Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Physically Restrained And Suspended Over Eating Food?! Are You For Real?!

Oy Vey.  I'm mad.  Angry.  Sad.  Angry.  Confused.  Angry.  Discouraged.  Angry.  Conflicted.  Have I mentioned that I'm angry?  'Cause I'm pretty p!553@.  I literally needed some time alone and had to tell Dayton to go to his room until I cooled off.  It took an hour for me to calm down enough to feel comfortable that I wouldn't give Dayton any inappropriate "bad language" for him to pull out of his tool box of magic words used to shock or upset people.  No because I'm angry at him, but because I'm just plain mad!

I bet you're wondering what happened yesterday to get my knickers so terribly twisted...  Well, let us not keep you in suspense...  Put your seat belt on, it's going to be a fast and furious ride!

The division's behavior therapist came for a visit.  She came for a visit last week too, after I insisted the principal call the division's behavior team, even though the school ensured me that they had everything "under control."  Perhaps I should have been a little more specific and requested the school contact an "educated," or "real" behavior therapist," you know, the kind that actually went to University AND has at least a wee bit of common sense.  I have to admit, the behavior therapist looked the part, and seemed intelligent, but what happened was very much the contrary to smart.  I hate to call people stupid, but I suppose if the shoe fits...

Dayton was hungry, and after recess was "caught" eating.  The guidance counselor asked Dayton to put his food away, and Dayton told her he was still hungry.  When she asked him why he didn't eat his snack during recess, he told her that there wasn't enough time.  The "behavior therapist" steps in and gives Dayton two options...  "Pick one snack and either put the rest back in your lunch box yourself or we can help you put the rest away.  Either way, you are to pick one snack, and the rest will end up in your lunch box."   (you've seen pictures of my son, right?  He's sooooo skinny, I'm thinking let the kid eat!!!  For the love of God, let him eat!  What's the freaking problem of letting him eat?  I don't get it!!!  But what do I know, I'm just a mom).

Dayton pleaded with the teachers to let him eat, and the answer was still "no."  He threw a fit.  He got restrained by the behavior therapist, and Dayton struggling to get free, bit her in the arm, drawing blood.  By the time I got there, there was an angry, swollen bruise surrounding his little teeth marks...  How could my baby inflict such damage to another human being?  This is so unlike him, I've never had Dayton hurt me at home, or curse at me for that matter...  I'm confused...  Mind you, if someone laid their hands on me to restrain me, I'd fight and bite to get free of them too...  And why are we fighting over FOOD?  Seriously?  There's much more disturbing behavior to work on, let's not focus on how much food my little one feels he needs to eat.  Save the fight for something of more value.  Choose your battles wisely. 

So I ask the grand pupa why on earth she wouldn't let him eat.  "Well, recess was over.  If we allowed Dayton to eat, then we have to allow the rest of the children to eat."
"So let me get this straight.  If my child was diabetic, and he needed to eat after testing his blood which showed he had low blood sugar, you wouldn't let him eat because it would encourage the rest of the class to do the same?"
"That is an unfair question.  Dayton does not have diabetes..."
"You're right, he has autism.  I've emailed the school telling them that Dayton eats when stressed.  Also, his medications mess with his appetite, and I was assured that he would be allowed to eat when he felt he needed to."  (You can view the full email in my post titled "A Froot Loop In A World Full Of Cheerios")  here's the part of the email where I mention Dayton's food issues:

"On weekends, Dayton most often grazes.  I find he eats more because I don't need to give him the second Biphentin as necessary at school.  One of Biphentin's side effects is loss of appetite. 

There are times when Dayton is uncomfortable, and sometimes he copes with his discomfort by eating.  He takes after me in that respect, and thankfully has his father's metabolism.

Could I have made Dayton's food issues any clearer?

Behavior therapist:  "Lou, Dayton was not hungry.  He was trying to be in control."
"How do you know he was lying about being hungry?  And how could he use food as control against you?  Did you want some and he didn't want to share?"
"Because he didn't want to do work."
"What work did you ask him to do?"
"We didn't.  It was right after recess."
"Did Dayton know what kind of work he would have to produce after recess?"
"Well, if you didn't ask him to do work, than how can you say that he was avoiding work by pretending to be hungry and using his food to be in control of you guys?"
"It was obvious..."
"Did you know that Dayton is on medication which alters his appetite?"
"Don't you think you should have had that information before making a judgement on Dayton's behavior?"
"Well...  either way, your child should not have attacked me."
"My child has a name.  His name is DAYTON.  And if you disrespect him to his face the way you're talking to me about him right now, I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to disrespect you back.  Understand this:  Dayton is my son, he is my blood, and he is the air I breathe.  I will ALWAYS take HIS side, and NEVER yours.  I don't care what your problem with Dayton is, but you need to get over it.  All I need to know is how long you're suspending him, again."

The principal:  "Well you know Lou, that I don't believe suspensions teach students anything..."
"But you're still going to suspend him."
"Yes, I need to teach the rest of the students that they can not behave this way."
"But it's not really teaching them anything if suspensions don't work, is it?"
"I still need to make a point."
"Yes, make an example of my babe...  got it.  We can't have children eating at their whim!  So when is he suspended till?"
"Excellent.  Can I please have the work Dayton will be missing during his suspension for him to do at home?"
"Well...  we don't have that ready yet."
"I can wait.  It's not like I have to rush to work, I'm on stress leave, remember?  I'm free until June 11th.  Where should we wait?"
"I just don't think it's a good idea..."
"... for him to work at home?  Never mind.  I'll find something for him to do.  Thanks for your time."

As I took Dayton's hand to walk out to my car, the guidance counselor stopped me "you know Lou, you should write a book."
"Excuse me???"
"You're just so good with words, I think you should write a book..."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence.  We must be going home now..."  I walk away thinking what the hell?  Is she being sarcastic or is she trying to complement me to simmer my anger?  Either way...  I'm out of here.  This place is just too toxic for me and my kind.  At this point, nothing she can say is going to give me that warm, fuzzy, loving feeling about her or the school and its division. 

Yes, I'm sure she'd be the first in line to buy my book, then turn around and sue me.

So...  I'm mad.  Angry.  Sad.  Angry.  Confused.  Angry.  Discouraged.  Angry.  Conflicted.  And a little disgusted.  Did I mention I was angry?  Yet again, my son is failed by teachers' ignorance and lack of common sense.  I'm tired, and I need a break from all of this negativity.  Perhaps my babe's suspension will give us the break I crave.  I'm thinking we're going to eat ALL DAY LONG.  Take that School Division 2! 

And here I was worried about what I would write about this week...  Leave it to Dayton to be my muse. My little man.  My inspiration. 

Consider yourselves hugged,



  1. Awww, Stephanie... You're welcome. Sounds like you're having a rough time. Feel free to email me and we can chat.

  2. Thanks for speaking at our child care workshop today! You are a trooper mam! I had to check out your blog. (this story also upsets me!)