Carol - posted on 05/10/2010 ( 286 moms have responded )
Hi everyone. I'd love to hear suggestions on how to deal with my son's 1st grade teacher. I KNOW it's a little late but things have really started to escalate lately.
At the beginning of the year we had an issue when my son came home with a note. He'd squished his best friend's cheeks together and water squirted all over the floor. The teacher wanted him to write an apology to the other boy and both parents had to sign it. We not only had him write that letter, but we had him write a letter of apology to the teacher for disrupting the class. My husband added a note of his own to the teacher thanking her for letting us know what was going on but asking her to also let us know when things happened to him - such as the 2 bloody eyes he'd gone home with the previous 2 weeks. The class bully had punched him and we never got a thing from the teacher. She never responded. As the year went on I had to go in a few times about the class bully. Each and every time she dismissed it as "boys will be boys" and then she'd be mean to my son the rest of the day or week for having me come in. She'd outright tell him not to make such a big deal of it. My son is not whiny or the cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat kind of kid. My older son saw the bully jump on my son and punch the living daylights out of him. I finally told my son to fight back a little. Sure enough, he flicked the kid and the kid wailed. Guess who got in trouble? But - the kid hasn't bothered him much since.
Since then, the teacher's new kick is teaching the kids responsibility. I am all for that. They take full responsiblity for all their actions at home since they were capable of thinking for themselves (around 2, maybe 3?). She's convinced my son needs an extra dose. ie She sent books home for about 2 months and the kids were supposed to read the books and write a one sentence summary. She stopped sending books home in December. I think that the project is over. 4 months later, in April, she tells my son (not me) that he will be getting a bad grade on his report card for not turning in his homework. I find out that she's referring to the books and have him catch up to the other kids (he reads at a 7th grade level). No good, he gets a bad mark for the work being late. I'm never talked to. I have 4-5 other similar stories that aren't related to school work. Each and every time I dare talk to her (a total of maybe 6 times over the year) my son gets in trouble for it.
I finally had enough a couple of weeks ago when she had the entire class tell my son that he was bad for telling another student or teacher (who had asked!!!) that his best friend went home for the day because his diarreha had gotten bad - no sound effects added. That did make my tough guy cry. A week had gone by and he was supposed to be the person of the day (he's been person of the day about 1/2 the amount of the other kids). He was worried that no one would agree to go with him to deliver messages to the front office because they all thought he was bad.
I finally complained to the principal. She spoke with the teacher who denied everything of course. She said that his work and behavior has been "getting better" throughout the year despite being homeschooled for kindergarten. He was on target with writing and at least one full year ahead with every other subject. She's never let me know that anything was wrong with his behavior.
The week goes by and last Friday I got a note home that he had talked about a "shooting" (the quotes are hers, not mine) he'd seen in a movie and another student was very upset. When she told him how inappropriate it was he got upset. She finished the note with "I thought you'd want to know." I spoke with the other parent and was told that her son was not upset at all. I spoke with my son and he was still upset. He said that the teacher wouldn't let him explain what he was talking about. They were discussing Super Smash Bros. Brawl (by today's standards, this is one of the very tamest fighting games on the market - no blood, cartoons, silly weapons). My son was talking about one of the characters shooting bows and arrows. They've talked about these games before with no problems. I've told him that he is no longer allowed to talk about any kind of shooting in the class, not even shooting hoops for basketball. I said that it's extreme but if he doesn't say the word, I hope that he couldn't get in trouble for it.
My question is, given this lengthy history, what should the next step be???
I've gone to the principal again this morning and explained what had happened. The teacher had already told her how my son had misbehaved and cried over being talked to. The principal seemed receptive to me, but asked what I'd like done. What would be appropriate??? It's too late in the year to move him to a different class. Would asking another adult to be present if she has to pull him aside for anything "inappropriate" again be too much to ask? What would you do???