The good news is that I was able to talk to the teacher and principal finally. The bad news is that it appears that the “misunderstanding” wasn’t noticed until I brought it to their attention.
The teacher said that it was a last minute decision because other kids had to pay for books that they had ruined (at a total cost of $7), and she only charged my son $2 because she felt that was fair… at the time. However, she said she later realized that this wasn’t the right direction to go, and would be refunding the money.
I think “later realized” was after she knew I knew about the incident. She apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. The phone call with her was short because she wasn’t delivering much else as far as information about the situation.
I posted a brief version of this on Facebook and got some feedback from other parents, and they helped me come up with great questions to ask the principal:
- Is this going to be an issue going forward? If so, how is this suppose to be dealt with?
- Is it normal for a teacher to ask for money from a student without the parent being contacted?
- What training is there for the teachers about special education students?
The principal acted like it wasn’t that big of a deal, at first… almost as if it was the $2 I was mad about. But once I clarified that I thought it was a big deal, and that the teacher should be talked to (maybe even the staff), the principal began to be apologetic. She said that she was sorry that this happened, and that it should never happen again. She said that it shouldn’t be an issue going forward (or for any special needs kid) and that asking for money from a kid is normal, but usually held at the end of the year when it comes to books. When I asked about training for the teachers, the principal referred to all teachers having to take classes during college for special education students, but didn’t say that there was any school program for continuing education.
Anyways, I’m still stuck in a situation that I don’t know what to do…
- Should this be brought to the Superintendent?
- If a child that can’t control his/her behaviors (and it’s recognized in an IEP) does something that may cause damage to something, like a book, should they be charged? And if so, can the teacher ask for money directly?
- What does this mean for the other students that deal with this teacher? What does this mean for my child’s grade… will he fail because I said something? Will he fail if I bring this beyond the principal?