Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Update on Sugar's Smackdown...

As I have had multiple texts and emails asking what is going on with Sugar and her altercation last week, I thought I would post an update. Note, this is an ‘update’ and not a final answer. Why hasn’t this been wrapped up and put to rest yet? That’s an easy answer, because the individuals working at Sugar’s school seem to be unable to respond to emails and phone calls in a timely fashion.

Last Friday we had Parent-Teacher Conferences and sadly, much of my time with Sugar’s teachers was cluttered with this situation. I would much rather have spent my time discussing Sugar’s performance and behavior within the classroom. Instead, we had to discuss why her teacher never responded to the email I sent on Wednesday night.

As it turns out, she did respond. However, the district had some sort of virus and emails looked like they had gone out but really had not. She showed me the email with the time and date stamp and I believe her. This is what she tried to send to me:

Good Morning,
   Sugar did tell me what happened on the playground 
yesterday, however, I did not see what happened.  She 
pulled me aside and told me what happened, but she had a 
smile on her face.  I asked her if she was ok and she 
said, 'yes'.  I do know that sometimes children try to put 
on a brave face so I asked her again and she said, 'yes'. 
 I then asked Sugar if she knew the person and her reply 
was confusing because she told me she wasn't sure.
   Is Sophie ok?  I will speak with her today.
Warm regards,

I should mention here that my meeting with her was on Friday. She received my email Thursday morning. Despite saying that she would talk to Sugar again, she did not. I probably don’t need to mention that this teacher was made aware of the situation on Wednesday morning and did nothing about it… because Sugar had a smile on her face. Let's talk about that smile. That smile is called "Smile big or collapse into humongous gut-wrenching, nose running tears. 

Since last Thursday progressed with no response from the school, I finally called the Dean of Students around noon. I know that he went to Sugar’s classroom and spoke to her. He then called me and said that the teacher had emailed me back. We went over what he learned from Sugar. As I thought, either Sugar got confused or he did. That night when I got home, I had Sugar write down her account of what happened.

Well, first, Sam got off of her bus (bus13) and I said “Hi Sam!”. Then she started making these weird big growls like she was a dog that had rabies. After she did that she went and put her backpack where she would line up, then from where she was standing, she charged at me. (I was on the pavement at first just chatting with my friends). So then she chased me onto the rocks and grabbed my hands and squeezed my wrists until my hands turned white. Then she grabbed me by the neck and pushed me to the ground (into a position so I couldn’t move my arms and I also couldn’t stand up). Then she sat on my head and she also held my legs (so I actually couldn’t move at all). Sam was pulled off of me by Merideth, Serena, and Emma. They also helped me get up off of the rocks, while they helped me Ms. B saw Sam, so she called Sam over to her and they had a little talk. After Ms. B let her go and play again she started to charge back and forth (like she was pacing but she was running) maybe six or seven times into my friends, Victoria, Erin, Merideth, Ava, Emma, Tarren ,  and me. Then she started doing the weird big growls. She was doing both on purpose until morning recess was over. During Steffi’s first class she told her teacher Mrs. S. Sam was written up later in the day. 

I sent her account in an email so it would be on his desk first thing Monday morning. By the end of Monday, I still hadn’t heard a word back from the school. So I sent the following email to the Dean of Students and the Principal.

Mr. C: 
Although still unresolved, I would like to voice my concerns regarding the situation that occurred during morning drop-off on Wednesday, December 7.

It is my understanding that my daughter Sugar was physically pushed down and sat on by another child. This child was pulled off my daughter by some of her friends, but the other child continued to follow her around the playground before the bell rang.

When Sugar transitioned to middle school, I was under the impression that the 5th graders would be separated from the other students. I completely understand that this is not always possible. However, I would assume then that when the 5th graders are mingling with 6th graders, there would be supervision by the multiple staff members. If that’s the case, where were the adults on duty that morning?

Once my daughter went into the school, she told Mrs. B what happened to her and another student, Steffi, told her own teacher, who then filed a report of some sort. My daughter came home from school that night and told me what happened. I then emailed Mrs. B to get a handle on what happened.

At this point, I’m both concerned and shocked that NO ONE thought to notify either me or my husband to let us know what had happened to our daughter while at school.

On Thursday, I left you a voice mail when I didn’t hear back from Mrs. B. I later found out that the district was experiencing technical difficulties, so I understand the disconnect there. However, it seems that from the time Sugar talked to her teacher and Mrs. S filed her report on Wednesday morning, there was no further mention of the incident to my child or to me until you received my voice mail Thursday afternoon. 

While I understand that this may not fall under the category of bullying, I would assume that physical altercations fall under the “Zero Tolerance Policy?” In that case, I have read that policy and understand that someone from the school had 48 hours to call me back about this issue.. I’m interested to know why a parent isn’t contacted immediately so that they are aware of the situation before the upset child arrives home from school?

I imagine that if I had not emailed and left two voice mail messages, nothing would have occurred with this situation. While I don’t expect her to be coddled and wrapped in bubble wrap, I certainly do expect to hear about things like this in a timely manner. My child should feel as safe at school as she does at home. I’m disappointed as to how this situation was handled.

I appreciate the time you spent on this situation and I look forward to hearing back from you.

All day yesterday I waited for his response. Finally, at 4:30, this is what I got:

Hello Ms. J,

I wanted to let you know the progress to date.  I have finished up a number of interviews with staff and students regarding last week’s incident.  I have a call in to the parent of the child involved and am awaiting a call back.

Out principal, has been apprised of the situation and we are coordinating our efforts at this end.

I trust this issue will be resolved shortly and will call you tomorrow.

And that my friends, is where we stand. The impatient side of me says, “Just drop it and you will be relieved of frustration.” However, I’m concerned about how incidents such as these are handled at my child’s school. Do I expect Sam to be tarred and feathered? Of course not. I just want to know that her behavior was dealt with timely and adequately, and I want to be sure that behavior such as this is not tolerated and reported to the parents a whole lot faster. But then I remember, schools are also government bureaucracies… I shouldn’t be surprised. 

Ice Princess

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