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Is the School Intentionally Trying to Piss Him Off?

I have had a hell of a day! The Tot screaming, my IPad screen got shattered, and the baby was very cranky and crying all day long.  Horrible, awful, terrible, very bad, no good day.  Then the little man comes home from school and says, “Mom, don’t bother giving me a dollar for ice cream tomorrow. I lost my ice cream privileges.”

The school has a disciplinary system that starts with a green dot (no behavior problems), then the first offence goes to yellow, and the second to red.  Once the child gets a red dot, they lose recess–not for the day, but for the entire week!  AND they lose the “privilege” of buying ice cream in the lunchroom at lunchtime!

First, I have an issue with the loss of recess for the entire week because it is the only “social” time the children get.  Did I mention they also lose recess if they are missing a homework assignment, a parent signature, or fail tests!  (None of these things are “bad behaviors”)They must eat silently.  Yes–they have “silent” lunches.  They are only allowed to whisper to the person next to them or read after they finish their meal.  Then they must walk silently through the halls, and while on lines in the school–silence in the classroom of course, and last but not least–last year my son was on a “silent” bus and was “written-up” for talking to the kid that sits next to him.  Are you freaking kidding me?

I might point out that when I went to school to eat with my child in the lunchroom I sat there next to him silently because he informed me he was not allowed to talk at lunch.  The teachers table, however, was making a racket.  Those teachers were chatting, laughing, and carrying on–they should be made to sit and eat in silence not being allowed to talk to their co-workers.  This is not normal!

Now back to the behavior dots I was discussing.  Apparently, little man’s dot was changed twice today and now sits on red!  First he hummed to himself in the hallway–well he humms to himself all the time, and most times doesn’t even realize he is doing it.  Dot flip number one.  Dot flip number 2, has me nearly ready to “flip”!

The children must mark a slip of paper indicating what they want for lunch (out of the choices given for that day). They have ten minutes first thing in the morning, then the teacher picks up the slips.  The Little Man was in the school library (with permission) this morning trading in his books for new ones.  He was not in the classroom during those ten minutes, and when he got back the slips were already picked up. He didn’t fill out the slip (that was no longer there), so his dot got flipped again!

First of all, the kid wasn’t there.  And even if he was, and simply forgot to fill out the lunch slip, can someone tell me how that is a disciplinary issue?  Humming to yourself, especially unconsciously, and forgetting to do a task are not disciplinary, nor should they be punishable offenses!

Forgetfulness does not equal willful defiance, disobedience, or misbehavior!

 

QUICK UPDATE:

Little Man came in today to inform me that he was slightly mistaken.  He was only on “yellow” yesterday, but will still lose out on getting ice cream tomorrow because he had missed a homework assignment.  You need to not have ANY missed assignments for the week in order to get to buy ice-cream at the end of the week.  Apparently, he forgot his weather log in school earlier in the week so he didn’t have the log done.  Again, he forgot something–is punished for forgetting even after multiple discussion about the teacher helping ensure all assignments are written down and he has everything he needs in his book bag to bring home at the end of the day.  This is something the little guy has struggles with!

I will be bringing their agreement to help in this area, and THEIR failure to follow through while punishing my child at the meeting on the 25th.  I am keeping a list.

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Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.