Friday, September 7, 2012

Our First Week of School

I debated over writing this post and sharing it with all my readers, but then I decided that there might be something my readers might be able to take away from our experience. I wish I could report that our first week in school was a dreamy, happy experience, but unfortunately it has been a nightmare.

Selena has not been able to adjust easily into the classroom setting. Since the teacher had not said anything to me that she was having problems, I planned on going to a Women’s Bible Study on Wednesday. Selena was worried that I wouldn’t be home while she was in school, and we discussed that it would be OK that Grandma would be there to pick her up. I even let her watch as I set the alarm on my phone telling me it was time to leave to get home in time.

We had a bit of a melt down when we first got to school, but I thought we had worked through it and Selena jumped right into the classroom and went right to work on her craft.

It was nearing time when I would be picking Selena up when my phone rang, I thought at first it was my alarm, and was getting my stuff to leave. I grabbed my phone to realize it was a call from the school. It was a call from the Principal, he had Selena in his office and needed my assistance for some behavior problems. I called as I left the church and let them know I was on my way. What was to come is very disturbing or it was to me.

I arrived at school to find Selena pacing back and forth with her back pack on her back, she was pale, and beginning to look bluish gray, she wasn’t breathing, she was hyper ventilating. I hit the door and quickly stormed in, only to catch Selena in my arms, now sobbing over the sight of me. I got down on my knee and told her to breath, all the while looking around to see why someone in the office had not realized that Selena was not breathing and close to passing out.

The Principal called us into his office, which triggered another anxiety attack, which I quickly was able to calm Selena’s nerves. What was to come next was hearing that my Kindergartener on her 4th day of school was going to be suspendered from school. Yes, you are reading that correctly, she was being suspended because she had an anxiety attack in the classroom and couldn’t breath, so she got up started passing washing her hands, then passing back until it became a run around the classroom, trying to figure out what to do. I came home called our Pediatrician immediately and made an appointment for the very next morning.

I don’t think I have to say how unpleased our Pediatrician was with all of this, she was as upset as I was, and called the school to talk with the Principal. She also recommended that we take Selena to a Pediatric Psychologist who can help her with her anxieties.

When we came home I called to talk to the Principal, I left a message that I wanted a plan in place to prevent this from happening again. It didn’t take him long to call me back. We will meet as a team him, myself and her teacher on Monday to create this plan. Then Selena can return back to school on Tuesday.

Our Pediatrician said we are not to have them even mention IEP, and if in the plan they do not include the opportunity for Selena to test for the accelerated classes, she is to get another call so that she can yet again intervene. It has been very trying and very disturbing to us, and we fully feel the school over reacted and handled this situation in a very poor manner.

We do not know at this point if we will continue with the Public school, that is yet to be determined. I guess if there is any advice I can give is, know your child, have a good relationship with your Pediatrician, and do not ever let the schools take over the situation. You be the proactive party and do the work with the help of those who know your child the best. Don’t let anyone in the school system even begin to label your child unnecessarily. They don’t always have the full picture before placing these labels, and believe me these labels go with your child throughout the rest of their educational years.

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  1. Oh Debbie - I am so sorry to hear this. I am so glad you were there immediately to advocate for Selena. In such a large situation as the public school the teachers and administrators unfortunately have crowd control as their #1 priority (I know - I've done both jobs before). You are so smart to not let them control the situation and you sought help for Selena right away.

    I will be praying for all of you. I know this decision to put her in school wasn't made lightly.... hugs to you my friend.

    1. Yes, I agree Public school isn't anything like it was even when my kids were attending. This school definitely works on discipline first with no reward system in place to help children adjust or learn. Sad, so very sad.

  2. We had a similar experience with my daughter, Katie in which she was sent to stand in the corner facing the wall during gym class because she had an anxiety attack. I didn't hear about it from the school at all, and if Katie had not told me, I never would have known. We took her out of school that day and I have never regretted it.

  3. What a total nightmare and a traumatic experience for Selena. It's good that you had your pediatrician to rely on. I find it very sad that the school cannot have anxiety of a little child. Hopefully your next week is better than this one.

  4. I'm finally able to sit down at the computer to read this in more than a passing manner, and all I can say is WOW Selena sure is lucky to have you as her Grandma.

    I'm so sorry all of you have to go through this, and I'll keep praying for you.

  5. Wow. I am just now reading this. Horrible!! I am so glad you have other options. Praying for you both!!