now, he needs a teacher to listen to him, and from what I gather, you are already providing this for him.
     
  12. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    There is so much wrong w/ this that I don't know where to begin. This should not be tolerated in public schools. 1. You're P is a chicken ___. He is pawning off his responsibility on you. Remind him that it says: LRE that THE STUDENT CAN BE SUCCESSFUL...The student is obviously NOT successful there. It makes me mad for the other 27 students and you who have to put up w/ this garbage. I am pretty sure food (candy) is not allowed to be w/held or given due to behavior throughout the US. As if this kid needs candy to begin w/. He needs a swift kick in the butt out the door imo. He should be in juvie for making threats like he has. The 1st time...This should not have been allowed to continue. I am so sorry you are dealing w/ this situation.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    "Removals of a student with a disability from the student's current educational placement for disciplinary reasons constitutes a change of placement if:
    1. The removal is for more than 10 consecutive school days; or
    2. The student is subjected to a series of short-term removals that constitute a pattern because they cumulate to more than 10 school days in a school year and because of factors such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and the proximity of the removals to one another. i. School officials in consultation with the student's case manager shall determine whether a series of short-term removals constitutes a pattern that creates a change of placement.
    (d) Disciplinary action initiated by a district board of education which involves removal to an interim alternative educational setting, suspension for more than 10 school days in a school year or expulsion of a student with a disability shall be in accordance with 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k), as amended and supplemented. (See chapter Appendix A.) However, the period of removal to an interim alternative educational setting of a student with a disability in accordance with 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k) shall be for a period of no more than 45 calendar days.
    (e) In the case of a student with a disability who has been removed from his or her current placement for more than 10 cumulative or consecutive school days in the school year, the district board of education shall provide services to the extent necessary to enable the student to progress appropriately in the general education curriculum and advance appropriately toward achieving the goals set out in the student's IEP. 51 1. When it is determined that a series of short-term removals is not a change of placement, school officials, in consultation with the student's special education teacher and case manager shall determine the extent to which services are necessary to enable the student to progress appropriately in the general curriculum and advance appropriately toward achieving the goals set out in the student's IEP. 2. When a removal constitutes a change of placement, and it is determined that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student's disability, the student's IEP team shall determine the extent to which services are necessary to enable the student to progress appropriately in the general curriculum and advance appropriately toward achieving the goals set out in the student's IEP.
    (f) In the case of a removal for drug or weapons offenses, or because the student caused a serious bodily injury under 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k) and its implementing regulations, at 34 CFR §§ 300.1 et seq., or a removal by an administrative law judge for dangerousness consistent with 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k) and its implementing regulations, at 34 CFR §§ 300.1 et seq., the district board of education shall provide services to the student with a disability consistent with 20 U.S.C. § 1415(k) and its implementing regulations, at 34 CFR §§ 300.1 et seq., incorporated herein by reference. However, the period of removal to an interim alternative educational setting of a student with a disability in accordance with 20 U.S.C. §1415(k) shall be for a period of no more than 45 calendar days."

    This is in NJ Code. Where I work, if a student threatens violence such are your student has, the police are called in, the student is suspended, and then there will be a determination meeting to determine if the student is, in fact, in the correct placement. Keep in mind, all our our students are already approved for a significantly more restrictive environment, or are court ordered. Even so, there are even more restrictive environments available.

    Once there is real consideration that the student is not in the best placement for their needs, there can be a manifestation meeting if the suspensions/removal from school meets certain criteria. I am going to list the same link that NJDOE lists, since it is well written for anyone who is interested in what the meeting is trying to decide and ascertain:
    https://www.wayneschools.com/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=10704&dataid=54027&FileName=Discipline and Manifestation Determination.pdf

    OP's student has just came on the radar with the suspension. If admin wants to consider a more restrictive environment for this student, the suspension sets the stage. I share this about NJ DOE's considerations in SPED. I can't believe that most states don't have something very similar. OP, this gives you the rationale for documenting everything, and continuing to do so. If violence escalates, if what could be creditable threats continue to be made, these things have to be documented, no matter how time consuming. Since your student is also threatening the lives of other students, you are tasked with making sure that you are their voice. Hopefully the parents won't think that 2 days of suspension will stop this student and will, therefore, stay involved in what their students may share at home about what is happening at school.

    Sadly, your job isn't finished yet. Keeping detailed records may save your job if admin wishes to retaliate.
     
  14. ThatWouldBeBaaaaad

    ThatWouldBeBaaaaad Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2020

    Absolutely, 100%, THIS, above. :clapping: What you're describing, RobM727, is blatant negligence on the school's part. And this student couldn't be any more blatant in their cries for help. The school is still pretending they don't see/hear those cries? Negligence, unaccountability, and, frankly: an astonishing disregard for the safety of every child and adult in your school.
    Please understand: I experienced a school shooting. And that's all I'll say about it, but please remain assured: school administrators and liaisons and behaviorists must have uncomfortable and often ostracizing mandatory meetings with parents of at-risk students ... because its. their. JOB. Their job is not the winning of a popularity contest, and is (believe it or not) part of the reason their salaries are above a certain range: there's monetary "compensation," if you will, for being "the bad guy" - and that includes being "the bad guy" who's willing to acknowledge that their school is simply unable to meet a particular child's needs, and that funds must be spent on another facility or program that can.
    A public school district is responsible for the education of every one of its citizens under the age of eighteen (and, in some cases, twenty-two). If that means including the resources of a different district, then that's "what it is."
    God bless you for continuing to try and do what's right. Our kids are safer because of people like you.
     
  15. ThatWouldBeBaaaaad

    ThatWouldBeBaaaaad Rookie

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    Maybe. I don't really know and am sorry I'm not more helpful. But I just wanna and gotta say:
    :clapping:GOOD.
    :clapping:FOR.
    :nose:YOU.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That was not retaliation. You did nothing to the child because of his actions. You did nothing to the family because of his actions. You covered proper school instruction. If you feel unsafe you tell a trusted adult.
     
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You win 10,000 internets!
     
  18. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I would also be calling Children’s Services, because all of the other students in your room are in danger, and likely afraid. Many people have the mistaken notion that these calls are only made when something happens outside of school, but this is not true.
     
  19. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Groupie

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    I do not think you should worry about retaliation as long as you keep your union updated and document. I used to get so sick of the word "document", but it is important. Email future disturbances to your P and let the union know too. Even though he won't reply probably in email, you have a trail. You have told him and gotten 0 response. He will probably try to respond in person with no witness. If you have any of these meetings, email him summarizing to clarify something like this: "I just wanted to clarify what we discussed about _____. You are advising me to withhold candy from him whenever he threatens to shoot us."
    If your P tries to "retaliate" in any way, shape, or form, have the union come to all of your meetings w/ him. He will get sick of the "heat" it puts on him for not doing the right thing real fast.
    I know 1 teacher who refused to meet w/ her P w/out the union present 1yr after having problems w/ that P. She got transferred at the end of the yr, but was 100x happier in her new school. I wish you the best and am sorry you have to deal w/ this garbage. I had something similar 1 yr.
     

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