Moving to a new house, in a new town, in a new state is stressful enough. Switching from home schooling to public school can also be an uncomfortable stretch. But add in a special needs plan that needs to be followed can be enough to make anyone need to take a step back and breathe.
So we moved to a new state, my middle child decided he needed to socialize in a public school, and my oldest who has moderate to sever Autism wanted to go with him. So I dug in and jumped through the hoops to get my son’s IEP followed, which meant changing schools, making a formal request for my other son to go to the same school, and forfeiting their bus ride so they could travel together in my car.
They “could” have a bus pick them up, but they would have to ride on separate busses and go to separate schools 🙄 So I’m happy to drive them myself and take them across town so they can be under the same educational roof.
Let’s be clear here that I did as much prep as I possibly could. I had them start a few weeks late to give myself a week to unpack their bedroom, toys, and whatever else they might need to feel grounded in their new home. I scheduled a tour of their new school, I reached out and got all of their school supplies and we dropped those off in their classrooms during their tour. I spoke with Mr. L’s special needs teacher to give her a heads up with anything she might want to know. I emailed his teacher about his picky diet. I asked their school staff if there was anything else I could do to help.
And within 15 min of their first day of school the school staff separated my boys, they didn’t follow what they said they would do, which is terrible because I prepped Mr. L and Mr. C based on what the school told me, and they lost Mr. L.
Did they call me back when they found him like they said they would? No. I called them. Did they get their act together and do what they said they would to start off Mr. L’s day? No.
Am I livid? Yes.
When staff pulls this crap do I feel like a crazy person? Yes.
Before their first day of school I asked how their day schedule would start. They told me that the boys would go to the cafeteria together to have breakfast and then they would be escorted to their classrooms. So I packed a pop tart for Mr. L, told my boys to stick together, and for Mr. C to make sure to ask his brother if he wanted to try the breakfast too. I reminded both boys that Mr. L had a pop tart if he didn’t like the school option. Then I reminded them of this plan again on the walk into the building.
Let’s just say that I already didn’t trust that this school would have their act together, so to avoid parent drop off being a nightmare for the other parents in line, I decided I would take my kids through the front office.
The second we went into the office it was clear the staff was not ready for us. The secretary told us to sit and wait for school to start… But Mr. C knew it was when the school offered breakfast so he told her, that he and his brother were here for breakfast. So this lady looked confused and said Mr. L couldn’t and took Mr. C to the cafeteria.
Then this lady forgot about Mr. L and when she came back she ignored us. So I explained what we were told and asked why she separated my boys. She called the special needs classroom and the pera came to take my oldest to class without breakfast. So I explained what we were told again, and she said she would figure something out.
No. That’s not good enough, I need to know what this pera is doing with my kid. But the lady swept Mr. L out of the room, so I asked for the principal. The principal looked confused and said she didn’t know what was happening and said she would go find my oldest. She came back 10 min later and said she could not find my child.
THEY LOST MY SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD
And of course they acted like everything was wonderful 😡 So the principal said she would find him and call me. 40 min later and no phone call. Like any good mom is going to be like, oh it’s cool. Who needs to know where their kid is? You know that child they had been watching since it took its first breath? Right, it’s cool. 👿
I called, and they told me that Mr. L was taken with a peraprofessional out to the buses to pick up other kids, but they were sure he had breakfast and was making new friends. What The fuck. This was NOT what I was told would be his morning routine. If they are short staffed and this is going to be his routine then TELL ME so I can prep him accordingly.
The school was not ready for Mr. L. I prepped in every way I could and the school lost him. I asked the principal before I left if I should take Mr. L home and let the school try again tomorrow. I told the principal that within 15 min they had already lost him.
You might be thinking what’s the big deal? Mr. L has anxiety and was showing signs of it this morning and prepping him is anxiety avoidance. Mr. L used to be a runner and an eloper, he has a history and I’ve lived through that history and it gives me nightmares thinking about reliving some of those running and eloping moments.
The school staff failed this morning. My PTSD was set off, and both of my boys looked back at me with concerned faces when they were swiftly led away from me. I smiled at them reassuringly, but I feel like I failed them.
Here’s to hoping the staff has both of my boys at pick up today 👏 and here’s to hoping my boys have a better first day of school then I did…. 🤞
And here is a pic of their confused and worn out pup, like most Covid pups getting used to their humans going back to society.