PA Son Being Denied Trip to The Zoo Because I Can\'t Attend

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 4:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Okay. So, I've mentioned here that Jesse had an upcoming field trip to The Toronto Zoo. I've mentioned here that I was unable to attend because of the hours during which they'll be gone and I have no one to look after Ember. I have assessed the situation, as best as I can, and given that my son is 8-1/2, extremely aware of his allergy and empowered with regard to his allergy, I felt it was okay if Jess went without me.

He has his Epi-belt. He has his emergency medical bag. I have read wonderful stories about experiences other members have had at The Toronto Zoo (how it is PA friendly).

A note has already come home saying that the children are not to be buying their food there, that there is not enough time to queue up.

The school knows that I have a younger child in the school. On Friday, when Ember went to The Peterborough Zoo, I told her teacher that I would love to be going, but I was unable to go because I didn't have anyone to look after Jesse (not assuming that she told this to anyone else).

I get a call this morning from Jesse's teacher. She says it is her understanding that I am not going on the field trip. I say, no, I'm not going because I have no child care for Ember. She says because of Jesse's allergy and his behavioural difficulties, he is not able to board the bus unless I go with him.

I said, excuse me, what behavioural difficulties? (Jesse has had *issues* this year). I said, on Friday afternoon, Jesse's desk was taken from against the chalkboard and he was re-assimilated into the classroom.
It is 10:30 a.m. on the Monday morning, so what "behavioural" thing has happened this morning that I should be aware about and that is so serious that he cannot go on the trip.

She does not have an answer.

I also point out that on June 3rd (or 6th, it's on my calendar), Jesse also went on a field trip without me, which I did assess at the same risk level as the zoo.

She says, I'm not talking to you anymore about this, you will have to speak with the principal. I asked her if she could please have the principal call me and she says NO, you'll have to call back and ask for the principal and leave a message.

I don't know what to do.

I called the superintendent of the school board who I have not called, I do not believe, since September month. I have not called him to complain about the litany of things that have happened this school year that have not been okay as far as I'm concerned re PA. I just could not be bothered. I have posted here how ashamed I am at how I have gone about burying my head in the sand for the whole school year.

I call the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Have to leave a message there also.

I call the superintendent back at 2:30 p.m. He's still not available. I go into more detail with his assistant about how I am leaving his school board district, he won't have to worry about me ever again (touch wood), that I have not bothered him all year, yadda yadda.

I just had a call back from the Ontario Human Rights Commission now as I'm typing this. The woman said that she will try to call the principal and see if she can get through at this late hour.

To her, Jesse going on the field trip is no different than him going to a school that is not "peanut free" on a daily basis (the two people that I have dealt with at OHRC have some really cool brain waves going on).

Anyway, I feel as though I was ambushed. The school knows that if they told me about this even on Friday, I would have had time to *do* something (i.e., with you wonderful people here). But less than 24 hours before the bus leaves?

Any thoughts at this late hour?

Many thanks and best wishes! [img][/img]


Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 5:08am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

What happened? What were the issues that she wanted you to speak to the principal about?

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 5:09am
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

I have a thought on this...
My thought is that you were ambushed at a late hr, and its fairly rude of them to put you and your child in THAT situation...
Thank goodness you're moving on.. sigh...

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 6:28am
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

Holy COW Cindy,
WTH are these people thinking? Would they deny access to a fieldtrip to a child in a wheelchair? This is NOT ok.
If Jesse has done something to warrant not being able to attend the fieldtrip, the onus was on them to let you know "what" he has done and not at the last minute either. We have a child in Wade's class with extreme behaviour issues and he attends all field trips accompanied by an aide. Further, I would ask for an apology from the teacher, she had no right to treat you the way she did. It was just plain rude.
Did the teacher inform you of what they plan to do with Jesse on the fieldtrip day? It is, after all, a regular school day.
What with the news about bill 3 this just confirms to me the need to pass this legislation. Too many of us have to fight just to have our kids basic needs met.
I hope you can get these bozo's to see the light here. Please let me know what happens.
Take care,

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 6:47am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The OHRC called the principal. They were told by him that it wasn't because of Jesse's PA but because of his behaviour. The teacher had said that it was because of his PA and his behaviour mentioning PA first.
So, dead in the water with the OHRC.
Going to the school, I realize I have to tell someone that I need two seats on the bus tomorrow. I call the vice principal. I ask her if they need to know I need two seats on the bus tomorrow. Yes. I said, okay, please book two and then if we can't go, we can't go and you'll have two seats freed up.
She asks me to explain what's going on and I tell her and she said that Jesse did have difficulty on the school yard this morning again throwing sand. Okay.
I suggested to her that perhaps he misbehaves where he feels comfortable - at home and in the school yard or school because I have yet to see him misbehave on a school trip, and believe me, I do not think it is because I am there. She actually hears what I'm saying. However, I still have to go.
I ask if I can find another parent who is going at this late hour, if Jesse could be in their group. No, because groups have already been assigned.
Jesse gets out of school. He tells me that he was told he is in his teacher's group. I said, Jesse, what time were you told this? When the groups were made up this morning. I said Jess, was it before your teacher called me at 10:30, before first recess? Yes.
I said, okay, and no one has told you since that time that you are not allowed to go on the trip unless I go? No.
Get home. The vice principal calls me. She asks me if I have the money to pay for my admission tomorrow. I had had to call the vice principal in May month when the kids brought home all of their field trip information and speak with her about the cost of the field trips and how I would spread payment out over a few months. I said, if I spoke with you last month and said that I could not pay for Jesse going specifically tomorrow (but would post-date cheques to pay for it), do you think perhaps I don't have the money for tomorrow for myself since it was not planned?
Then, she goes on to tell me that on one of the field trips that I have discussed payment with her for, that Jesse's teacher reported to her that I had bought lunch for Jesse and I there. I said yes, I bought a hamburger for $2.00 and a hot dog for $1.00.
I said, wait a minute. It was pizza day at the school. We had pizza day money. I said, Mrs. R. was I supposed to tell the teacher, Mrs. N. that we are sent money by a particular family member each month for pizza and hot dog days? Was that something she needed to know?
Well, well, we just want to make sure that we're not being taken advantage of and that people are paying if they can pay. I said, Mrs. R., I'll have the cheques to you by the end of the week to cover ALL of the costs my children have incurred and my fare for tomorrow.
But can you imagine the teacher watching us like a hawk that day? Should I have gone up and said, Oh, Mrs. N., I know that I have spoken with Mrs. R. about post-dated payments, but jeez, so and so sends us money and I get to buy my lunch to-day? Because it happened to fall on pizza day? Should I have said that? Do I have to wear my bloody poverty on my sleeve?
We then went into discussion about Jesse's behavioural issues and I said, you know, Mrs. R. if a parent goes into the school at the beginning of the school year and says hey, last year, in Grade 2 my child was doing Grade 7 spelling and the teacher says, well tough, he's doing Grade 3 this year, how exactly do you work these things out without banging your head against a brick wall daily?
I said, jeez, for my $75,000.00 a year, I would have sat back and thought, okay, September and October the child has had perfect Grade 3 spelling. Perhaps the parent was not lying (although a check with his previous teacher would have proven I was not lying). Let me give him some Grade 4 spelling and see what happens. But no. Didn't happen. I said, for Lord's sake, Jesse's problems in the classroom are because he's bloody bored.
I said, I am not using boredom as the sole reason for his misbehaviour, but certainly in the classroom. Interestingly enough, the vice principal had had Jesse tested last week to see what Grade 4 teacher would be more suitable, teaching style wise, to meet his needs.
Just had a call from the superintendent and he has been told it is all about behaviour.
So, we'll leave it be at that. [img][/img]
Many thanks and best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 6:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Oh, forgot to mention that the vice principal asked me, out of courtesy, not to try to engage in any conversation with the teacher tomorrow. I said, Mrs. R., you don't have to worry about it. I didn't speak with Mrs. N. on the last field trip we were on. I don't speak with Stepford Wife like people. [img][/img]
(Yes, I am wicked, I am a BAD MOMMY and my child is a little rotter).
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 9:29am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Are any parents driving to the zoo? I know sometimes with field trips they have more parents wanting to go then seats available on a bus. So, if some parents are driving, tell the school you are going and you are taking Ember out of school for the day to go with you.
If no parents are driving, you could ask about bringing Ember on the bus, but I doubt they will agrree to it. They will probably say something about insurance coverage blah blah blah, but the reality is, if she is a student at that school, she is covered. However, you don't have time to prove that.
Good luck to you and Jesse.

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 9:54am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream:
[b]I said, jeez, for my $75,000.00 a year, I would have sat back and thought, okay, September and October the child has had perfect Grade 3 spelling. Perhaps the parent was not lying (although a check with his previous teacher would have proven I was not lying). Let me give him some Grade 4 spelling and see what happens. But no. Didn't happen. I said, for Lord's sake, Jesse's problems in the classroom are because he's bloody bored.
Has *giftedness* in any areas been looked into for Jesse? Does the school have a "gifted" program? I only ask since I am under the impression, and I very well could be wrong, unless part of the standard class programming, *giftedness* is not addressed, unless part of the classroom programming. (Possibly to eliminate any discrepancy in educational offerings and ensure everyone the same opportunity?)
I mean, is there screening for placement in *gifted* programs where such educational opportunity can be offered in a formalized manner?
I think I've read it (and I could be wrong) as something to the effect of some school systems not being required to *maximize* my child's potential, but just ensure the status quo. Unless part of a *gifted* program, and then I'm not sure of the *maximizing* part. Not even sure of the *gifted* part.
Am I way off base? Anyone? This also since I wonder about these issues as well wrt [i]my own cubs[/i] and do not fully understand the obligation of school systems. Of course, I realize you are in Canada, and I am in the U.S., but are there similarities, and am I way off base?
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just asking questions about things I don't know the answer to.

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 11:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

MB, I've wondered that a few times about Jesse too. Has he ever been tested?
I do know a bit about what goes on in Canada, but since Cindy lives in a smaller town some things would be different.
A gifted program may not be available in the area. If it is available does Cindy want to have her child bussed to a further school (also have to consider pa in this decision).
Sorry to be talking about you like you aren't even here Cindy. [img][/img]
There is also the fact of moving often. Testing costs money. A school often does not want to spend money on a student who will be leaving soon. (This comment comes specifically from some school principals I have dealt with in the past.)
But, Cindy, if you do move back to *the big city*, it is something you should look in to for Jesse.
Cindy, I honestly have thought about this regarding Jesse. But, I find I'm going way OT in this thread. (I just deleted several paragraphs.) I don't want to ram anything down your throat - but if you are open to discussing this let us know - or if you want send me an e-mail.

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 11:46am
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

Cindy, I'm so sorry this is happening to you guys. I am so glad you guys are getting the he** out of there!! What a bunch of idiots.
Unfortunately there is no way to prove it is over pa and not behavior. Just be glad there are only a couple days left and you never have to deal with these people again.
And I cannot believe you have to justify buying $3.00 worth of food to them! What a joke.
Hang in there, its almost over.

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 1:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted emotionally and physically. I will respond to everyone who so kindly responded tomorrow. I really appreciate each and every word that is said.
Anna Marie, I don't mind if you take the thread off topic to discuss something you have in mind re Jess.
Basically, my understanding of the system is that to be considered "gifted" and qualify for a "gifted" program, and it's I believe an IEP (Individualized Education Program), Jesse would have to be considered and test gifted in ALL subjects.
I have spoken with schools here about it before and because he excels in say spelling and reading and math but perhaps not in art, music and gym, they won't advance him as far as the subjects he excels in, because the other ones he's at grade level in.
Does that make sense?
On the other hand, my daughter had great difficulty with reading and spelling this year in Grade One and I did ask her teacher first of all for extra help for Em for reading, but also to let me know by the end of the school year if she felt Em needed an IEP for reading and spelling.
So, if a child is falling behind, or considered below grade level in certain subjects, they can qualify for an IEP and receive extra attention through the IEP for specific subjects and still remain in their next Grade.
What has been suggested to me in this school board district, and it was suggested again to-day by both the vice principal and superintendent is that Jesse needs to be in what I consider a "free school". They were very popular in high schools in Toronto in the 1970's and there is a "free school" here in Belleville for elementary students.
A further sad note to the whole story. [img][/img] This morning, each child whose parent had volunteered to go on the trip was asked to choose what fellow classmates he/she wanted to go in their group with their Mom/Dad/whatever.
Jesse's teacher, for whatever reason, let Jesse remain in the classroom while the selection was being done, even though she was going to call me within an hour to say that he could not go because of "behavioural reasons".
He was not picked by any children to join their group. I always press him to see if he's telling me the whole story and he did tell me that one other child also wasn't picked to go in a child's group.
That's why he was told by his teacher that he would be in the teacher's group and the other child also was going to be in the teacher's group.
I don't know, and perhaps I do need to take an anger management course myself, but Chrikey, if I was left to be centered out and not chosen by any of my classmates to go in a group I would be hurt and angry. Jeez, if I was inclined to throw sand at recess, I'd probably go out and throw some sand because dammit I'm hurt and upset.
Why was he not allowed to go on the trip? The very specific reason given was the throwing of the sand on the school yard this morning.
I'm not making excuses for Jess. He has to learn how to deal with hurt, disappointment and anger in an appropriate manner.
Just a really sad situation.
momma2boys, as for the $3.00, well, I was thinking about that when I was coming back from the grocery store tonight. I am absolutely humiliated. I don't even want to show my face at the school again.
I had dealt with the vice principal about the payment for the field trips. Quite frankly, I don't feel that's any of the teacher's business. I *could* have said that I didn't have to pay for them period since they are curriculum related and go against the Ministry of Education Act, as I have posted many times here (I have even posted the section of the Act to reference).
That's not what I did. What I did do was ask if I could work out a payment arrangement with her.
The teacher was bugging Jesse a couple of weeks ago about money for one of the trips. I told him to tell the teacher to please speak with her boss, Mrs. R. Well, Jess didn't want to do that. So, in I go and I speak with the teacher and I say, I have already spoken with Mrs. R. about the payment of the trip.
On the next form that I get home for the next trip, I ask that the teacher, Mrs. N. should she have any concerns about payment of the trip, please not to discuss it with my son, but to either call me or to speak with Mrs. R.
I am extremely hurt and upset by all of this.
At any rate, what happened tonight was I spoke with Jess and asked him if he really wanted to go on the trip tomorrow (this was before I found out about how the choosing of the groups had been done) and he said that no, he would rather stay home with me (same as last trip). I said Jess, this isn't because I'm sick. I'm very upset and angry with the school and I feel like not going because it's a matter of principle almost, but if you really want to go, it's totally okay with me buddy, I'm in.
No, I don't want to go.
The thing is, we'll be in Toronto within a couple of months anyway (not that we'll be that close to the zoo, it is pretty far away from most of Toronto) and we can do it then.
Just thinking about having to get on the bus with a woman that obviously is going to watch to see if I have any cash on me and buy anything at the gift shop (that whole thing again [img][/img] ) and not being able to speak to her at all for such a long bus ride, well, I just don't feel I should put myself in that position. And by being in that position, I'll be in a rotten mood my son doesn't need to experience for the sake of a trip to a zoo.
Also, interesting that she should notice when I spend $3.00 to feed my son and I one day, but how she didn't comment to the school at all about how I had to pay for different children's trinkets on different field trips during this school year.
I actually want to take Jesse out of school finishing tomorrow. I won't do it because Em still has to go regardless, but I am just bone weary.
Again, thank-you for listening and your thoughts and concern and I will respond to everyone properly once I feel better.
(Yes, I do have KICK ME written on my forehead [img][/img] )
Best wishes! [img][/img]



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