Your child standing up for himself.

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 7:04am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My son's teacher told me today that he was speaking out about his food allergies and what he could not have or be around. He told a boy yesterday that he could not have the chocolate ice cream at his peanut free table. She said this needed to be handled by the teachers. She said that he also watched her go thru the lunch boxes.
I do not know what to do. He is his best advocate. There have been some instances this school year that if he had not spoken up for himself, I hate to think what might have happened. He is under a 504 and his teachers and the school are supposed to be aware of his LFTA's. BUT, his teacher offered him a cupcake. He knows he cannot have these things. If he had not raised his hand and told her that he could not have it, what would have happened to him.
I have taught him since we knew about his peanut allergy, what he could and could not have. I have told him not to accept things from anyone unless I told him it was okay. I have told him to keep away from things that he could not have. He is not neuorotic about it (not like me), but he knows what to do to keep himself safe.
I told the teacher this. I told her that I could not see me telling him to shut up and not watch out for himself. I told her that if he had not spoken up for himself these times he has this year, I would hate to think what would have happened to him. She tucked her head.
What should I do? How should I handle this. My son does not need to be rude about it, BUT on the other hand he has to stand up for himself. If anyone could give me some insight, I would greatly appreciate this.
Krusty Krab if you are out there, I need a crabby patty.

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 8:32am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

If a child learns that speaking up is not acceptable, I shudder to think of that child not feeling well due to a reaction, and not telling anyone. Of course your son ought not to be rude. Perhaps you should speak to him about including the teacher in helping him advocate for his safety. Then you can truly learn if the teacher is very dismissive with his concerns, or if she indeed has his best interests at heart. But no, flat out denying your child speak up for himself is wrong on so many levels.
I think I would first send a letter, document what happened, what was said, and add your beliefs in how vitally important it is for your child to be allowed self-advocate and learn how to manage his surroundings. Our children need to rapidly mature ahead of others in this regard, it's [i]vital[/i] and ought to be [i]fully encouraged [/i]. In fact, I might even ask 'why was DS not encouraged to self advocate?' I'd be interesting in hearing the answer. Someone may be on an authority trip.
Secondly I would talk to DS and tell him just how pleased you are with the skills he is showing. Let him know [i]someone[/i] is proud of him. You want him to continue on that path.
Do you want pickles on your patty?? heh heh heh...

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 11:16am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I believe you when you say they must learn to self advocate for themselves. That is what I have been teaching him since we found out his allergies. I spoke with him and told him not to be rude about it. I told him that he needs to raise his hand and let the teachers take care of it. I told him it was not wrong to stand up for himself, but to not be rude about it.
I think the letter thing is a good idea. I asked the teacher to discuss this in an email, but she say the tone might me taken wrong. I don't think her or anybody else wants to discuss via email because of paper trail.
Things seem so much worse since he has a 504. I have read and researched and I just believe they do not understand. And maybe my problem is that I understand all to well and I know they are doing wrong and it drives me crazy.
I posted a topic not long ago about problems with his 504 and you responded. I have sent a letter to the 504 cooridinator and listed problems to date. She said she would have to talk to the school before she could make an opinion. She said that the statement about his class being peanut free could not be more clearly stated than it was in his 504. The teacher told me today it was a matter of interpretation. I just do not think she interprets it at all. She says because the kids bring it in she has to let them have it.
I want to try and do what you said before I contact the OCR. Every time I say anything though, they say I am being nit picky. My closest friend says I am being crazy and I should just consider home schooling him. There is another mother at school that has a child allergic to peanuts and she told the school to let him sit with everyone else. She is much more lax than I am I guess. My comfort level is lower. My kids allergist though has been very exact about what they could and could not have. She is the one that suggest the peanut free table. The table is better than last year when he sat outside the lunchroom every time there was something on the menu that was in question. Anyway the other mother I guess makes me look crazy. Sometimes I just do not know what to do.
Thank you for the advice. I respect your opinion. I am so happy to be able to talk with other parents who understand what our kids go through.
Thank you again, and yes I want pickles and mustard! ha ha

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 11:47am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

I would never 'ask' anyones permission to send an email, I would just do it. And when they don't respond, I'd send another email asking them to please respond, as you would like to see to it that the matter is taken care of. OR begin your letter writing campaign. Write every date down of every brush off, or delay.
Did you ever send in a request to reconvene your 'team' to discuss said problems?
[b]Every time I say anything though, they say I am being nit picky.[/b]
If it were me, I would not be discussing these things informally with these people. Unless it is on paper, it didn't you understand? You need to stick to formal communication. If it were me, I'd send them a letter with your concern that Mrs. X is uncertain of how accomodation Y is to be carried out and that the team must meet [i]immediately[/i] for it directly affects the safety of your child. You do realize that is exactly what is going on here. You can be certain if someone was exhibiting behavior that they did not understand or willfully was violating the terms of my childs 504, they'd be in a meeting faster than I could say 504. At your meeting, bring a pen and write down the crazy things they are telling you. Ask whoever tells you the crazy things to please put it in writing. If they are going to play nasty, I know people have had to resort to audio taping (with everyone knowing about it) their meetings in order to show a school's tactics. Bring a friend or hire an advocate to sit in with you, so they can attest to what was said.
They are just going to put you off as long as they possibly can unless you hold their feet to the fire. You have every right to set a reasonable deadline for them to respond to you, schedule a meeting, if you will. And don't fool yourself, it [i]is [/i]important...someone isn't doing their job and your child is left without someone looking out for him.
Forget completely about other parents or friends and what they think you should or should not do. You must do what is right for you and your family.

Posted on: Tue, 04/22/2008 - 3:35am
TraciT's picture
Joined: 10/26/2007 - 12:48

Sounds like you are getting some great advice from the above posts. I just wanted to say...
YOU MUST BE SO PROUD OF HIM!!!! It sounds like you are raising a very responsible young man.

Posted on: Tue, 04/22/2008 - 11:14am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thank you! And you are right, I have gotten some great advice from here. We have to raise our children to be safe. If we are not there to watch them, our children have to self advocate for themselves.

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