When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

IN PETER’S OWN WORDS (please listen 5/23/10)


In Peter’s Own Words – Teacher Making Him Lie (Part 1 of 2)

Peter Describing what his Teacher Makes Him Do (part 2 of 2)

This is not a journal entry nor is it intended to be part of my book.  This is just raw pain.  As I wrote a while back, following the CPS thing, we decided not to mess with diapers anymore in school with Peter.  Let them handle his wetting, which they contend, when its convenient, doesn’t occur at school.  This is because an incontinent 3rd grader has needs beyond the official school’s policy about inclusion learning and its quite clear they don’t want this coming out at next month’s due process hearing.  Of course, for CPS purposes, the school accuser claimed he is incontinent and that I “beat him up” for it).  But never mind that:  his special ed. teacher apparently has the gall to still make him change out of his wet clothes, into dry spare clothes, and then back into the peed on clothes to go home (I guess they dry by the end of the day, she washes them somehow, something).  All of this is done to hide from us the fact that he wets at school.  They tell him to lie to us.   Apparently they aren’t inspired enough to actually put him on a toileting schedule, as in every hour or even half hour, which might avoid the need for all the deceptions and charades.  Even when we informed the school administrators of what we consider to be emotional abuse if not physical harm early last week, they remain nonplussed.  They think they are invulnerable and infallible because according to Peter, two teachers, Ms. Cordier and her long-time aide (Ms. Carmody) are continuing to make him participate in these deceits.  On May 18 we asked for a response to our bringing the situation to the administrators’ attention and were told they were consulting their attorney.  How can we send our son to school tomorrow feeling like we’re setting him up for more of this?  Why is this not child abuse – as in the real thing?  Poor Peter.  These audio clips are in his own words.  He brought it up in the car this evening, when we were alone (as in, “Mom, they are still making me do this at school”) and then I asked him to retell the story for Pat when we got home.  I recorded it, without Peter knowing (he is under enough stress as it is) on my trusty IPhone.  Peter doesn’t deserve this and either do we.  CPS has no jurisdiction against a school.  I emailed the school tonight and said if I had no response by 10 am tomorrow morning then I would call the police.  The school was correct in concluding our son was being abused, they just forgot to look in a mirror to see who were the real abusers.  And if you think to yourself, why don’t these parents just put a diaper back on him?  The answer is both simple and sad.  We have to do this to prove that he indeed wets his pants, regularly, for purposes of the hearing, and hopefully getting him into a compassionate, appropriate and nonhostile school – our local school’s official position is that he doesn’t wet (again, unless they’re in the mood to report us to CPS, then he is incontinent – maybe there’s an institutional split personality problem here) – and obviously its very important for them to continue this fiction, no matter what the cost.

18 Comments »

  1. I have no words…that is an outrage. I hope you’re able to get somewhere with the due process hearing.

    Comment by MFA Mama — May 24, 2010 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  2. Oh my…stay strong Mary!

    Comment by Susanne Sullivan Kirkland — May 24, 2010 @ 1:33 am | Reply

  3. This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry that your family has to go through this. Peter is a brave boy. School should provide a happy, safe place for learning.

    Comment by Mary Angle Tuszynski — May 24, 2010 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  4. Oh, my! Well, the teachers are (obviously) awful, awful, awful, but I want to commend you. You were able to draw out information from Peter without leading him one way or the other. (Handy it’s recorded so when the school says you planted ideas in his head, they can hear you didn’t!) He sounds like a lovely boy!

    Comment by Dena — May 24, 2010 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  5. Smart woman to tape. I was advised same for defense against school district and my worthless ex, who likes having my child mistreated. Got the picture what type he is? Yep. Found out year after the adoption, his words, that he didn’t want to be a parent after all. No kidding. He’s not able. Has his own issues. You’ll need to make sure to document all of Peter’s commentary about the school, as I’m sure you know, because you are an attorney.

    I did locate on the net, years ago, kiddo undies for boys and girls with incontinence. They are essentially super padded. Thus, not diapers. Just ideas for you.

    Because there is a God, the people who mistreat these kiddos will likely be held accountable, at least in the end. It’s what keeps me going. Not my decision, but the Man upstairs…

    Comment by Lori — May 24, 2010 @ 9:50 am | Reply

    • Thank you, Lori. I am so sorry for all our collective troubles, but especially for the children. If you have time, and still have the website, could you forward me the info on the padded underwear? Thanks again – and take care – Mary

      Comment by whenrainhurts — May 24, 2010 @ 10:02 am | Reply

      • Hey don’t be sorry. It’s really no one’s fault that I know of. Well, except maybe the school, CPS here not being educated on Russian adoptees, etc. Yes, I’ll find that site, and send. Not that it might make you feel any better, but we had more than one school hand my kiddo back to me covered in urine. One was a purported ‘Christian’ school that said she had been going down the slide as to why she had urine all the way up her back of her shirt, etc. I just picked her up, left the school parking lot, went to a Catholic church parking lot across the street, and changed her clothes, so she could quit crying (me too) enough for me to drive home and report the school to the state. I’m starting to think I need my doctorate in special education, I really am… Need it for my little one.

        Comment by Lori — May 24, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  6. Okay, these are the sites I found on Ask.com (my favorite search engine. The site that looks most familiar is http://www.pshealthcare.co.uk. There is also a US site http://www.nationalincontinence.com. They are a bit expensive, but may work. Also, in some catalogs for adults, such as Penney’s, there may be an extra small size men’s incontinence undies to fit, although Peter appears slender like my little one. I considered at the time, even sewing these types of undergarments myself, so that there would be enough ‘padding’. Maybe Grandma would help? :) The overnights sold in stores, with the boys/girls shorts essentially over the pullup look basically real shorts. At one point, I did have to double up my kiddo, with the padded undies, and the overnight shorts over, so she made it through the school day, because they were not going to stop and have her visit the little girl’s room every hour or so. Sensory integration was one of her issues, besides the RAD, for sure. Hope this helps.

    Comment by Lori — May 24, 2010 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  7. Mary,

    After I get over my rage about how the teachers and the school are treating Peter…..and express my image of CSP appearing at their classroom door to investigate one day…… An, now, I assume you have an excellent attorney. If you are looking for the one many consider the best special ed attorney in New York State, you need to contact Andrew Cuddy. He wrote the book “The Special Education Battlefield” , He needed a better editor to tighten the writing but it is an excellent book. He participated as a consultant in our case. He also successfully intervened in New York City where there was an autistic boy who had not been placed in a class for over a year. If you contact him, please say I referred you to him.

    You and your attorney may or may not know there was a case a few years ago on the other side of the Hudson that at least on the surface is similar. A group of students with mental retardation and emotional disturbance, if I remember this right, were being bused for a five day residential program to somewhere in the middle of the state. Many times they would arrive at the school on a Monday or arrive back home on a Friday wet with urine and dirtied by feces. The school bus was meant to stop on the way and the aide would assist each student with toileting. Even though the transportation company claimed the kids were being toileted,clearly this wasn’t happening. However, and to me this is the even more incredible part, rather than immediately fix the problem (fire the aide, change transportation companies or SOMETHING). At one point the superintendent of the school district serruptiously (sp?) followed the bus on a Monday to see what was going on. And some Monday after that the president of the board of education did the same. So the kids had to endure the problem, embarassment, shame, longer. I believe the transportation company was finally let go – though I don’t remember the outcome. If someone wants to research this story, this was in the Times Herald Record on line 3 maybe 4 years ago.

    My heart goes out to Peter – and you and your family.

    Christopher Duncan

    Comment by hudsonvalleyeducationadvocates — May 24, 2010 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  8. Sending positive thoughts your way, Mary.

    Comment by Amy — May 24, 2010 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  9. OMG. This is wrong on so many levels. How dare an educator teach a child to keep a secret. I would guess they need to contact their lawyer first.

    Mary – I hope this nonsense comes to an end quickly. Enough is enough.

    Comment by Janet — May 24, 2010 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

    • As of today, the principal has admitted that Peter’s teacher, at least on one occasion, took his clothes home (yes, to her home) during lunch, washed/dried them, and put them back on him so we wouldn’t know he peed in school. He was made to do this during recess when none of the other kids were around to see. I did call the police today though I doubt there’s anything they can do – but the officer did say she would get back to me tomorrow after talking with the investigator and confirming this whole previous nonsense with CPS. ARGGHHHHH. Who knew when we were stuck in that awful airport in Kabhorovsk that we’d be talking about such things, all these years later?

      Comment by whenrainhurts — May 24, 2010 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  10. I am so sorry to hear that your school is taking this stand. We have many kids in pull ups still and the school is having to deal with it. My son Dontae is 8 and is still in pull ups. He tries to potty train but he cannot seem to “feel” when he needs to go. His teacher bought him a watch that alarms every hour to remind him but she knows as do we that this is a hit and miss system and that is okay. I wish they understood that in the long run the potty training issue isn’t even the most important issue at all. With FASD each day is a struggle…don’t look for ways to make it more of one. My prayers are with you.

    Comment by Nora Boesem — May 24, 2010 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  11. Oh Mary, I am so sorry for what’s going on with the school, Peter & everything else. We also have incontinence problems (& I’m surprised at how similar Peter sounds to my Gabby!). Our Principal has been working with us & also has brought in the school’s special ed ‘specialist’ (our school is combined regular/special ed). I had a 45 minute chat with him yesterday. He is determined to work with us & Gabby to keep Gabby in regular ed as long as possible. He adores her and, now that I’m helping, he’s learning more about FAS. Gabby can NOT wear pull-ups because she gets a UTI within hours of putting one on. The teacher is VERY good about telling Gabby to use the toilet every hour or so, the lunch-ladies have her use the toilet before sitting down to eat, the other teachers also send her. (basically, any adult who sees Gabby is to send her to the bathroom! And, so far, she goes & is not upset by it.) Gabby cannot feel the urge to urinate or poop. She is 7 1/2 years old. My prayer these days is for her to toilet train over the summer…again!

    Good luck, Mary. You & your family are in my prayers.

    Comment by Laurel — May 25, 2010 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  12. i just listened
    what a sweet boy
    school is wrong on so many levels

    i would keep discussing truth/honesty
    get him closer to the mike
    and make every attempt not to lead him with your questions

    transcripts of these in court may spare him any testimony
    to video and audio tape him may have merits
    comforts of home

    anyhow
    my 2cents is that those teachers should be already kicked to the CURB.
    leaving a classroom with an aide.
    changing clothes is warranted but
    lying abt incontinence to save district money
    lying abt changing clothes
    using position of authority over vulnerable child TO INTIMIDATE
    alienating affection from parents by asking said child to lie to parent/s
    and “keeping secrets” is very very wrong, illegal, unethical.
    ADD TO WHICH FALSE REPORTING TO CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

    jesse’s school tried to make a “secret club” with him so he could tell the one teacher anything bad abt mom [me]. they were working up to having him call the county himself. she was told in no uncertain terms that we knew what she was doing, to back it off or there would be consequences.
    llsoderstrom

    Comment by lindalee soderstrom — May 25, 2010 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  13. LEAVING THE CLASSROOM TO WASH/DRY IS NOT OK

    CHANGING HIM IS OK

    PULL UPS SOUND LIKE A VERY GOOD SOLUTION

    THEY CAN JUST TELL YOU HOW MANY THEY USED EACH DAY

    AND GIVEN THE GIVENS I WOULD SAY THE NURSE SHOULD HELP HIM CLEAN UP AND CHANGE

    THEIR ATTORNEY NEEDS TO THINK ABT IT THAT WAY

    Comment by lindalee soderstrom — May 25, 2010 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  14. Mary,

    I want to thank you for being so generous in what you have shared of your life in these pages.

    I am truly outraged by your public school’s conduct…not just in this post, but in others that have preceeded it.

    I have three children who are each in their own way special needs. My son is seven and a nonverbal autistic. My younger daughter (18) suffers from borderline personality disorder, and my oldest daughter (19) is severely brain damaged due to a sickness she contracted as an infant. My oldest only functions at a newborn level. She cannot walk, talk, or even roll over on her own. My son functions very well in some areas, but poorly in others. My bpd daughter is normal intellectually, but has some pretty challenging behavior problems. Suffice it to say I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the local school system over the last 17 years or so, but what you are going through is absolute insanity.

    For the most part, I never like to see the federal government regulate or take over anything…I’ve never seen them do anything right. However, when I read things like this I just can’t help but wonder how something like this can be fixed so that these kids have the same opportunities everywhere they go.

    I live in Indiana. Our schools have their problems. For example, the state in general has made continual cutbacks to education that have been very detrimental to my children. For instance, all summer school programs have been cut this year in our district. My son has had summer school for the last three years, and we depend on it to keep him from losing progress over the summer as well as helping him keep some of his routine. I don’t expect him to react well. When my bpd daughter was exibiting self-injurious behavior, I had to hospitalize her. Inpatient care, then intensive outpatient therapy for six weeks. When she returned to school I met with the counselor to discuss the need to handle any attention getting behavior in a “tough love” manner. They couldn’t seem to do that. I also had a CPS complaint. My oldest has involuntary muscle movements. A nurse put a v neck shirt on her (which I should’ve removed from the closet, but didn’t) and she scratched herself on her chest. It happened while in the nurse’s care…I wasn’t even there. However, rather than ask me about it, CPS was called. Their response…they went to the school, stripped my daughter down to her bare chest, laid her on a cold floor, and photographed her. (I saw the pictures and the tile of the floor..keep in mind, my daughter was nine at the time and already growing breasts). Then they gave me one hour to “report” to their office and answer to the charges. I had no opportunity for an attorney, nothing. Just me, some pictures, and a whole lot of incredibly intrusive questions about not only my oldest, but how I parent my younger daughter as well. Fortunately, nothing came of it because the nurse was able to tell them what happened. God forbid it had happened while I was bathing her…she did it all the time.

    All that said, the things I went through were all in the realm of possibility; and the parties involved were at least well-meaning and not doing anything out of malice. And, the schools here really do try within their means to meet the kids’ needs. We have three categories in our district: General Education, Special Education, and Life Skills. They place the children in the least restrictive environment. They will split a child as needed between the three time-wise. Things like the pool toy incident with your son would never happen; my son’s class even has lower lighting to accomodate the kids who are bothered by flourescents. Like I said, this state is anything but progressive. I can’t believe it is so bad in a state with the population of New York. Every public school system should be able to meet the needs of its students. There is a large enough population, unfortunately, of special needs kids that appropriate programs should be in every school system. Your son’s disabilities are not so rare that he should continually be encountering untrained and unequipped individuals.

    The level of arrogance on display in your school at thinking they should apply their “one size fits all” approach to your child and completely disregard your imput is inexcusable. The fact it is taking you years to get through the due process for getting appropriate placement for him is also inexcusable. This wait translates into time lost getting him what he needs. My son was just potty trained six months ago. It would be a cold day in H— before someone told me I couldn’t use a pull-up because it may “damage his self esteem”. That is completely asinine. Retaliatory complaints to CPS and teaching your son to lie to you? I can’t even believe they still get to come to work every day.

    It has to be horrible sending him to school each day not knowing what he has to endure. On the other hand, I understand that it is necessary. It’s impossible to get the therapy resources through home schooling that are necessary to a special needs child, and I’m sure your states truancy laws require a lot of red tape for home schoolers, like ours do.

    I hope this gets better for you; and soon.

    Comment by Tracy — May 30, 2010 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  15. OH MARY I am so sorry for your (and Peter’s) pain through all of this!! In Kentucky we have an agency, Protection and Advocacy, in Frankfort (capital city). They are the defense for these kinds of issues- they will investigate- at their expense and if they find wrong doing, which it sounds like this is a no brainer- they will prosecute. There must be a similar agency in your state. GOD BLESS YOU and keep up your advocacy!!

    Comment by ZoeAnn — June 3, 2010 @ 11:42 pm | Reply


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