The Principal might as well have said that today when I went to ask some hard questions. As you may or may not recall, A came home from school yesterday with cup hook screws. It was difficult to sleep last night let alone maintain my cool this Morning when I spoke with school administration about my concerns. While I will never send A to school in bubble-wrap, it all boiled down to lack of supervision in the classroom of which I maintained I felt was unacceptable. I toured the classroom again looking for the fire alarm A spoke of and found that it was within a child’s reach. Said fire alarm was also on a wall beside the door.
The principal, D.F., was quick to sympathize but the notorious “there are over 30 students in A’s classroom” line reared its ugly head. It was irritating to hear but better than the “we have 1.5 Special Needs Assistants for 800 students” line we usually hear from E.S., Vice Principal. I maintained that while I sympathize that teachers have to pay attention to every student, it is imperative that children with Special Needs get adequate amount of supervision and an inclusive education – there was no excuse for A to come home with scratches from other students with no written explanation or even worse, coming home with dangerous objects he found in the classroom.
“We will look into it when N.A., teacher, returns on Monday and I will contact you sometime next week.” It was the response I expected. I hate to sound pessimistic but I have a feeling the school will blame A rather than placing the blame where it truly belongs:
At Board level (TDSB) for knowingly delaying families from receiving the supports that they deserve and are mandated by Provincial and Federal law – support that can enable the teacher with more skills to truly reach A and take pressure off
At the Provincial level for failing to invest more in hiring qualified teachers to reduce class sizes and truly ensure that every child is reached
Children are our future; education and keeping them safe at our schools should be our priority.
Cup Hook Screws in their hand? Mine did this afternoon. We recently hired a walking buddy for A so that I can rest for the two weeks remaining in my pregnancy. His walking buddy dropped A off as usual and handed me two screws. By that time, A’s behavioural therapist had arrived for a scheduled block therapy appointment. I thanked his walking friend profusely and we said our goodbyes.
A told BT and I that he found them on the fire alarm and that N. A. (teacher) asked him not to touch the fire alarm but didn’t take it away. I asked him if he pulled them from the wall and he said no. Observing the thread area of the screw, I could not see any evidence that he did either. I rephrased all my questions and asked new ones to see if his answers would change. They had not.
This is not the first instance where A has not been supervised. On Feb 1st, 2012, N.A. asked me where he got the scratch under his eye. I responded and stated firmly that A did not leave the house with any scratches and did not enter the classroom with them either. A told me that a specific classmate scratched him and stated that they were both being mean to each other.
Other instances occurred in January as I personally observed A outside his classroom door. I made a few unannounced visits and peeked through the window to see A playing with a green train or other objects near the bookshelves while the other children sat in the circle. I noted that the teacher had not been using ideas given to her by us such as giving A a special place with his name on it, a cushion or having the EA redirect and sit on the carpet with him. In fact, the EA was not in sight for most of my viewings. A’s gym teacher Mr. O also admitted in the Behavioural Logs that he gave A a train to play with on several occasions so that he can teach Phys Ed to the rest of the children.
Class sizes in our province need to be reduced so that teachers have more time to focus on our children and reach every child. Parents should not have to fight to get Special Education supports that will assist their children in receiving an equal education. Nor should they have their children bringing home screws that could have harmed them or other children.
I’m not sure. I wrote back in A’s Behavioural log tonight for the third time about the class’ Borrow a Book program. Essentially, your child chooses three books and gets to read them at home for two days. Afterwards, they return them and receive three new books from the classroom. It’s a great way to get kids reading alone and with parents as well as an excellent way to teach responsibility (that they can grasp).
A has not received his books or the book bag since the Holiday Break. Our family has been borrowing books from the Public Library and consulting our own library to compensate for the lack of books. Friday night, I inquired about the program and why A was not receiving any books. I had to ask my spouse to read the notes sent home today because it was illegible and clearly written in a rush. We gathered that he had a “bad” day according to the School but no mention of the Book bag.
From the Behavioural Logs being filled out minutes prior to dismissal (and backpack being completely open) to A not being a part of the book program, I can’t help but feel like A is being left out.