Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cuz I Know There's Got to be Another Level Somewhere Closer to the Other Side

Griffin had a very awful, suck-ass day at school yesterday.

For starters, I waited for him outside his classroom. Apparently I was suppose to be outside. Oops.

So when I realized I was suppose to wait for him outside, I told him I'd be with the other parents and I'd see him in a few minutes.

More than ten minutes later, the kids were brought to us. Fifteen minutes pass the time they should have been out. And, of course, by then Griffin had lost all his shit.

I don't know why, but Griffin has some serious abandonment issues. He's always afraid I'm gonna forget him and I never had.

When the kindergarten teacher (not his teacher, the other one) brought the kids to the parents, she made Griffin wait to be last to come outside. What the fuck? Seriously? I'm standing right there. He calmed down like you asked. Why the fuck would you torture my kid like that dipshit?

It took me a good five minutes to calm him down. As we were walking away from the school I tried to divert Griffin's attention from the end of the day. I asked him if his applesauce he picked out for his snack was good.

(Due to our extensive allergies, the school is under strict orders not to give him anything other than plain water unless I have provided it.)

Then Griffin had a total, complete meltdown. No, he said. The teacher did not give him his applesauce. She yelled at him. Other kids got a snack but he did not.

So we turned around to go find the teacher.

Of course, the teacher couldn't be found, she was at lunch but not in the class room nor the teacher's lounge. I asked that she call us later in the day.

When we got home, Griffin was still upset. He could barely talk (good lordy, this is a long story). So I gave him an applesauce and half way through it he began to calm down.

Turns out the class did an activity completely involving gingerbread men. For snack, the kids each got a gingerbread man cookie. The teacher gave Griffin a gluten-free cookie (that I had provided at Kindergarten Conference).

It took over 15 minutes for me to explain to Griffin that he did get a snack, it was a cookie. He just Did Not Get It, because of course he would have rather had the applesauce instead of the cookie. So then we had to have another conversation about how the teacher is the boss and if she decides to change his snack it's okay as long as it's food Mommy has provided.

Way later in the day, the teacher called. The first words out of her mouth were Griffin had a very bad day at school.

She went on to tell me that he was very chatty (gee, I wonder where he gets that from) and had a hard time listening.

Apparently, she made him miss an entire 15 minute activity and sit in time out because he wouldn't sit on the floor and say his name.

Time out for 15 minutes? Doesn't that seem a little excessive?

Then she went on to complain that he won't look her in her eyes.

Woman, I know. Did you not read all his paper work? He has Sensory Integration Disorder. He's unofficially High Function Autism. Did you not read up on this?

Oh yeah, she read it. But then she goes on to tell me how sever it is. And she's never seen it so sever.

And let me just say this lady is old enough to be my parent. Don't tell me you've never been exposed to a child that isn't Perfectly Mainstream Oh My Holy Hell.

And then she goes on to say oh no, he's perfectly normal.

What the fuck? I'm starting to think the teacher is bi-polar.

Then we went on to talk about the snack issue and she says on Thursday she's giving raisens and Griffin can participate in that.

Uh, NO HE CAN'T. So once again, I had to get into the whole Allergy Issue and if she wants to let me know what's going on ahead of time I'll be more than happy to pack a similar snack or provide her with a variety of snacks for him but she IS NOT ALLOWED TO FEED HIM FOOD UNLESS I HAVE PROVIDED IT.

So then I had to go on and give her a 10 minute lecture of the FDA and food practices and how due to the FDA being a bunch of Dumb Fucks and allowing gluten to be used as an anti-caking agent on foods and that doesn't have to be listed on the ingredient list and Griffin will get very sick and he has more allergies than "just" wheat she's not allowed to give him something I have not provided.

At that point, I took the opportunity to inform her that next week Griffin has a re-evaluation for his sensory disorders (yes, two) and if she would like to provide the Occupational Therapist with some notes I'm sure they'd appreciate it. Her reaction was like I told her I'd take her out for the Biggest Hot Fudge Sundae Ever.

THEN the says she's giving him fruit punch tomorrow at snack time. ::banging head on table:: No, you are not. Most fruit drinks have gluten OH MY FUCK.

Seriously. I am this close to start calling other schools in our district to see if anyone has a better food allergy policy.

I'm trying really hard to not be an asshole. Really hard.

And I realize there is an adjustment period and the school has to learn about this issues.

But it's really fucking concerning when I filled out paperwork at Kindergarten Roundup and went into great detail about these things. And I talked to his teacher for 45 minutes on the phone two weeks ago and went into great detail about these things. And I filled out more paperwork at Kindergarten Conference and went into great detail about these things. And then I had to tell her THREE TIMES yesterday and went into great detail about these things AND SHE'S STILL NOT GETTING IT.

And to top it all off, Griffin did not get to do any science yesterday.


Oil Cloth Junkie said...

yeah, so far, kindergarten is no fun. Good luck, hon.

Amy said...

Oh man. What a sucky experience.......for both you and D. You can't tell me this teacher hasn't experienced food allergy issues and social/behavioral issues with children before and know how to deal with it by now! And a 15 minute Time Out? On the first fricken day of school? Way to make the kids feel safe and have them WANT to come back the next day. I can't say enough about how bad I feel for you. I am having such a hard time having my middle one go off to Kindergarten and so far she has been fine!!! It's me that's the neurotic hovering mom. But your experience would cause me to whip her out and homeschool her. I sincerely hope things improve drastically or else the Administration is going to get an earful. Go ahead, give us all their email!!!!

amy h said...

Aw, poor Griffin -- that sucks! I'm really surprised the teacher hasn't dealt with this stuff before. That is pretty weird.

Anonymous said...

Well that sucks. I hope today is better. And the day after, and the day after....

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Where's that clue? Because I think I need to find it and send it to her.

Fifteen minutes for a timeout? EXCESSIVE.

Chickenbells said...

Oh no...I am SOOO sorry about this! WTF?! I don't ever remember having a snack provided by the school, we ALWAYS had to bring our own from home...which was great because I had food allergies, and my mom was a lovely hippie who did not believe in RED dye fruit punch and a bunch of fucking sugar. Seriously, WTF is wrong with this woman? Who in their right mind would have an activity that included cookies with SUGAR in them, and then feed them to a bunch of kids, and expect them to be OK? And 15 minutes in Time Out? WTF?! I don't think she gets it (yet another reason my mom pulled my niece out of school after half a semester of kindergarten, and started home schooling her...drastic, but she is succeeding and not ill from the wrong food)

PamKittyMorning said...

That is all just crazy talk. I can't believe it. I hope this resolves itself soon so everyone can have an enjoyable year!

Kim -today's creative blog said...

I can't imagine how frustrated you are and you have a right to be. Sounds like this teacher is on remote control and close to retiring. She is not listening to you. Is there a waldorf school around? I wonder if they would be better to meet his needs. Does he have an IEP from the state or otherwise? Yes, 15 min is a long time for his age....and especially for his issues. 15 min is a long time for my son who is 8 and has no known issues. Poor Griffin.
Now you have me all worried about what she may give him thinking it is fine.......if she even thinks.
Good luck my friend, keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sounds like a really dense teacher. She really doesn't get the allergies or the celiac disease or the autistic spectrum thing. (Is it "severe" or is it "perfectly normal"? ARRRGH!) I wish I could send your our kindergarten teacher from last year.

Jersey Knitting Mama said...

Oh, poor kid! I am so sorry Griffin had to go through that. 15 minute time out????? what the hell? I wanted to cry reading your post. You have to keep fighting for your child. This teacher is a bad listener. It might not a bad idea to keep researching for more caring environment your son. I am in te process of doing that for Fall 08. Best of luck! Big hug to both of you!

Kristy said...

Any amount of time out on the first day of school is totally unacceptable.I bet a heap of kids aren't prepared to say a word on their first day either.
Poor lad no applesauce or science!

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to talk to the principal. She sounds like a wack-job.

P.S. What happened to one minute for every year in time out?

Anonymous said...

Oh, crap. I hope today is better. Poor little thing. I was hoping things would go smoothly for him.

The snack issue is such a hard one. We had to bring snacks in for awhile, then they stopped giving them.

In the first grade, they get lunch and that's it. My little skinny snacker is totally starving by 3:15.

heatherfeather said...


sigh... here's to hoping kindergarten gets more fun soon.

Jessicah said...

Well that sounds really crap. Hope things work out in the end...however you reach that conclusion.

LJ said...

laminate a card that says I have allergies (turn over card for more info in big bold letters.
on back of card write please do not give me anything unless Pre-approved by my parents or call them if you like-phone numbers in school file. thank you for your cooperation.

besides that---i smell homeschool

Anonymous said...

I'm outraged for you and your family! I (wrongly)assumed that teachers were there to help your kids and look out for them and provide a SAFE environment for them. I hope you can work things out for him. It makes me nervous--my oldest will be starting Kindergarten in two weeks. AYE!!!

Anonymous said...

Holy hell. What an awful day for Griffin. I am so sorry for him and for you. I'm stressed out just reading this post. I so hope something can be done to make this better...maybe just a new teacher would do the trick? Then again, home school anyone? anyone?
Give the poor kid a hug for me.

Dana said...

Oh man!! Have you considered a meeting with ALL kindergarten teachers and the principal and vice principal, etc. If your issues are still not attending to your satisfaction then take it to the school board.
I'm sooo sorry that it is like this for you guys.

Anonymous said...

dude, that blows big time. Can we just know who the hell thinks giving a kid way too much time out the first day of school is a way to gain his trust?

And my kids have no allergies, but if I found out they were being served PUNCH without my permission I would be pissed! Has anyone ever heard of natural products for children?

Anonymous said...

I hate hearing things like this. Poor guy. And poor you. And the teacher needs to get a clue.

If I were you, I'd take it to the principal.

Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurkdom...
Poor Griffin.
We used to have a child at our school who had a fatal peanut allergy. His mom had bright haz-mat orange stickers printed up that said, "If you feed me, I could DIE," or something to that effect. He was in preschool and was too young to know not to take food that he couldn't have, and she was, understandably, very worried. Griffin may be too old for that kind of measure, but I think a meeting with all teachers that could come in contact with him, and the administration, is a good idea. And you need to make sure the teacher has it posted in the classroom, and in her substitute folder, so that anyone who comes in to fill in will have that info.
Hang in there - it'll get better.

Anonymous said...

Laura, have you got any photos of him with severe skin type reactions that you can show her? seriously? Some people don't get it until they see physical evidence. My sister has coeliac disease and I didn't really understand how serious it is until she was diagnosed. I thought gluten would give her a stomach ache or something - not destroy her digestive tract and shorten her life!

Anonymous said...

well. where to start. it seems like it's Long Comment Day today.

that SUCKS!!! for so many reasons. i had problems with thomas' preschool teacher re: diet, too (you mean he can't have microwave popcorn? with butter? grrrr. i explained over and over). you should stencil him a shirt that says 'please don't feed the bear'.

as far as the other stuff - does griffin not have an iep or anything? did the teacher know about his 'issues' before school started? it is inexcusable to have him miss SCIENCE (of all things) just for something that stupid.
would there by chance be another teacher that would be a better match for griffin? for some reason it seems like the ones our moms age have the hardest time understanding the diet stuff and also the ASD stuff.
i agree with kirsty, too - bring her photos to show her what happens.

schools are dumb.

Wendy said...

You definitely need to talk with the principal, like right now.

Tell them exactly what happened, including everything that was said during the phone call. Write it out in bullet points and leave a copy with them. Ask the principal if she/he thinks the teacher's behavior is acceptable, considering all the extra issues involved with Griffin. And if not, ask exactly what will be done to fix the situation.

Then make an appointment with the principal for one week from now, and another one for a week after that telling them that you hope at that meeting all you'll have to talk about is how well the teacher is doing and how great Griffin is adjusting to school.

Also mention that you're sure there must have just been some serious miscommunication somewhere, but you're sure everything will be straightened out immediately. Use the word UNACCEPTABLE in as firm and as nice a voice as you can muster, and as many times as necessary until you have the principal nodding in agreement.

Once they know that you're gonna be a pain in their ass, they make you a higher priority. Trust me.

lera said...

Poor Griffin! What a miserable day! I would have been crying and freaking out all day, too.

The teacher seems dense. I think you need to repeat the same words to her every time you see her and in response to any/all question(s) she asks. Start with "Please do not feed him food unless I have provided it" and then answer the question she asked.

Anonymous said...

Oh poor little Griffin!

Seriously, 15 minutes? thats just mean, I don't even make my 7 year old time out that long.

My son's preschool has major rules for allergies, and it helps since my son has a peanut one. They even make me get three epi-pens for each area of the facility.

Heidijayhawk said...

poor baby!!! poor mama! sounds like you really may need to look into changing teachers. talk to the principal as well. they all need to be on the same page. you are doing such a good job baby!

Unknown said...

Does Griffin need "Aunt" Laurie to come speak to the teacher? Actually, I know she's got a tough job, but this is serious stuff she's dealing with. Ugh.

Amanda said...

Dude. That is messed up. I despise teachers like this. Perhaps you need a younger, more progressive teacher who has a clue? Ugh. I am so sorry for you guys.

Anonymous said...

It may not be the school as such, but that teacher is a complete dumbass and I'd be complaining to the principal, and if that gets no where then change schools. I realise that they need to learn, but if they can't learn damn quick without serious repercussions to your child then ditch 'em if you can. maybe you could ask her to read your blog archive?! if it doesn't damn scare her into submission then I don't think anything will.

Anonymous said...

How did someone so stupid get to be a teacher!? What's so hard to understand - Do not feed my son anything unless I've provided it ...perhaps you could make a really big notice and stick it on her desk....or her head!

robiewankenobie said...

holy high hell. rincipal time. stat.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was so thinking of YOU last night at our meet the teacher night when our teachers were going on and on about food allergies and working with parents and it was no problem and they totally understood and they had had kids allergic to everything under the sun and/or diabetic before... yadda yadda yadda. My thought - Griffin just needs to move to Lawrence. Oh, and his family. too.

Angelina said...

That is just awful. I don't understand how people can be so dense or have such trouble hearing. That's a lot of work you have to do that you shouldn't have to do to get teachers to help Griffin have a decent school experience and not end up super sick.

We were lucky with Max's teacher last year that she was so patient with Max's somewhat challenging personality. She was great. I wish we could have her again.

I really hope you are able to get things cleared up so you don't have to work so hard and Griffin can settle in.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jebus, It sounds like you ended up with Mira's teacher from last year. :( I am VERY sorry

LA said...

WOW! I'm speechless. Methinks you need to escalate this to the principal. We've already gotten home more than one letter about food allergies in Miss Sassypants' class and lists of OK foods, etc. They aren't fooling around. Sounds like your teacher might be smelling the glue or something.