0

What to Do When Your Child or Teen is Suspended or Expelled from School

It’s any normal day. You’re at work, doing work stuff, and you get a call from the principal at your son’s school: he’s been suspended for three days for roughhousing on the bus. Or, maybe he’s already had a few mishaps in behavior and is now facing a much longer suspension. Or, maybe it’s a more serious offense and school personnel are already talking about expulsion proceedings. What can you, as a parent, do in response to these situations?

Before we discuss what you can do, I think it’s important to recognize the difference between the following natural consequences.

In-School Suspension (ISS): An in-school suspension is when your child is taken out of her regular classes and put into a separate room. She will need to complete all of her daily work and also spend her lunch break in this one room. This is probably the easier one to deal with as a parent because it doesn’t change your family’s daily routine much at all.

Out-of-School Suspension (OSS): An out-of-school suspension is usually a number of days when your child is not allowed to go to school, be on school grounds nor attend any school functions. The number of days can vary depending upon the severity of the behavior, whether or not there have been previous suspensions or other mitigating factors. If your child is not of an age where he can stay home alone, you will need to come up with some sort of plan for having him supervised during the day.

Expulsion: An expulsion, on the other hand, is a more serious consequence. Your child is basically removed from the school rosters and not allowed to attend school or school-related activities for a much longer period of time (a year or more). Sometimes, this may also include not being allowed on school property for any reason, even to attend a sibling’s sporting event, concert or graduation. While suspensions are usually instituted by the principal or vice principals of a school, an expulsion is a process that involves going before the school board or other educational administrative personnel for a hearing. It would be determined at this hearing whether or not your child will be expelled. Your child would also be allowed legal representation at this hearing.

(This is a general overview. The exact process may differ depending upon your state/school district. There are specific laws and time lines that must be adhered to in each case. If your child is facing expulsion, I would encourage you to speak with a lawyer who specializes in school law. You could also speak with someone in the Department of Education for your state about what the specific laws are. )

After the Phone Call: How to Handle the Suspension or Expulsion

I point out these differences above because many parents naturally panic when they get this call and it’s easy to respond in a manner that is less than effective. This panic is a pretty normal response which can lead to futurizing: “What is this going to mean for my child now and later on down the road?” It may be helpful to take a little time to process the information so you can address the issue with your child in as calm a manner as possible. I have even suggested to some parents when they call the Parental Support Line about this they not talk with their child about what happened until the following day. It can help to look at it this way: your child is suspended, and yelling and screaming at him isn’t going to change that fact. Take some space from the issue can help you calm down and look at the situation from the perspective of “What do I want my child to learn here?”  When you’re able to talk with your child in a calm, rational manner, there’s a greater chance you can find out what his perception of the situation is — and possibly even problem solve with him about what he can do differently in the future.

Related: How to communicate with your child or teen, even when he’s angry or silent.

Many parents question what they should do for consequences at home when their child has been suspended. Understandable question, but remember that there is already a consequence in place. While you don’t want this time off from school to be a vacation, taking away all of your child’s privileges isn’t going to teach him more. Instead, you might consider having him earn his privileges  each day by doing any school work that may have been sent home, having him work on any past-due work he owes, or having him work on chores during the time he would be in school. If possible, have him get up at the same time as he would for school. You don’t want to turn this into a power struggle, however. The way you solve this: if he’s not getting up and doing the work, he doesn’t earn his privileges. This may mean suspending his cell service, and taking the game controllers and/or internet router with you to work. Don’t expect him to limit his own behavior by not playing video games or spending the day on the computer; instead, set limits and take charge.  (When the issue is expulsion, the concept would be similar, but on a much longer time frame. Again, you don’t want the time out of school to be a vacation.)

If your child is on an IEP: As a side note, if your child is on an IEP, there are other procedures that must be followed, as outlined in IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). For example, if your child is suspended for more than 10 days, an alternative education plan has to be instituted. I actually got my start working in Special Education when I was employed by a school district to be a tutor for kids in this situation. Some districts have off-site alternative education programs for this purpose. Keep in mind that this alternative placement cannot go beyond 45 school days, however.  One thing that is  different for kids who receive Special Services and have an IEP is they must receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and, even in cases where the child is expelled, the school district must develop an education plan for your child.

Another thing that has to happen when a child who has an IEP is suspended for more than 10 days (total, not necessarily consecutive) is a Manifestation Determination meeting has to be scheduled. It will be determined at this meeting whether or not the action/behavior that resulted in suspension was a manifestation of the child’s specific disability and whether or not the IEP was not only appropriate but being implemented accordingly by the school.

School districts are required to send out a Notice of Parents’ Rights in Special Education Procedural Safeguards. It has been my experience that often these safeguards are written in “legalese,” in really tiny print and it’s a challenge for many parents to read and understand them. I would encourage you to talk with the Special Education director in your school district if you have any questions. There are many other rules and regulations outlined in IDEA, too many to cover in this short blog post. You might even consider finding out if there is an advocate, either through the district or your State Department of Education, available who would be able to walk you through these procedural safeguards and answer any questions you may have.

A final word: getting “that call” can feel like an endgame, but in reality, you can try looking at it as more of an intervention or a “call to action,” that gives you the opportunity to work with your child to develop better ways of dealing with challenging situations.

There are many other tools in The Total Transformation Program that will help you respond to your child’s behavior more effectively, helping you turn what seems like a hopeless situation into one with a much more promising outlook. Believe me, there is hope — I help parents find it every single day.

Denise Rowden is the parent of two teens: a 17-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son.  She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from USM and is currently working on her M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling at UMO. Denise has been a parental advisor with the Parental Support Line for The Total Transformation Program since 2010.

If you find any comments that are rude or inappropriate, please contact us immediately.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
0

Boston Strong

April 21, 2014 by Alyssa Haywoode

This morning our thoughts and hearts are with the individuals and families who suffered most during last year’s tragic bombing. 

 We also celebrate the strength, healing and resilience of Greater Boston: the people who live in this city, the people who love this city, and the people near and far who stood with Boston on one of its darkest days.

 Finally, we welcome the bright optimism of this new year. There are few happier signs of spring than the joyful, determined, and, in some cases, wildly costumed runners of the Boston Marathon.

 Good luck to all the runners and to all who cheer for them. No matter the obstacles, Boston runs valiantly forward.

Like this:

Like Loading…

Related

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
0

“I Feel Like a Failure as a Parent.” How to Turn That Hopeless Feeling Around

What is the worst thing a parent can feel, in your opinion? I’ll give you a few seconds to think about that before I give you my answer.

From my perspective, the worst thing a parent can feel is “hopeless.” This is when you’re feeling like there’s no hope for you, your child or your family because everything, absolutely everything, is going wrong and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve talked with many parents who have been on this road; I’ve been there myself.

You’re standing in a spot, looking toward the future and everything you see is bleak. The only word that can describe how you see yourself as a parent is “failure.” It’s a pretty awful feeling.  You wake up in the morning and as soon as your daughter sees you, you get some sort of negative, snarky comment.  Or, you go into your son’s room and see he still hasn’t cleaned up the mess that’s been there for weeks (months!) and when you ask him about it, you get a “F-you, Mom” as a reply. There is a fear that seeps into everyday life that your children will never develop the skills to be productive members of society. The responsibility of it all can make you feel overwhelmed and defeated, and your day hasn’t even really started yet.  It can be enough to make any parent wonder how you could have ever thought having children was a good idea.

What can a parent do to change this seeming downward spiral?

Most of us are trying to raise our kids using the same tools and techniques our parents used. And, while those techniques may have worked with our generation, they are not very effective with this generation of kids. Where I would never even consider talking back to my mom (at least not while she was in the same room as me), kids today are growing up in a different culture, one where disrespect and defiance towards adults are much more accepted and often glorified in media. The line between children and adults has become blurred, with many kids not seeing the boundary at all.

Apr18_FBgraphic-2

On the parental support line for The Total Transformation Program, we talk about how it all starts with assuming control and conveying the calm self confidence of an empowered parent. Does this mean you will actually feel like you are always in control? No, probably not. When I’m faced with a situation where I’m not really feeling in control, a saying that we used a lot when I worked in a residential facility comes to mind: “Fake it till you make it.” In other words, act as if you are in control even if you’re not feeling like you are. You will get to a point where assuming control comes naturally and you’ll no longer be acting.

Related: How to get back your parental control and authority, and become the effective parent you always wanted to be.

Let’s say you are asking your son to clean his room for the umpteenth time. Be clear with your expectations and let him know that, until he cleans his room, he’s not going to be able to use the car.  Link the task to one of his privileges. Start having him earn those things he considers rights by linking them to what you want him to do.  He may respond to your request with “Whatever” or something equally irritating. How do you respond? If you’re like many parents, you might jump into the fray, feet first, saying something like “How dare you talk to me that way? Who do you think you are? Let me tell you something…” He responds with something even more disrespectful, and a fight begins. Now, the issue is no longer about whether or not his room gets clean. Instead, it’s about the power struggle you are now fully involved in.

So, try something different. Instead of getting into that argument, ignore the remark and walk away.  Go into another room, go for a walk, do anything other than get into an argument. Even though it may feel like he’s winning, the truth is, you’re still the one with the power. He’s not going to get the privilege until his room is clean, so what is he actually winning?

There are many other tools in The Total Transformation Program that will help you respond to your child’s behavior more effectively, helping you turn what seems like a hopeless situation into one with a much more promising outlook. Believe me, there is hope — I help parents find it every single day. All it takes is a little courage on your part to start doing things a little differently, so you can assume control of your parenting and your family.

Denise Rowden is the parent of two teens: a 17-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son.  She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from USM and is currently working on her M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling at UMO. Denise has been a parental advisor with the Parental Support Line since 2010.

If you find any comments that are rude or inappropriate, please contact us immediately.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
0

New Report Examines Quality in Boston’s Early Education and Care Programs

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Last month, Boston EQUIP — the Early Education Quality Improvement Project— released two reports on the quality of early childhood programs in Boston:

- Community Profiles 2013, a comprehensive online survey of early education providers in Boston, and

- the Boston Quality Inventory (BQI) 2013, an in-depth study of program quality conducted at a sample of home-based and center-based early education and care programs

 These reports present crucial data that help inform and advance the policy conversation about how to improve program quality. Research shows that early education programs must be high-quality in order to see lasting positive impacts on children’s development.

Launched in 1994, Boston EQUIP is “a project of Associated Early Care and Education with a broad goal and mission – to collaborate with members of the Boston early education community to systematically evaluate, set goals for, and improve upon the quality of early childhood programs,” according to a press release. The project is aligned with Boston’s Thrive in 5 School Readiness Roadmap, which “sets goals and strategies for strengthening, coordinating and improving the quality of child and family-serving systems in the city, in order to prepare children to succeed in school.”

The BQI report was conducted by Nancy Marshall and her colleagues at the Work, Families and Children Research Group at the Wellesley Centers for Women. The findings are based on program quality data collected on-site at a random sample of licensed programs: 45 center-based programs serving infants and toddlers; 45 center-based programs serving preschoolers; and 45 family child care homes.

The BQI is the third in a series of inventories that were also taken in 2007 and 2010.

Key Findings

Among the BQI’s main themes is the need to provide more higher education and professional development programs for early childhood teachers. As the report says, Better trained and educated teachers are “are urgently needed to close achievement gaps and to support early literacy and reading proficiency.”

Findings include:

- Since 2009, more educators have Bachelor’s or higher degrees. This is true for all provider types.

- The proportion of Boston’s community preschool classrooms taught by teachers with a bachelor’s or higher rose from 37 percent in 2010 to 62 percent of classrooms in 2013.

 - Salaries of early educators in community-based programs remain stagnant.

 - Most center-based and family child care programs are using Teaching Strategies Gold developmental assessments to ensure quality outcomes for young children.

 - Boston’s community preschool classrooms have maintained the quality improvements of general curriculum practices and emotional and social support.

 - Boston’s community preschool classrooms showed significant improvements on literacy. In 2007, 11 percent of classrooms met the “Good” benchmark on the SELA Literacy Index. In 2013, 29 percent of classrooms met the “Good” benchmark on the ELLCO Literacy Index. But as the report notes, “there is still considerable room for improvement.”

 - The number of Boston’s accredited early childhood providers has dropped and is now the lowest recorded overall accreditation since 2005.

Recommendations

The reports four central recommendations call for improvements in a range of areas:

1. Increase the proportion of early childhood educators with Bachelor’s degrees.

Researchers “found that having an educator with a bachelors’ degree or more was significantly associated with the quality of BQI 2013 infant, toddler and preschool classrooms.” And among family child care homes, providers who had a Child Development Associate certificate or some college education provided higher quality early care and education than providers who only had a high school diploma or equivalent.

2. Provide more training and coaching for Boston early childhood educators.

Specifically, the report calls for training teachers to promote language development for infants and toddlers and in preschool classrooms. For infants and toddlers, this includes responses to children’s attempts to communicate, talking to children frequently throughout the day, and reading books to interested children.

Family care providers should get more training in the age-appropriate use of television and other media. And preschool classroom teachers should be trained to integrate daily writing into their classrooms.

“Some of this training may be available through formal education, but even when educators have a BA degree, additional training has been found to be associated with higher quality.”

3. Improve health and safety practices in centers and family child care homes.

Researchers found inconsistent hand washing among children and adults as well as tripping and choking hazards. In addition, some programs relied on public playgrounds that lacked fencing or were not well maintained.

“Because young children are still developing their own health and safety behaviors, early childhood classrooms face additional requirements when protecting the health and safety of young children.”

4. Increase accreditation of programs by professional early childhood associations.

“About half (52 percent) of Boston’s early care and education centers are accredited by NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children; in the BQI 2013, about half (53.3 percent) of centers in the preschool random sample were accredited. Accreditation rates for family child care providers in the BQI 2013 are low; 15 percent were currently accredited by NAFCC, the National Association for Family Child Care.”

As the report concludes overall, continuing investments are needed to improve the quality of early education and care programs so that children who live in Boston and Massachusetts can have the strong start they need to succeed in school and in life.

Cities and towns across Massachusetts — particularly the Gateway Cities — need their own quality studies so that these municipalities can have more informed local conversations about early education and school readiness.

Like this:

Like Loading…

Related

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS