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Jean Federico
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I have been teaching special ed for 18 years. I have a self-contained class (middle school) of students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities. I get really upset when I hear about districts who don't seem to want to work with parents and students. This year, I have 14 boys in the class. Most of them can be violent when their medications aren't right. We (my paras and I) seldom have to send a student home, because we work with the boys for both academic and social skills. I have one kid who goes home at 11:00, because he can handle the morning in school but as his meds wear off he struggles. We have another one who comes to school at the normal time, but sleeps in the back room for the first two hours. His mom has to work and can't get him in later, but because of medication problems he just can't do anything before 10. I have a student who bounces in and out of the hospital, but we work with him and the hospital to keep him on track. We really work with these kids! My big frustration, though is with the chronically absent kids. I'm not talking about the ones who are out because of their disability or medication issues, but the ones who just choose not to come to school. I have three this year who are in total charge at home (their moms are afraid of them), and they only come to school when they feel like coming. I can only go so far in trying to structure the class so that they want to come. So..what do we do? Yes, I have suggested to a mom that she have the police escort her son to school - after the she told me that her son "doesn't like" school and she "can't make him go" and admitted that there was nothing in his disability keeping him from being able to get up in the morning. They get behind on their work, refuse to complete make-up work and are content to fail. What do we do? Let them fail? That just feels wrong, but I don't know what else we can do when the parent doesn't do their part in making sure the student gets to school.
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Feb 20, 2016