Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teachers With Your Child

I don't usually like to post negative things because I feel that being proactive and educating people makes more of a difference than feeding negativity. However, I have to share my most recent experience with everyone not to complain but to make people aware, to make people understand how important it is to stand up for your child. I know there are many, many articles about food allergy moms being overprotective and over reactive but if the mom's are not assuming these roles for their children, who would? Yes, there are some great Doctors, great teachers, great everythings but at the end of the day, this is your child and nobody else will protect them like you will as a mother.

Am I an overprotective mother? I think in some ways but I think I bend in other areas to even myself out. I try to be overprotective in the areas that need to be and be a little more lenient with the issues that are not life and death or do not cause any harm. I will not allow my son to sit at a regular lunch table at school but I will openly answer and and all questions that he asks me about sex, no matter what they are. I protect him yet I open him up to the true world as it is, I don't sugar-coat it and I don't use descriptions that are not true. I want my children, allergic and non-allergic, to know what is really out there and what they will have to learn how to handle as they grow up.

My most recent experience was with a teacher at the school we have been at for three years now. In the past three years, this is the first time I ever had an uneasy feeling leaving my child at school. The school has been great as far as food allergies. They are proactive, they have a meeting each year before school begins and teachers get recertified for the Epipen, questions are asked and answered, etc. That is usually my day to speak directly with my son's new teacher and I usually leave feeling that the communication is good. This year did not follow that path. This year, we attended the meeting and all were there except my son's new teacher. I was told he was here and should be coming to attend soon. Then, after the Epipen training was complete, someone went to get him only to find out he had left. I was angry but my first thought was "Maybe there was an emergency and he had to leave."

Day one of school- I walked my son into his new classroom. I was pleasant and smiled at the teacher. I stood patiently and waited to speak to him because I knew it was a madhouse with the first day of school. When he finally turned to me, I handed him all of my son's items and he stared at me blankly. I finally said "You weren't at the meeting yesterday." He did not offer an excuse or explanation. He ignored my statement and said he would "get with the nurse for Epipen training" to which my response was "Yes, but there are specific things that I needed to discuss with you." He ignored me. I handed him my sons safe snacks, a list of my wishes and his medical bag. He asked if he had his medication with him, I pointed to the bag that I had just handed to him and said "medication bag" and I repeated myself. He looked at me annoyed and I said "Again, this is why we need to have a meeting." I turned and left in anger. As I left, I was more angry at myself for allowing him to dismiss me and allowing him to endanger my child. I felt horrible that I had left my son with him.

End of day one of school- my son tells me they did a project involving food (marshmellows) in the classroom. I immediately become infuriated and my son quickly tells me "It was mini marshmellows and it's the brand we use so it's fine." I am glad my son is fine and I am glad he knows what's ok to use but I am still so angry that I can barely breath.

Day two of school- my heart is pounding and I am sweating because I am trying to think of how to approach this teacher without dragging him down the hallway by his hair. As I am walking to the classroom, he is behind me. "Oh, I was just coming up to see you. We need to set up a meeting, you and I." He looks at me and asks why. I ask him point blank "I understand that you did a food project yesterday in the classroom." His response "No, we didn't." My blood boils and I calmly shoot back "Really, you didn't do anything with marshmellows?" Then I see him stop for a minute and say "Oh, yes but they didn't eat anything." I stopped walking and said "It doesn't matter if he eats things or touches things, he's got allergies and this is why I needed to speak with you." The teacher is now defensive and says "Ok, well, let's go to the office and set that up now."

OK, I am thinking he is finally going to give me the few minutes I need, this is good! WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong! We are standing in the front office with the office administration there (which, I am thankful for!) and he's asking them when the nurse will be in again. My smile fades as I realize he's still stuck on the Epipen

That was it. That was the moment my head burst and I knew I must have been bright red. "You are to go upstairs right now and have my son pack up everything from his desk now! I do not want him in your classroom!" The teacher just said "OK" and the woman in the office came and hugged me. I started to cry a little but I was so angry that the tears just stopped. I pulled away and said "I have to go get my son. I don't want him with that horrible man!" As I am going up to get him, I pass by the teacher who is already telling the story to the neighboring teacher. He sees me and says "I was just explaining-" "Whatever!" I said and kept walking.

I get my son, his medical bag and his snacks and I am walking him back down the hallway. My son is confused and I just keep saying "You are not in trouble. But you are not staying in this man's room another minute!" My son asks "Why? What's going on?" I simply say "Because you are not safe here!"

We wait patiently for the Principal to finish announcements and my son puts his arm around me and says "I love you mom." This makes me feel better. Just that one, tiny moment.

Needless to say, the Principal switched my son right away. He went home that day (which made him oh so upset, I'm sure) but first thing, before school started, I met with his new teachers. Our discussion took 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes to prevent anything from happening. Is it that difficult for other teachers to handle? How many minutes have parents given to the teachers in donating, helping, being at class parties....is it that teachers' time is more important than my time and my son's health?

I am thankful that this happened because I truly feel there would have been something that would have happened to my son. And I truly feel that the previous teacher would have dismissed the warning signs as quickly as he dismissed me. And then I would have been writing about something far, far worse than this....I am just thankful.

No comments:

Post a Comment