The IA at school (kinda long)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
The IA at school (kinda long)
7
Thu, 03-23-2006 - 2:17pm

Hi,

I need to know what you guys think before I feel like I'm nuts. I'll preface you with the small details to give you a clear picture of what is behind what's going on.

Our family moved to this area a week before school started so we were new to the town and school. In the first week of our new school, my son tells me a teacher grabbed him and dragged him back to his seat in the lunch room. I've told me son, that no teacher should ever yell at him, call him names or get physical with him in discipline and to tell me if anything like that happens. So he told me about this while I picked him up from school. I was horrified. I parked and went into the office and told the secretary what my son said. The lady that did this turned out to be an IA on duty in the lunch room and was in the office when I went in and I didn't know it. she was very rude and mean as she explained why she grabbed my son. She acted as though how dare I have a problem with her grabbing my son because she told him to sit down a few times before. I don't care how many times she tells my son to sit down, when she uses physical force to discipline him I will have a problem with that. I think she needs more skills and patience. The principle wasn't understanding and asked me silly questions like, "What if my son is getting out of line or going the wrong way in line and an adult guides him back with their hand." I was not sure if she was mocking me by asking me that question because surely I would expect the principle to understand kindly guiding a child with your arm or hand and disciplining while being visibly frustrated by grabbing my child's shoulders and marching him and sitting him down in his seat are two different things. So this incident left me feeling like they did not care of my conern. I got over it and let it go and instructed my son to stay seated and to follow rules.

Now, yesterday when I arrived to pick my son up from school, I was waiting in the vehicle line and watched him play with his friends. When I pulled up to get him, he ran to my vehicle roaring like a monster like he does sometimes. This same IA from our previous issue in the lunch room, normally supervises the afterschool pickups and I've maintained a good relationship with her despite what happened. On this day, when my son got into the vehicle she came over before he shut the door for us to leave, and started buckling his seatbelt for him which she does not normally do, while threatening him with a time out if he doesn't settle down. Me and my son were both puzzled as to what she was talking about, so I asked "Why, what happened?" She replied, "He was running through the trees."

This didn't make sense to me. First of all, she was in his face while buckling him up telling him Quote, "If you dont' settle down, you'll have a tree for a buddy." Which means he'll have to stand by a tree in time out. Secondly, I did not see him running through the trees like she said. He had run a short distance to my vehicle to get in because he was excited to see me and let out a monster roar. Thirdly, Plenty of kids were playing with each other while waiting and she was not telling then anything, so I was confused as to why she thought my child needed to be threatened with time out by a tree,a when he was getting into my vehicle to go home.

So what I need from you guys, is to tell me if this is a valid concern and how do I handle this. When I called the school and told the secretary I had an issue to speak to the principle about my thinking, what this teacher said to my child as she buckled him into my vehicle, as being inappropriate. The counselor instead, called me back and although he was very nice, I am not sure he understood why I thought what she said and did was inappropriate.

What do I do when I disagree with the way an IA or school official, in this case, talks to my child, in the previous case, physcially handled my child?

Thanks guys, your support and thoughts are much needed.
-clover

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Thu, 03-23-2006 - 5:38pm

Well it doesn't QUITE sound abusive, but it certainly sounds like the IA is lacking in her child-handling skills. I would also be concerned about the situation.

Honestly, I am not sure what I would do. Have you talked with any other parents? Are they concerned by their observations of this woman?

Let me think on this a little, and I'll write more later.

Susan

P.S. I have to say that I have spent many hours volunteering in my son's school and I have NEVER seen a teacher lay anything other then a friendly hand on a student. That goes for all the outdoor assistants as well.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Thu, 03-23-2006 - 6:38pm

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your reply and I look forward to reading more that you have to write later. I haven't talked to any other parents about it. I am still getting to know people at the school. When the counselor called me yesterday to talk about my issue, he told me that she had instances when parents chewed her out. My husband says this lady obviously has confrontations.

In more detail the counselor explained a situation; a parent was picking their kid up in an undesignated spot near the road and the IA went over and told the parent something about it, then the parent got out of her truck and "chewed" the IA out. I am not sure if the counselor told me about this to make a point to me of parents getting upset when the IA does her job. When I picture the situation he described, I pictured the IA being rude or appearing rude. I do not think she knows how to deal with rule enforcement in a kind manner. I think she tends to be offensive.

Today, when I picked up my son from school, I noticed she wasn't out there supervising the children and seen her walking a young child to a handicap bus. She normally assists the mentally challenged kids, which I would expect her to be more kind, gentle and understanding with children in general.

Thanks again,
clover

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Sat, 03-25-2006 - 9:49pm

I kind of go back and forth with my thoughts/opinions!


I mean the IA shoudl definately not be aggressively putting her hands on your child, but..........


I hope that you haven't let these issues take the attention away from your sons behavior!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Sat, 03-25-2006 - 10:40pm

Hi Foxymomof3,

Thanks for you reply. I understand your concern and I have examined both situations and my child's overall school conduct. Both of these incidents were with the same IA. My child has no problem with any other school offcial, his teacher or principle. His teacher is very fond of him and I get no bad reports from her. I am not one of those parents that allow ill manners and inappropriate behavior. My son knows to behave at school and respect others and when there's a need for me to take privaledges away, I do not hesitate. In these two instances, with the same IA, when no one else has a problem with my son, tells me that the problem may lie with her handling skills.

The first situation, as I explained, was in the lunch room and my son got up to get a letter I sent in his lunch bad back from friends because they were playing keep away from him. He was not acting up with bad manners or ugliness, he was defending the letter his mommy sent with him in his lunch (won't do that again) because fellow kids snatched it out of his hands and wouldn't give it back. I would say that this IA should have been sensitive to his situation and helped him in his time of need instead of seeing him as a problem. She didn't stop, think, or even ask the kids what was going on, she just assumed my son was a bad kid not listening, when he could have used her assistance.

The second was with the same IA, and my son was not doing anything. I watched him the whole time as I waited in line. I watched all of the kids and did not see a problem with any of the kids. And the IA was on the opposite side of the waiting area as my son was. When he seen me he ran over and got into the vehicle. We were happy and things were fine for my son and I, then the IA came over and took it upon herself to buckle my son's seatbelt before he shut the door, which would have been ok, if she didn't get into his face, intimidating him while saying "If you don't settle down, you'll have a tree for a buddy." I did not see what constituted her to say that to him, especially in his face so harshly, while he sat in my back seat.

Now, I realize school officials needs to make sure kids follow rules and respect others and be safe, but if any school official does it in a way that humiliates, intimidates, or is aggressive to a child, then I know they are overstepping boundaries. This IA oversteps personal boundaries every child is entitled to, and the counselor I talked to admitted that many parents have "chewed" her out.

I do think, IA's like this give good IA's a bad name.

Like I said, no one else has a problem with my son, so I do stand by my belief in not accepting the way she treated my child on both occassions.

Thanks for you support and replies guys!

clover

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Sun, 03-26-2006 - 12:07am

Clover, I have been thinking about it and have absolutely nothing helpful to say! :)

Can you sort of quietly ask his teacher about this IA? You know, just to get a feel for her? Can you approach the IA directly and speak with her about the situation? Can you write an official letter of complaint to the principal, who I know already doesn't really seem all that helpful? But you are a good writer and it might be more effective to put this down in a letter. I almost think that since this is an IA we are talking about and NOT a teacher, who would have much more daily contact with your son, that maybe you would be better off just telling your son to try to steer clear of her.

Weird situation - I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. I think that as you get to know parents better you will hear things that will either explain her behavior or else confirm your initial suspicions about her. Then you may be in a better position to decide whether or not this is worth raising a big stink over.

Take care,

Susan

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2004
Sun, 03-26-2006 - 12:17am

Hi Susan,

Your idea of official letter of complaint is a good idea that I'll keep in mind if I ever need to go that far. But, I think for now I will not make a big deal since I've expressed my concern to the school and the counselor called me back to discuss it. I will just tell my son to make sure he follows all the rules he is suppose to and do our best to stay clear of this IA. I think considering my involment in my child's adherance to rules and saftey guidelines, I will be more confident in voicing my concerns when my son's boundaries are crossed. Thanks Susan.

Thanks guys,
clover

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-03-2006 - 2:55pm

Hi Clover! I just wanted to add a few points. =)


First, I am thinking she sees tings with him during the day that maybe others don't??? That's the only reason I can imagine that he is getting more "attention" than the other kids. The other thing ot consider is that he is new to this school, right? I think I read that. Maybe he is doing things others aren't and it doesn't appear "different" to you becaue you are momma and know him. It may be different and stand out to the teachers because they are the ones who can actually compare is behavior to othes. Does that make sense?


In either case, I'd just stay involved with hte school and let the teachers know you will back them up. Ask what you can do specifically to help him. That may give them the opportunity to share things with you so you can better understand where they are coming from. KWIM?


What do you think? How have things been going lately?

Janet


A proud mommy

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