When "Sorry" Isn't Enough

Well, it's the first upset parent of the school year, and the school hasn't officially started! I've dealt with upset parents in the past, but it's never been my fault. It's been more like "We're devastated our child is deaf and we're taking out our grief on you". I can handle that.

But this time I can't help wondering if I am somehow to blame.

We have an incoming student who has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers. I went to his IEP at the end of last year, and the decision was to place him in Ms. A's room with a full time aide because another student (who has Autism) will be in that class too with his own full time aide. It was originally hoped that the incoming student could be weaned off of his aide so that the other aide already in there could handle both of them. This was our principal's idea, and I knew it was a bad idea at the time, but it's difficult to argue with someone who's main concern is budget issues.

Fast forward to August, and everyone is highly anxious about this situation. Poor Ms. A who was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having two other adults in the room and two children who had very high needs. Both of the aides were nervous and thought it would be too much for everyone to handle. I'm a nervous wreck because it's my job to oversee the "weaning" process and make sure that by a certain date, our principal will only have to fund one aide for two kids.

So we convinced our principal that it would be in everyone's best interest to move the incoming student to a different classroom. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief...

...except for the student's parents. And they have a right to be upset. Their son had already met Ms. A, and the parents had been talking up Ms. A. He had seen his name and birthday on the classroom wall. And now we're throwing a wrench into all of this, introducing unwelcome change.

I tried explaining that his new classroom teacher is fantastic (which she is), but it was hard to reassure his mother. I can't help thinking that if only we had made the more sensible decision at the end of last year, all of this unpleasantness could have been avoided. If only I had veto power over the principal--if ever I could choose a superpower, that would be it!!


roller coaster teacher said...

That's too bad, Sarah! You did your best, and you still are!

Gina said...

What a great superpower! I think I could have used that too!!! I remember when my son, who has Asperger's transitioned from second to third grade. It was a big deal because he changed schools due to the way schools are structured in our district. Anyway, we made sure in the spring he met the teacher for third grade and you know what we found out a few days before school she took a different job! Well, they assigned him to a "brand new replacement teacher" but I wouldn't have it because I didn't think it would be fair to her and I said please at least give him someone with a little experience. They did and he was able to meet her the day before school started. It was the best year he's ever had!!! Yes, the parents are upset now but once the year gets going as long as they see he's doing fine and he's comfortable they will settle down..

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