Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Exhausted, Stunned, Angry

I am exhausted.  And stunned.  And angry.

Sometimes, there are things I can't write funny about.  This is one of them. Remember the time my first grade daughter had water withheld (the entire grade, actually), for being "too noisy" at recess?  Remember how I was able to (angrily) joke about it?  Ain't happening this time.

On Thursday morning, my almost-ten-year-old daughter Cookie took the wrong prescription psychiatric medication. Instead of her morning Zoloft, she took her bedtime Clonidine, which she refers to as the "Super Loopers." 

By mid-morning, based on the way she felt, she realized what had happened.  She told her teacher that she thought she had taken the wrong medication that morning, and asked to go to the nurse.

The teacher said no.

I know.  You're like, wait, what?  It. Gets. Worse.

Cookie explained that she thought she had taken a Clonidine, a prescription medicine that helps her go to sleep at night, instead of the Zoloft she normally takes.  And that if anything ever went wrong with her medication, she was supposed to go to the nurse, so that I could be called.

The teacher said, "I believe you.  I just don't think the nurse would send you home for something like that."

I have absolutely no idea how Cookie got through the rest of the day, but she did.  When I picked her up from school, she was slurring her words. 

One doctor's appointment, one temporary medication adjustment, and 48 hours of careful observation later, her body was back in balance.  She's fine now.  We've taken steps at home to make sure this doesn't happen again.  There is now a big sun on the morning med, and a moon and stars on the evening med.

I feel terrible that this happened in the first place, because it makes me question our decision to give Cookie this level of independence.  Cookie is almost ten, and is a very smart, responsible girl.  I make sure she takes her medications, but she is the one who takes them.  I want her to have that responsibility because in all likelihood, she will be dealing with anxiety for the rest of her life.  She needs to feel like she has some control over that.

The Pork Lo Maniac's medication, on the other hand, I dose out.  She has ADHD, and hence, is less interested in details like what to take, and when.  Also, her medication is a controlled substance.  It's speed, actually. So that one, I dose out.  Every time, no exceptions.

But Cookie, I still believe, is able to have more independence in her mental health care.  So although we have made some changes, she is still the one taking her own medication.  She made a mistake that I could have made.  Mistakes happen.  And while this particular mistake happened at home, it was at school that she was denied medical care.

Coming on the heels of the water incident, I'm not feeling confident that this school can take care of even the most basic human needs of my children.

I'm terrified.  What's next?  I couldn't have predicted that they would withhold water.  No matter how whacked I think some of the people at that school are, I certainly couldn't have imagined that anyone would choose to not send a child to the nurse after the child said "I think I took the wrong prescription medication this morning."  So what's next?  No bathroom breaks?  No food?  I don't know.

I know that I have a lot of readers who homeschool, and I know that I'm about to get like 50 comments that say, "this is why I homeschool."  Let me say this: I can't homeschool.  For one thing, I'm trying to sell a freaking house and my husband is nine states away.  I'm kind of losing it.  For another, I just don't think I'm a good enough teacher to teach four children, including one with ADHD and one with Asperger Syndrome.  We did the virtual online school for a while last year and it was great, but really not what's best for my kids.  Assuming they're being given water and whatnot, they actually really like school. 

Before, when I heard people talk about homeschooling, I didn't get it.  Most of the people I know personally who homeschool do it for one of two reasons: because they want to incorporate their personal (usually religious) beliefs more intimately with their children's education, or because they want to give their kids the academic advantage of one-on-one teaching and an enriched curriculum.

Now, when I see the comments, "this is why I homeschool," I get it.  Something went sour at their public school.  I have many friends who are teachers, and I love them.  My kids have had many fantastic teachers at all their schools, and I seriously love some of the teachers in our current school.  Most of them are awesome.

But some of them suck.

The old adage says that one bad apple spoils the bunch, and that's certainly true of teachers.  Our school is "exemplary" in terms of standardized testing.  Ninety-nine percent of the teachers love teaching, love kids, and put their heart and soul into doing something amazing for other people's children.  It's astounding, really, what teachers do.

But when you get that one suckfest of a teacher, it sours you. It sours the child on school, sometimes irretrievably.  It sours the parent on mainstream schools.

I'm frustrated and angry, but I believe in our teachers, our public schools, and my kids.  I believe that the problems in this school can be fixed.  As long as I am still living in this town, I am going to be up their asses trying to make that happen.  I am exhausted and I have a lot of other crap I need to get done right now, but nothing this important.

I had to wait a few days before I could write a coherent letter to the principal. I reviewed my own advice on how to write an effective nastygram to a school.  I'm copying in a print-out of the email from October in which I notified all of Cookie's teachers about her medications, and noted that any behaviors out of the ordinary would warrant immediate medical care.

"Scathing" does not even begin to describe the letter I am bringing to the principal today.  I waited to write it until I had most of my anger under control, because I don't want to just rant.  I want results.  My goal is not to get this particular teacher in trouble, it's to make sure this doesn't happen to one of my children, or any other child, again in that school.

On the other hand, principals can't make certain changes without parent input.  Unless parents are willing to state, in writing, when things go wrong, there is absolutely nothing that can or will be done about certain suckfest teachers.  It's possible that this teacher has made other grievous errors; I don't know.  Neither does the principal unless you tell them. In writing.

I am requesting an apology, in my presence.  I am requesting that Cookie be reassured that she did the right thing by asking for help, and that she isn't in trouble for telling her parents what happened.  I am requesting that the teachers receive training on kids and medication and how to handle emergencies.  I am requesting that the principal make it clear to the entire staff that negligence is not tolerated, and that a policy be put in place that covers treating children with basic human respect.

Now excuse me while I go lodge a size 9 cowgirl boot up someone's ass.


  1. I am stunned, stunned at the sheer stupidity, meanness, dunderheadedness and negligence of that teacher... took the WRONG MEDICATION and refused to send her to the nurse? I would think she would have wanted to caver her ass & put the responsibility for a MEDICAL decision off on somebody else - like the school nurse.

    If your child had had a seizure or other severe reaction because of this, doesn't she realize you would have sued HER, personally, every which way to Sunday, including for criminal negligence?

    I am so massively pissed off about this, and it's not even my child. I can't even begin to imagine how you are feeling. Scorched earth, I would think. Yes, you need that apology and assurance that teacher knows she did NOT follow a correct and reasonable policy, and if this ever happens again? Send her to the freaking nurse!!!!

    WTF, WTF indeed!

  2. You have absolutely done the right thing. Calmed down, wrote a letter, and I suspect will follow up with the principal in person if you do not get an immediate and appropriate response. Schools arent the problem per se it is the ocassional shitty teacher, as you say. At least you can use this as an opportunity to discuss with her the fact that some people are plain stupid.

  3. I'm a public school teacher -- have you tried a 504 plan? Section 504 is a civil rights law that allows for specific modifications to be met if your child has any kind of need not covered in any kind of "special education" service. A lot of students have 504 plans, and they may be as basic as a seating accommodation in the front row or having written notes provided, depending on the child's need. I hate that your daughter's teacher wouldn't send her to the nurse -- seriously it's unconscionable -- but under a 504, the teacher MUST accommodate. It's the law. Your daughter could have a 504 accommodation allowing for her to see the nurse whenever she needs to.

    In any case, I'm sorry for your experience and I hope that actions are taken to prevent this from happening again!

  4. When my daughter was in 4th grade a substitute teacher did not allow her to go to the health room when she requested it. She has seasonal allergies that cause blisters to form on her eyes and on the inside of her eyelids. If she is not treated in a very timely manner, it goes from irritation to very painful with possible damage to her eyes. So, I had discussions with the substitute, all of my daughter's teachers, and the principal. All of the teachers were on notice to send this child immediately to the health room whenever she requested it; notes were to be included in their lesson plan books in case of a substitute; and my daughter was to inform the teachers when she needed to go to the health room and then she was to get up and go. And everyone was notified that this was the way it would be. Now I'd probably give her a cell phone to call home, too...just in case. Good luck.
    Deb Kohler

  5. I admire you. Realizing that you're about to go Momma Bear and taking a moment to calm down - kudos to you!

  6. Please keep us posted on what happens next. You did the right thing!

  7. I'm so angry for you! and for other kids that this could have happened to already. I'm impressed that you were able to wait and calm down - it's true that they will listen to you better now. But go kick some a** and I'm glad you're moving.

  8. I got so angry just reading this! My son has a nut allergy, and I can't imagine how I would react if he was denied a visit to the nurse after accidentally eating a nut. Kudos to you for having the strength of willpower to wait to calm down before addressing the school. Hopefully you will receive an appropriate response to your letter. Hugs to Cookie, that must be so upsetting to have to deal with the stupidity of an adult!

  9. wow...just wow! First - kudos to Cookie who is smart and responsible enough to recognize when something is wrong and for taking the initiative to alert an adult, whom she is supposed to trust, about her concerns. Second - shame SHAME on that teacher and I hope she is fired. Seriously. How dare she belittle your child's concerns.

    My hopes for a satisfactory resolution to this problem. I too have great faith in our public school system; I simply couldn't homeschool either. Why? 1) I have a career 2) I don't have the patience...I love my child and want the best for him and for us, that means involving our public school system. I will provide the tools for him to succeed.

    Go Momma Bear!

  10. I'm fuming for you. I'm absolutely appalled for you. Poor Cookie :( Can't wait to hear how it all worked out.

  11. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!

    wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

    I cannot believe they wouldn't let her go see the nurse. That's what she's there for, right? Sounds like something that would have happened in my son's school....they are terrible about these kind of things.

    My son's school made my asthmatic son run the mile 2x in a week where I had sent a note telling them not to make him run because he was getting over pneumonia....grr! (mama bear!!)

    Good for you for standing up....I sincerely hope they comply with EACH of your requests...they seem valid, basic, and warranted.

  12. To the person who suggested the 504: I'm pretty sure SRMM already has one for her daughter, but I don't think that's really the issue here. In fact, your comment sort of points out the absurdity of this whole situation. A child should not have to have a 504 in place to be sent to the nurse when feeling unwell due to a medical reaction, or really any other reason. Just like water should not be witheld from children who were just exerting themselves on the playground IN TEXAS no less. *It's called common sense*. This is coming from a mom of three who also happens to be a nurse.

  13. Holysweetbabyjeazus... That teacher put your daughter in HARM'S WAY!! Holy crap! Even I (who don't have to have meds like that in my world) know those med names and know the side effects to the meds are huge!! How could she NOT send the child to the nurse or the office?!?!

    She (the &^!$^#%@$#& teacher) should have gotten off her fat-*ss and escorted your child to the nurse.

    Man, I'm pissed and it's not even my child. Here - I'll hold her you plant the cowboy boot!!!

    The principal better do some fact explaining and promising at that meeting or I'd go to the board as it isn't the first time that teacher has screwed up this year.


  14. Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to be up the teacher and the principals ass...esp when it comes to MEDICATION - SHEESH!

    I will not homeschool - it is not right for me or my kids...but I am constantly up at the school making sure that things are going the way they should be. I love my public school and I love about 95% of the teachers and the teachers always tell me to talk to them and we try to work things out in the best way for their classroom and my peace of mind. If more parents would do this (instead of ignoring or pulling kids out) I think the schools would be better and the teachers would be better...because we are all a part of the system - like it or not...

    Go kick some TX butt - we are all rooting for you!

  15. I DO homeschool my kids for many reasons. But any mama would probably be shocked that this happened! What if she had said, "I think I took TOO MUCH of my prescription medication this morning"?

    You've got a lot of other mama bears behind you, ready to help with that whooping! I totally can't wait to hear how this turns out!

  16. Denying your child requested medical care at school? That's child abuse in my book. (As is deying water as a punishment.) I hope that you get some satisfaction from the administration but seriously, the sooner you're out of that school district, the better. Tracy R.

  17. I'm ticked (using my nice words here)! When I started reading about this ocurance my mind jumped to the teacher calling social services because your not watching your child take her meds - low and behold she couldn't care less. Threw me for a loop!
    What has happened to common sense in this generation of adults? and to so-called professionals who are responsible for our kids?
    I am impressed at your ability to calm the hell down before you moved forward. I would be in everyones faces and threatening with lawyers to make sure things happen ( follow through with legal action only if I'm pushed to it ).
    People really have to use their brains and think through cause and effect on every issue and start to freaking think about how things they do and don't do affect others!
    There are some great teachers out there, looking at the teachers my daughters have had (mostly in public charter schools) they out number the rotten apples easily; but, wow! this is scarry!

  18. Is there another teacher at that grade level? It seems a bit difficult at this point in the year, but maybe she really should be moved to another classroom. This teacher seems dangerous. And, possibly worse, uncaring. What the heck?! I'm not totally in love with my school, but they call me for every bump and bruise and minor ache. They would NEVER ignore something like this.

    Your daughter is very cool to have held it together. I'm proud of her and I don't even know her. :)

  19. We've had some doozie experiences ourselves with suckfest teachers but this one is a mega-doozie! Unbelievable that a teacher could "forget" basic responsibilities to her students. I hope you get results but I would also recommend (just based on our own experiences) that you send copies of your letter to the superintendent, 504 or SpEd director (if she has a plan) and anyone else on the district level in order to *make the principal accountable* to someone. That's the problem we ran into a lot. The principal said this, that or the other to reassure us but no one higher up ever knew and it blew up in our faces when we had to go to due process. We prevailed but only because we started copying everyone from the top down when we had issues. Best of luck and please let us know that Cookie gets her apology!!!

  20. Yikes. So sorry you're dealing with this craziness on top of everything else. If you need to scream at someone to offgas before heading into battle, give me a call.

  21. Being a teacher myself, I am annoyed with her teacher. When a kid asks to go to the nurse (unless it was a blatant excuse to get out of something in class at that moment--which, you can really tell when that happens), I let them go. If I had heard this from a student, I would've let her go immediately and with a student escort (because of being so sleepy). I'm glad that you still believe in all of the good teachers, but damn those crappy, bad ones!!!

  22. Tell your daughter that she has permission to walk out of a classroom if she doesn't feel safe. She should go to the principal or the nurse or wherever she needs to be. Inform the school that you have instructed your daughter to do so, and that they should feel free to contact you should there be any issues.
    I know you are probably trying to minimize upheaval, but if the teacher has a pattern of incompetence, it might be worth asking for a better teacher. Something similar happened to me when I was in 5th grade. I was quickly moved into another classroom - the teacher was much cooler and I learned so much more from her than the other teacher! I also learned that it was my right to be treated as a person, not an object by teachers. That is a tough lesson for young kids because teachers hold so much power over them.

  23. When my 12 year old was in 2nd grade I pulled him out to homeschool. I had no religious views to incorporate. No teachers had offended me. He had severe asthma and had been sick so many times that his ped doc suggested it as a way to build his compromised immune system. He went back to mainstream in fourth grade. In fifth grade he became ill and was put on a sulfur antibiotic (can we say dying for water). I sent a note to the teacher requesting that he be allowed access to more water because of the sulfur. He comes home the first day and areyoufreakingkidding me: he was refused water that day past his two a day break.

    I had to write that letter. I had to go to that school.

    One bad apple really does spoil the whole bunch. Stay up their rear ends til they get it right.

  24. SRMM I can't even begin to imagine how you and Cookie must be feeling. I wish you the best of luck. I really hope that her teacher gets severely reprimanded. Mama bears all over are backing you up.

  25. I'm addition, I would make sure the school superintendent is made aware of this and the water incident. This is medical negligence. Hope you post results. You're doing a great job.

  26. I read this and MY momma bear mode kicked in. What kind of poor excuse of a teacher would punish a child like this. Im ready to come up an help with my size 8 1/2. You absolutely need an apology and I liked the 504 plan also. I feel terrible for you and your daughter. How awful for her to have to deal with that all day. You have done all the right things in teaching her what to do if something happens then some yahoo comes along with this. I just can't wrap my head around how a teacher could do this to a child. unbelievable

  27. Wow, just wow. You would think a teacher would want to cover her own butt by sending a kid to the nurse! Why does she care so much?! That is pretty unbelievable! I am just now learning the art of stepping back and writing the non-vent letter..it's hard to not want to immediately march down there and "open a barrel" as my German husband likes to day. And I won't tell you to homeschool...not sure I could ever do that, either! (although, as a side bar, I have thought about the online school and am wondering if it would be a good fit for us...)

    Anyway, I hope they come back with their tail between their legs...

  28. Unbelievable - I'd be going ma grizzly on them too. Definitely let everyone from the classroom to the principal's higher-ups know what has happened (the med issue, and the water issue). There's no excuse for negligence of basic health and medical issues - none! Good for Cookie for handling it in such a mature, calm fashion - she's a rare young lady.

  29. OMG, first I'm glad your daughter is OK and she is really mature to have gone to the teacher, perhaps more mature THAN the teacher. If the schools can control the allergic peanut issue to a "T" with warnings and notes, then they sure as hell can put forth the effort for kids who have to take medication. Sometimes I feel that my kids school is a damned boot camp! Hang in there and take care of yourself.

  30. I have a very independent 9 year old (with sprinkles of anxiety) and an ADHD 12.5 year old (with the maturity level close to his 4 year-old brother). I am also familiar with the guilt/anxiety/self doubt of allowing responsible kid to be responsible. I am glad you are focusing your fury where it belongs and where it *may* be able to spark change. On the school. I hope the principal and the teacher take responsibility for their negligence (even if only b/c the principal forces her/him to).

    You are right, most teachers are wonderful, some suck eggs. One egg sucker can ruin an otherwise perfectly good school. Good luck with your letter. I am glad you are delivering it in person, I suggest you cc the higher up school administration like the assistant superintendent, superintendent, etc. I am not suggesting that you litigate, BUT I would suggest that you include in your letter any physical, emotional and financial damages your family incurred as a result Cookie not getting medical attention in a timely manner due to the teacher's negligence. Hang in there.

  31. In addition to writing to the principal, I think you should CC the school board as well, and possibly send a copy to the local paper. Additionally, I would have a talk with your kids about when it's OK to disobey the teacher, this would have been one of them. It sounds like Cookie is a sweet kid with a good head on her shoulders and wouldn't abuse advice like "If this happens again, with your medication or you feel sick, you need to go to the nurse right away, regardless of what your dipshit teacher says." Ok, maybe skip the dipshit. This post has made me scared and angry on your behalf.
    Also, if I were the principal I would be scared to death of you brining a lawsuit.
    I'm relieved that your daughter is OK. Best of luck.

  32. oh wow. terrible. that teacher was so wrong I can't even believe that she didn't think it was worth a trip to the nurse.
    She has no right to make that judgement call. She should have sent your daughter to the nurse and allowed the nurse to decide... which, I know you are aware of this... but, oh man....

  33. When I was in elementary school I had a nurse give my brother and myself the wrong medication. She wouldn't listen when I tried to tell her she was wrong. After that my mom would come up to the school every day to give us our medicine herself. I know that isn't possible for some people to do however.

    My youngest (6) is in the public school system and I'm very lucky to be "bff" with the woman who is in charge of the special ed program. I know that she keeps a close eye on him. I also tend to "pop in" and check on things myself once a month or so. My oldest (15) has been homeschooled for the last two and half years. As much as he needs the social interaction, the school district just couldn't seem to deal with his needs.

    I'm SO glad you are on your way up to the school to take action. It seems so many parents just don't care anymore. If you don't get satisfaction from the school principal, don't stop there! Make your next stop the superintendant's office and the school board meeting.

  34. It sounds like your plan of action is right on...couldn't be better in having them address their mistake, and to validate your daughter.....if they don't get it, at least you will be a parent they will fear to make a mistake with, due to you bringing it right back to them..and maybe they will just react accordingly with your kids!

  35. keep at it, you're doing great

  36. I have told my children the same thing that Meaghan suggested and assured them that if they think they are doing the right thing, there will be no punishment from me and in most cases the school authorities will NOT punish a student for taking themselves to the nurse or the principal.

    I am so sorry this happened and I am in awe of your level of self control to not become a screaming banshee as soon as you heard and launch an immediate assault on the school. Your approach is far more effective, but counter-intuitive to my first instinct

    Deb D

  37. HOLY S***!!!!! First let me say that I am proud of you for not shoving that size 9 boot up their asses the day it happened! I would have marched everyone back into the school and freaked out!!

    But I am very sorry your daughter had to go through that. She was very right in what she did, and the teacher messed up royally!! Glad to hear that she is feeling better.

    Good luck today!

  38. That's total bullshit. Tell her next time to walk her little hiney down there HERSELF.

    My younger guy takes Clonidine. We've once messed up. ONCE. He was out cold for six hours. The whole day. I'm so sad for her.

  39. OMG this is just awful. I'm saying this as a teacher, having had many children in class with severe allergies requiring epi pens (which I know is different from Cookie's medical issues). 99% of their parents bent over backwards to see that we worked together to ensure their child's safety. In all my 20 years of teaching, I've only had 2 parents who weren't so good at the communication, and only one of those was a true pain in the butt. But even on her worst day (and she had many) we would never have thought to compromise the child's well being. That teacher, as unaware as she seems to be, had no idea if the 'wrong medication' could have caused a seriously negative medical reaction in your daughter. You and Cookie most definitely deserve an apology...but that teacher deserves a censure! You go, Mama Bear!!

  40. Whoop her ass. Take on the school. This is now two blatant neglect incidents. And not only should they apologize, they should clean your house till it's sold.

  41. Oh, and as I re-read my comment, please know that I don't want you to think that I was calling you a pain in the butt parent!!! Far from it. I was merely thinking that you probably have had many conversations with all the teachers, that you are a familiar face at the school, and that you communicate very well on your childrens' behalf. I'll shut up now....

  42. I would have been pissed. I am glad that she is ok though and definitely follow through with what you need to do to ensure that this never happens again.

  43. Jesus Earl Crest!

    If this problem doesn't get resolved and it's the second major issue you've had with the school, I'd take it to the school board. OWN THEM.

    I am a Texas teacher and I can tell you that acting like that is out of the teacher's idiocy. Common sense cannot be taught and is merely assumed... you pass the tests, you are legit.

    There is not enough taught in college about children with special needs unless you choose Special Education. Even then, most colleges aren't appropriately equipped to educate their educators in Special Needs areas. Not that they don't want to... but *SURPRISE* the funding isn't there.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

  44. I am stunned. And pissed. And everything else that you are as well. To have this happen at a place where we TRUST our children to be is inexcusable. I have dealt with negligent (yes NEGLIGENT) teachers and schools and I am thrilled with the school my daughter attends. I would seriously be considering taking this to the school board and threatening a lawsuit if something is not done to FIX this in the school. Thank God nothing major happened to Cookie because of this negligence but it could have and it could happen to someone else's child while in this teacher's "care" (and I do use that term loosely). Kudos to Cookie for being able to cope for the rest of the day despite what happened. Hopefully there won't be a next time but if something happens where the teacher denies her care, she should just march out of the room and down to the nurse on her own. At least they would be calling you - probably to tell you your daughter was misbehaving - but at least she would get the care she needed.

  45. I am fuming for you as I read this! I can't believe she would deny your child a right to go to the nurse!!!! What?????

    Poor Cookie. I had teachers who refused to let us go to the bathroom, which was bad enough, but that one is really bad. And it wasn't like Cookie was even asking to go home. She just wanted to go see the nurse and have her call you so she'd know what to do.

    I do recall in middle school my evil band teacher wouldn't let me go to the bathroom. Every single year my mother had to write him a note explaining my medical problem and telling him that he couldn't deny me bathroom privileges.

    Some people really don't belong in the teaching profession. If you really can't deal with kids, you shouldn't be teaching them.

  46. Wow, I cannot believe this. You are absolutely doing the right thing. An incident happened last yr at my sons school (he has adhd) in which he was being bullied and the teacher said get over it basically. I was seething, i had to do what you did, which is calm down, talk to my husband, and relax before i call the school or do anything. My son is on the 504 plan, which is OK, but like you said nothing matters when you happen to face that 'suckfest' of a teacher. Kudos to your daughter for being mature, and smart enough to go to the teacher and recognize that something was wrong. Keep us updated on what happens.

  47. Anxious to read your next post. My thoughts are with you!

  48. Hope you get your house sold soon so you can change schools. Just keep your eye on what impact your advocacy will have on that school. Teachers make mistakes too. Hopefully your daughter's teacher will learn from hers. You are in my prayers.

    PS I'm on board with the no way I can homeschool concept.

  49. homeschooling is for the birds. keep her in school, but keep your boots inches away from all asses at all times. Be THAT MOM. Forget a letter, request a meeting immediately; if not available, let them know you're going to superintendent immediately, then BOE and press. Good luck girlfriend.

  50. I honestly don't even know what to say.. I would do EXACTLY what you're doing.. and since this is the second major incidence (assuming it's with the same teacher?) I would even ask that my child be removed from that class and placed into a different one. I cannot believe the ignorance of that teacher!!!!

    I am a public school mom, too... and I've seen many moms let ONE bad teacher ruin how they view school... it's sad.. b/c my kids love school! But, that's b/c I'm like you.. I will kick your ass if you bother my kid. Whether you're a child yourself.. or an adult. Watch out!

  51. OH DUDE. I have written more nastygrams to the school on my (non-neurotypical) kids' behalf than I can count, and even I am virtually speechless over what happened to your kid. That is just BEYOND appalling. It's really borderline criminal, is what it is. Good on your for handling it the way you are and I hope like hell you get the results you're asking for.

  52. I would also address that letter to the superintendent as well as the board of education... That will get the school's attention. Superintendents do not like to get a nastygram and usually want someone to 'handle' the situation. As a former teacher, I can tell you that we are all not dunderheads but one bad apple DEFINITELY spoils the bunch. Teachers and administrators are so focused on testing and achievement, they are forgetting the little people that they work for. Go get them SRMM!

  53. I work within the public school system and am appalled at the whole situation. This teacher showed no common sense in what could have been potentially a very serious situation. Anytime I have a student who asks to go to the nurse- I send them. The suggestion about getting her a 504 is good advice, but as others have already stated- you will need to personally stay on top of that. I know in my school our guidance dept. is very on top of all of that but, people are human and can make mistakes. The important thing is to try and have as fool proof plan set up as possible. Another thing, depending upon the reception you get with the principal- principals HATE hearing from the district office that there is a problem that the superintendent is aware of. So if you do not get this resolved to your satisfaction- definitely go higher up. It is good that you have allowed yourself the time to cool off- this way you can present your situation to the principal and really get him/her to listen. Unfortunately all it takes is one bad teacher to give the rest of us a bad name.

  54. Good job, Cookie! And good job, Mom! I think it's great that Cookie spoke up and tried to explain to her teacher what had happened. And then explained further. What a smart girl!

    I also really like that you let her be in control of her medications - anxiety is tough as a kid and any ounce of control you can give her helps a lot!! I'm 29 and have had anxiety my entire life, a lot of the time my parents didn't know what to do with me or how to help me. I know that you are giving Cookie life long skills and helping her to trust herself and have confidence. Great job!!

  55. Oh. My. ________. _________. _______. (fill in the blanks, I can't use that kind of language online)

    This brings up so much for me, I can't even put it into words. (Really.....I can't go down that road again right now, if you know what I mean.)

    But, I will say this, it sounds like you are handling it in as proactive way as possible and you should give yourself a pat on the back. You've addressed the issue with your daughter and provided extra measures to help her become independant and self sufficent (stickers...I like it!). And you're handling it with the school in the best way possible to see results. (I, too, am not into the blame game...just want the problems fixed.)


    Cookie, if you read this, good for you! That's fantastic that you spoke up and said exactly what was wrong and that you were doing what you have been taught to do. Really, good job to both you, Cookie and to Mom too!! :>

    Okay and because this gets my hot button going just too darn hot to really communicate a whole lot myself, I'm going to put my hot button to good use & click Your Like button on Facebook ('cause that will somehow make up for my inability to articulate just how frustrating & emotion producing denying medical care makes me,right?! :>)!! :>:>

  56. First, major kudos to Cookie for getting through the day. I know what loopy pills do to me sometimes, and I can't imagine being a kid in school having to deal with that. Second, major kudos to you for balancing everything you balance, and having the potential stressors that you have, and still realizing that giving a capable child some independence over their medical care, is a good idea. Third, congratulations always on recognizing the difference between just wanting to rant, and wanting to get results. More flies with honey and all of that...although you want to put a boot up somebody's ass, other choices get better results. Although they aren't half so satisfying as putting on your mother bear and going to town! I'm really looking forward to seeing how things work out, and I'm glad Cookie is doing better--glad that the meds now have pictures on them, and that Cookie is still responsible for taking them by herself. You're a great mom, truly.

  57. Girl, my little sister broke both of her arms on the playground in the fourth grade, and even though her arms were twisted backward in their sockets and bones were visibly broken, the teacher wouldn't let her go to the nurse. When my sister passed out in class twice from the pain, the teacher only jiggled her around and told her to stop being dramatic and interrupting her class. I won't go into what sh*t hit the fan when my mom came to pick her up at the end of the day. I hate public school.

  58. My heart aches for you and Cookie right now! What a sweet, mature girl you have. I'm glad she's okay! Hugs to her!

    Not only did you do the right thing for your family by calming down first, you also set an example that all us moms should try for. Thank you for that!

    I hope everything turns out well! Thinking of your sweet family this week.

  59. Oh wow, that is just scary. I can't even imagine how I would feel if my child was denied medical treatment because the teacher didn't think it necessary. Livid for sure, but I am not sure I would be calmed down enough to write a letter.

  60. Wow. I would've FREAKED. I'm really impressed with how you are dealing with this. Your requests are reasonable, and I hope the school and this teacher can see that.

    Your public school system is lucky to have your children there -- involved parents are a key in a school's success!

    Good luck today.

  61. Years ago, I gave my eldest child, who has life threatening food allergies, permission to walk out of the classroom and head to the office and call me or his dad if he was ever in the position where he didn't feel safe. I told him that doing so wouldn't get him in trouble with me, and that I would deal with the consequences.

    That said, a 504 plan is pointless if you're dealing with a principal and teacher who don't really give a damn.

  62. Oh SRMM, some things just are not funny. I’m so sorry that Cookie had to go through this, and that you have to go through it as her mom. And I'm so angry on your behalf.

    I think about homeschooling not because of either of the reasons you propose, but because I fear my child can’t make it in even the loving private school we have him in. But I’m with you—for my own reasons, I CAN’T homeschool. So we’re going to see if he can make it. As long as he can. And ask the school to meet his needs, as you are asking your school to meet your kids’.

    Don’t feel like you have to homeschool. You have every right to demand that the school do better than this. Once you dress down the principal and the teachers, this particular problem will not happen again. What you are saying to them is perfect—very clear, very appropriate, very mama bear. Let us know what happens.

    You are a rock star mama.

  63. OMFG!! I'm nauseous reading this! I am also mentally kicking some serious A$$ at your kid's school right now, just so you know :) Argh ARGH and more ARGH

  64. I have a little boy with Fragile X, mild autism and ADHD who will be starting kindergarten in the fall and this sort of thing terrifies me. He doesn't have the attention span or the cognitive development to really understand when something is wrong with him, and he doesn't have the verbal skills to express it either. You have to know him, understand him, and keep your eyes peeled for any problems. I'd homeschool but i don't have the skills to do it. It takes a small army of trained professionals to care for my son and I'm afraid the public schools just won't be up to the challenge. I grew up in Texas and I love it but I know many of the public schools are sorely lacking in the special needs department. We're glad to have you, but I'm glad you're leaving. Best of Luck to you.

  65. Unbelievable. So many have already expressed their outrage more clearly than I can at the moment. Hopefully your house sells quickly so you can enroll them in a more responsible school soon and that this issue gets resolved. Absolutely unbelievable.

  66. Oh. My. God. Give them what they deserve. That is ridiculous. I look forward to hearing what happens.

  67. I found out last week that my 3 year old had one of his (neuro based) shivering fits during his group speech therapy session and they didn't bother to inform me. I barely kept myself from exploding right there in their faces, in front of all the parents and the other 3 year olds. Still can't fathom that two professional educators in charge of the special needs group therapy sessions witnessed a small child with a laundry list of neurological diagnoses (including non-epileptic seizures) having a shaking fit and didn't think it was necessary to inform his mother.

    I'm beyond impressed by your self restraint and will look to your example in the next week while I go through the process of formally removing him from the speech program and putting his IEP through the shredder.

  68. I. Am. Flabbergasted.

    So thankful that Cookie is ok. One benedryl knocks me out, I'm not sure I could have gone an entire day on Super Loopers. She is a ROCK STAR!! Additionally, I wouldn't have been able to write a well-composed nastygram. I would have been on their doorstep the very next morning and ready to battle. There are many behaviors and mistakes in this world that I am willing to forgive and overlook, but that one crosses the line. SRMM, I have amazingly deep respect for you and your ability to keep yourself under control.

    I can't add any more advice than what the other moms have given you: Be vigilant - don't let them give you the run around. Advise Cookie that getting out of class and going to the nurse is not going to have repercussions. With your group, this is going to have to be something you may have to spoon feed them, just like we teach them stranger danger and everything else. They will have to be armed with the knowledge that only Mom and Dad understand their medical needs completely, and if a teacher / coach / dance teacher / whatever doesn't understand that, then further action must be taken.

    A word on homeschooling, if I can? I have an Aspie kid, he's 11 now. His first grade year in school was sheer hell. It was deplorable. I never ever thought I could homeschool, but I was convinced that even a year of sitting around and looking at each other would be better than what we had been thru. For any mom who says she doesn't have the patience, education, skills, or whatever ... I have found that when your back is up against the wall, amazing things happen. We're now on our 4th year and it just keeps getting better! Homeschooling isn't the answer for everyone (kind of like white skinny jeans!) ... but it isn't nearly as scary as most people think it is. You are given EXACTLY how much patience you need to deal with twins, SPD, medications, homeschooling, perky princesses, or whatever your kids bring you.

  69. One word-NEGLECT. You can let the principal know you would be more than happy to report this incident of neglect to your local DCF(or whatever Child Protection Services agency) yourself if this matter cannot be resolved or he/she cannot adequately protect your child and the other children from this neglectful teacher. That "threat"(since you would definitely follow through) should be enough to get action. I agree with a letter. As a Momma Bear, I know how hard it can be to effectively argue all of those well thought out points when seething with anger. My proudest Momma moment was when Dear Daughter's Principal sat motionless in her chair, reading a letter I had written, face twisted in horrible ways and eyes bugging out at certain lines. Upon finishing, she asked me which alternate classroom I would like my daughter placed, and apologized profusely. Hold strong, your baby has rights and needs, and they were neglected. Good luck.

  70. I remember third grade....one time being punished for going to the nurse without teacher permission even though I had vomited and passed out, and regularly my classmates and I literally peeing in our seats because Mrs. Judge would not allow us permission to go to the restroom. In Private School. Yes, my parents did change our school the next year, but never once did they talk to the principal! Or, to my knowledge, the teacher! Actually, when I went home puking and fainting I was grounded to my room for breaking the rules. Good for you for dealing with this hands on!!If only more people would advocate for their kids!!!!

    And, you're absolutely right, now that I think of it this definitely is part of the reason I home school. :)

  71. I hope you have been kicking some ass over this incident. It IS inexcusable!!! Good luck with those boots, I'm right behind you!

  72. I remember the day My child came home and told me she was being bullied. I called my dear ol Dad (retired school administrator) and he said write it up like a memo dates times etc. if you don't the school has nothing to go on and no reason to follow up.

    I continued to do so every day every incident. When the Bully pulled that crap in from of ME! My kiddo is adopted and we look nothing alike, the bully had No Idea she was acting out in front of the wrong adult. I wrote that up as well and finally got enough paper work in that biddys folder that if she steps outta line one more time, she is out of that charter school

    But his year as my daughter made more progress at home doing Nuro developmental therapy for her LD's, and the New Math was totally confusing her , and the P.E. teacher was seriously ignoring the hate she was getting from 90% of the class. I did it I pulled her she is now home schooled. And we love it tho some days its very tough.

    Tho if I was moving they would be off to school every day! How can you keep it show room spectacular if they are home making messes???

    PS I loved how to write a nastygram!

  73. Unbelievable. I just told my husband (a teacher) about this, and his response was 'wow, that teacher is in trouble, and rightfully so. You HAVE to let kids go to the nurse'. I am so sorry this happened. Your poor girl must have had an awful day.

  74. Totally and completely un-fucking acceptable! After you bring that letter in I recommend you call a meeting with the teacher, the nurse, the principal, the DIRECTOR OF NURSING for your school district, the teacher's UNION REP and someone from the superintendent's office. Make it clear how absolutely deadly goddamned serious you are about this. Make SURE they know the violated the law and force them to outline for you, in writing, how they are going to ensure that this never. happens. again!

    Keep us posted - there is NOTHING like the psychic powers of one thousand red hot furious mamas!

    God love ya, girlie, you have WAY more self control than I do!

  75. You hit the nail on the head with "why we homeschool". Not a choice, it was a necessity. Actually, our 11 year old wants to go back to a school. But we have no options. He was physically and mentally abused in Kindergarten under the careful watch and mandate of the District Administration (who thought they could scare the autism out of him).

    Anyway, we've just recently given our son more control over his meds. We have a pill case for the week with M-Sun am and pm slots. My husband fills them and my son now knows to take them each morning in the am slot and at night in the pm. It's not total responsibility, but its a step.

    Hang in there!

  76. I also agree with the person who said to call your CPS. Not only would I call them but I would also contact the school board and maybe make myself known at meetings talking about the state of your children's schools. I'd also be reporting the school to the state. Schools hate when parents make phone calls about incompliance. Believe me, we've BTDT.

  77. Actually what she did (the teacher) was illegal.. practicing medicine without a license when she decided the student did not need to see a licensed RN. Throw that one at them. No one may make medical or nursing assessments or diagnoses unless you are a doctor or nurse respectively.

  78. Oh, SRMM! What a trial to have to go through for both of you during this stressful move preparation. So glad you will be moving and have a chance to find a better school situation for your kids. And you have demonstrated already how good you are at meeting your kids' needs and asking the right questions: they have a superb champion in you! You are doing a great job.
    Everyone else has given good advice and support, so I don't have much more to add, other than to second the suggestion of one poster who said the teacher should have to clean your house until it is sold. That would be perfect adjunct to any school repercussions. Do keep us informed of their response. Hug Cookie for all of us for her maturity and perseverence.

  79. Yes, that teacher failed to handle the at-home medication error in an appropriate manner. Perhaps she was not trained for such a thing, perhaps she lacks basic common sense, perhaps she is in the wrong field, or just over worked. I don't think she is an evil child hater or she would not be teaching our ten year old children every day.
    The overwhelming response of your readers that are full of ill-will for this teacher and public school in general shocks me. Just as it would shock me if someone suggested that Child Protective Services should make a home visit as that is where the problem originated. Yes, mistakes and bad judgement happen. The teacher was not the only one at fault here.
    If you don't want to home school, then perhaps you should consider private school where the special needs of your children may be met on a more consistent basis.

  80. This is truly, truly horrifying!! I am soooo sorry this happened to your daughter. Everyday, we entrust the care of our children. We do our research, we ask questions, and then what? We hold our breaths. It's soooo scary. Good for you for pausing before you wrote. I feel like I would have not been able to restrain myself. I'm glad your daughter is OK and definitely keep us updated. You should tell your large and loyal blog followers how they can help when you need a mass of riled up ladies to help you in a fight. A letter writing campaign, perhaps?? Think about it...We could just copy and paste text and send an email to the principal no problem. Their inbox would definitely be flooded. Good luck!!!

  81. @Mary -- I get what you're saying and I don't think she is evil. I do think she made a serious error that shows a need for training, which is what I said in my post.

    We don't have the money for private school. We do have the right to public education, and my daughter has the right to a safe environment in which her basic needs are met.

    Asking to go to the nurse when she feels ill is not a special need, it's a basic need that any child should have met.

    As I said in my post, the initial mistake happened at home. We have taken steps to try to make sure it doesn't happen again. I am simply asking the school to do the same.

  82. Yes, teacher made a mistake, too. It happens. We do expect common sense of our teachers though. And when a child says "problem" and "medications" in the same sentence, the teacher needs to send the child to the nurse. Seems easy enough. Can't wait to hear how the meeting went. And yes, if it were my child, I'd freak out, too. I think that's why the SRRM fans freaked out. 'Cause we're so freakin' loving. (And lovable).

  83. My grandson was denied medical care when he asked the teacher if he could go to the nurse because his hurt. She said no. He went back and sat down. His continued hurting and tearing and he could not see. He asked again. She said no. He asked if he could go to the restroom to check his eye she no. She was letting other kids go to the restroom. One kid gave my grandson his restroom pass and he went. His eye was blood red and tearing really bad. It was obvious something was wrong. He went back to class and asked if he could go to the nurse and again she said no. She had to be blind not to see there was a problem. The kids in class told him to just walk out and go to the nurse which is what he did. The nurse found a chunk of lead in his eye. He said his pencil had broken and I guess the lead flew into his eye. After the nurse had washed his eye out she said he could go back to class. The asst principal said he could not go back to class because he had walked out of class. The teacher wrote him up for leaving. They had him sit till the end of school in the office. He was told he would see the principal in the morning. I did not know about this until he got home. I was so angry I could not stop shaking. I had sent an email to the principal and she responded first thing in the morning. I was livid about the teacher refusing him medical care and then writing him up. I went to the police dept and was told no law had been broken. The teacher used bad judgment. I had been advised by another school district to make a police report and call CPS. They said since I live in a small town the police usually side with the school district. I am planning to talk to someone at CPS to see what are my options. My grandson also heard that this teacher said she did nothing wrong. The principal could not stop apologizing for what had happened and said the teacher was going to call me and apologize. She did not. The principal said my grandson would not be disciplined for walking out. She said he was justified. I still feel that the teacher got away with what she did.

  84. I cannot read all of the previous posts today but I have to add my two cents worth, hope I'm not adding something already addressed a hundred times.

    This is unbelievable behavior on the teacher's part! I think you have been more than patient with this school and their own learning curve. If this were happening to me, I'd be camping out at the school superintendant's office demanding immediate action.

    I'd also be going to the media and I'd be naming names and giving specific dated examples!
    That teacher endangered your child's life, that's taking it out of the realm of school and taking it to a personal level, I'd be making that teacher's personal life hell, too!

    If you need any help getting those size 9s far enough up to be noticed, just let your readers know, their are plenty of us willing to hold em down for ya!

  85. Have you allowed yourself to become so angry because of how guilty you feel about the role you played in this incident?

    As a few people have mentioned, are you prepared to deal with a home-visit from CPS, because putting a 9 year-old in charge of their meds could raise a red flag?

    What will a doctor say about the differences in meds, and will they confirm that taking the night-time med by mistake constitutes a medical emergency? Are the bottles so poorly marked that they are easily confused? Has this mix-up happened before?

    Almost 10 is still 9, and even 10 is still pretty young to be in charge of taking the right meds. You either need to take back the responsibity or come up with a fool-proof system that will prevent it from happening again.

  86. Hey, I don't think this is the best thing a teacher could've done, but let's keep this in perspective here.

    Your daughter took one of her pills 6-8 hours early, and her teacher, knowing that Cookie takes it regularly (just at a different time), didn't think it was a health emergency. Cookie did not overdose, she did not take the WRONG medication. She took the right meds at the wrong time, and neglecting to take the Zoloft was not a life-threatening event.

    I know Moms can get touchy about their kids, but talking about firing a strung out, busy, harried teacher because she didn't call 911 immediately and panic when a child ingests a pill she takes every night? Come on....

  87. Hi Anonymous! I have a funny feeling you're not a mom.

    Anyway, I didn't ask for the teacher to be fired or anything like it. I asked for an apology, and training for the staff on how to handle emergencies like this.

    While this particular event may not have been life-threatening, it should have been taken more seriously. By taking the Clonidine in the morning, it meant that she had taken 2 in 24 hours instead of 1. I don't expect a call to 911, but I do expect a call to ME.

    Have a nice day.

  88. Who lets their ten year old daughter monitor her own psych meds?

  89. Hi more Anonymous!

    In fact, it's part of her care plan that's been discussed with all her doctors. The intent is for her to have a greater feeling of control over her anxiety.

    It's a mistake that an adult could have made. I still believe she is responsible enough to take her own meds, but we have taken steps to make sure this doesn't happen again -- highlighting the medication name and instructions on the bottle, etc.

    But thanks for your obvious concern about my child!

    -- stark. raving. mad. mommy.

  90. Hello! I give you huge kudos for allowing your daughter to have some atonomy in taking her medications and taking an active role in her health care. Most people would shelter their children, just telling them that they needed to take the meds. Anyone, including and adult, could have made that mistake, and dispite the ASS's comment from above, their is NO "foolproof" system. You work with what ya got, and you do your bes. I take Zolof as well, for bipolar dissorder, and I work very closely with my Dr's to keep my disease in check, and I am an adult. I have done the loop d loops of meds for years now, and its not fun for anyone, especially for a child. I have a 2 year old, and I fear that she may have what I have, and if it comes to pass, then she will have an active role in her health care as well. You did the right thing and heres hoping the school pulls its head out of its ass and straightens up. I WONT homeschool, I have no patience and I get frustrated, this just makes me dissapointed in the public school system. I know when I was in school no one was treated like this. WOW, and WTF at the same time.

  91. Are there any laws against denying a child medical attention at school. My son was sent to the principals office today because he was feeling bad during gym and asked to go to the nurse. When the teached said no he refused to participate. He just returned to school from broncitis and also has asthma, I was worried about sending him back so soon, but was told I had to send him regardless if he's sick due to so many sick related absences. The principle threatened to suspend him for not obeying his teacher. If anyone knows of any laws pertaining to this please let me know. thanks

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