Sunday, April 17, 2011

Parents must learn to advocate for their child's education

This letter is on the pjstar opinion page. It is my opinion that District 150 is too quick to track certain students (i.e. black boys) into special education classes. I would personally tell this mother to fight every attempt that the school is making to sideline her son. I would also encourage her or her husband to take some time off work, if at all possible and go to the school and observe what is happening in the classroom - that is the only way you will get any real answers. I know some teachers read this blog, what advice would you offer this parent:

"I have a 6-year-old boy who is in kindergarten this year. He was getting in trouble daily for talking, not following directions, silly stuff like being out of his seat. Then we got the questionnaire sent home to evaluate for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Really, six years old, first year of school and they think he has a learning disability already?

Our pediatrician feels that he doesn't have ADHD, just a little active and possibly a little immature. The conduct calendar was pretty much red after that. But then he started getting sent to the principal's office, three times a week for the most part.

But the latest trip really has me irritated with District 150. My son got into trouble - for what, who really knows because I don't - and was sent to the principal's office for two hours, which he spent sleeping. What kind of punishment is that? I feel like I'm getting the message that if your child is not behaving, we will just put them in the principal's office and forget about them. When did the teachers stop trying to do positive things with our children?

I have to work every day. I cannot be in school with my son. He does get disciplined every night and his toys do get taken away. My husband and I are really at our wit's end with this issue. Where do we go for help?"

Angela and Tyrone Johnson