This goes out to all the teachers around the world. We are here for you.
Many years ago when my husband was stationed in Savannah, Georgia I worked at a school. The school was a very good school which educated some of Savannah’s richest families. I didn’t understand the politics involved in education until I started working in the Special Education department. It would become a stark lesson in life about inequality inside the classroom because of status.
It would be my first lesson in social status division and my first lesson in how schools viewed children with special needs. My oldest daughter at the time was in the third grade. She was invited to two parties within the same week about halfway into the school year. One of the parties was being help at a child’s house in the Landings and the other was being held at a house at a mobile home community.
I remember asking the teacher who worked over me about both areas. I didn’t know anything about the Landings and I didn’t know anything about the mobile home park due to the fact that I liked to keep on base as much as possible. She informed me that the Landing’s party was the party I needed to let child attend. She giggled about the VIP invite and then started laughing about the mobile home invite. She insisted on keeping my child away from the child who stayed in the mobile homes because they were basically trashy.
Time came for the two parties which were held days apart. I decided against letting my daughter attend both parties due to the fact that I didn’t know the parents. I like to know parents before I say yes. However, due to the response of the teacher, I have always looked on schools with a bit of skepticism. I remember the importance the teachers held on children who were in Special Education with parents who had good jobs and the lack of importance they held for children from poor areas.
It really put me on a mission to make sure that each child knew of their importance no matter their parent’s status. I will never forget the time when I was told by a teacher that she would rather have a classroom of ghetto children than teach children under the Special Education umbrella. The sad fact is that parents do not have any idea of how some educators view their children if they have special needs. It is important perhaps more important for parents of children with special needs to stay involved with the schools and to monitor their children’s interactions due to these issues.
Years later my daughter would get service from under the umbrella because of her ADHD and her ADD. However, those two issues weren’t the issues that would cause her to retreat inside herself, it would be a bullying attack that would hinder her from being able to interact socially. I find myself blessed with the inside knowledge of two things because of my occupational travels. I understand how certain children are regarded due to their disability and I understand how schools do not tell you about the obstacles these children face inside and outside the classroom.
So this brings me to my conversation with my daughter before we went to bed. Last night my daughter entered the room and gave me this very meaningful speech as I gazed out the window.
“Mom, I do not want you to worry about me being placed in another theater class because at the end of the day, I know you believe in me. I know dad believes in me and I believe in me. I don’t need a teacher to give me the green light when I have you guys. If she doesn’t want me in her class, I don’t want to be in it. I’ll just do my best in the new class and prove her wrong.-Ariana
I guess that is the point of it all. It is my support that will protect and propel her. Schools are set on default educations which means they do not always give what each and every kid needs. No matter how much we want to elevate the idea of teachers, there will always be those teachers who aren’t encouraging to all children. So, as parents we must lift our children up when the world tries to bring them down and remember it is our support that gives them wings.
So thus starts the drama for the new school year. My daughter was kicked out of her theater class on the 4th day of school because the teacher seems to have issues teaching children with disabilities. This is my latest letter to the school district.
My daughter attends Temple High School and informed me today that she was removed from her theater class. She stated that the teacher said she would remove children who she felt would not pay attention in her class and Ariana and another student were removed. I find myself concerned due to the fact that last year my daughter was repeatedly paired with children who had disorders similar to her disorder in this class. Instead of the teacher promoting growth, she promoted further confusion due to them not being able to interact with the other students. Often times my daughter would come home in tears because she could not practice lines with her partner due to conflict stemming from the pairing.
My daughter has ADHD, ADD and she struggles with relationships with other students due to an attack that happened four to five years ago while she was on campus. She was attacked by 10 to 11 children when she was in the 5th grade. We have worked very hard with her over the years and theater has always been something she wanted to do. I feel as if she was sectioned off last year and now with her removal from her theater class, I feel like she is being discriminated against because of having a disorder as the other students from last year to some degree.
Now, it is my understanding that she is in another theater class. I need to know if she will be able to learn lines and participate in class? This is a YouTube video to show that my daughter has no issues with being able to use communication. https://youtu.be/fevGVBkPF8o She did a cooking video this summer on making tacos. I will not stand for her being discriminated against because her teacher does not seem to like people with disabilities. It is a violation of her right to not be given the same chance to succeed as other students.
Apparently The other teacher does not really teach theater like the class she was in, so she is being pushed aside.
Why can’t people just be supportive? Why try to teach children if you can’t be supportive of all kids? Does anyone know of any theaters that offer acting lessons in the Austin Area? I support her.
We were told that the teacher told the administrators that she had an audition to see who was able to stay in the drama class. An audition that my daughter sure didn’t know about. I guess she missed the part about telling the children she would be removing people that she thought wouldn’t pay attention in class. So which was it?
So, as many of you know I have been debating the idea of continuing my blog. After thinking about things for a while, I have come to the conclusion that my job isn’t done. There are still so many issues out there and parents need answers.
At any moment parents are championing their children. Some of us are able to do a little more because of who we are. I have come to the conclusion that my blog doesn’t just help me, it also helps those out in the world. At any given time, I have readers from Spain, Africa, India, Europe and of course the USA reading my articles. I have even had people start to follow my blog after I decided to call it quits. My journey can’t be over, because the challenges of being a mother are far from over.
So, in the latest saga of momville. This is the newest issue. Just this morning, I had to write this email. Just because the year is almost over, doesn’t mean we can’t help to make the next one a little better for our children.
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am in the process of sending emails in regards to Ariana and how relationships with her teachers need to be a little more therapeutic in the future. I think it is important for you guys to understand who you are teaching, so, allow me to introduce you to my daughter. Ariana Santiago, your student was a happy go lucky child. She has dealt with ADHD, and ADD all of her life. She was diagnosed with having an IQ of 65 in the third grade. This diagnosis was very defining in our history because it introduced a new type of struggle. We had to reintroduce things to her that people had sworn she couldn’t do. In the end, it resulted in her being tested again some years later. Her IQ then went from 65 to over 70 which puts her still in a sort of a danger zone, but we are still working with her to overcome obstacles. Some of the things we were told that her IQ wouldn’t allow her to do was to use microwaves, cook using detailed recipes or even use money. Your class is important to her because it will help her to attain even more goals. My daughter is a work in progress. She was able to go from having an intellectual disability to not having one in three years.
Now, while all of this is happening inside of her body, on April 4th in 2004, she was attacked by 11 girls. This set us back and even added another issue we were never prepared to deal with. She would then try to commit suicide twice that week as a result of how violent the attack was. She has since had issues dealing with children and social interactions. The schools back in Garland worked with her extensively as well as us. Now, I do not want to point fingers, but your class is important to Ariana. Yet, some of the interactions have to stop in order for your class to not become a constant trigger. One of your first encounters with her dealt with you getting the entire class mad at her which made them upset and react in aggressive ways which resulted in her running out of the class into the bathroom and breaking down on the floor. When she came home she talked about how it made her think about those 11 girls and feelings that we were fighting so hard to help her deal with. So, this latest issue with her bringing a pizza into your class which resulted in her getting suspended because she stated that she would not give it up, has placed us on edge.
Firstly, Ariana now gets how telling you that she purchased it with her money wasn’t the wisest of words, yet she still doesn’t understand why others are allowed to have food in the classroom. As her mother, I have no issues with telling my daughter when she is wrong. As her biggest advocate, I must inform you that if you are allowing others to eat in your room , you are setting up a very confusing situation. I have asked for someone to come to the room from time to time to check in on the treatment of my daughter in regards to you. I am not sure why there are issues or even if there are issues , but since this is the level of your concern ” Hello, this is Mrs. Fyffe. I am Arianna’s Culinary teacher. How can I help?”. I thought it was only warranted to let you know. Being her biggest supporter and a blogger on special events, I hope you take the time to read articles on how to interact with children like her. https://shellzonit.com/2019/03/04/our-children-and-our-reaction-to-bullying/ I will also post this email and send it to all of the teachers who work with my daughter and I hope this will be the start to a better bully free zone for her at your school. Bullying is never okay, no matter who the bullying is coming from.
In case you need more clarification, I have posted my daughter’s medical report from the incident; in case you fear I am just blowing smoke. If nothing else comes from this communication, I hope you understand how important it is for you to help Ariana build relationships in that class and not use your power to bring her down.
Keep fighting for those kiddos. The year was 2014, sorry about the typo for all who sees the posting. The recipient of the email has the right date on the medical record. Sorry, and never stop fighting for your children. Be very careful and mindful if your child has a disability that their rights are always respected. We want to make sure that ALL children have the same respect in and out of the classroom.