No this is not an update about the whiny unprofessional drama teacher, the new business law class and collegeman. When writing the previous post I remembered an incident concerning highschoolboy and his foray into the wonderful world of art. There used to be a summer high school program in our town. The high school offered up to twenty classes that a student could take over the summer. It was actually a terrific way to transition an anxious child into the school, let other students get ahead, or supplement your schedule for the upcoming term. Unfortunately because of budget cuts that program no longer exists, but luckily for my boys it was there when we needed it.
So we decided that highschoolboy should take art over the summer. He always loved art. He like his brother has this wonderful artistic and creative streak. His teachers loved his art work and every year begged him to allow them to showcase it in the public library as an example of the best artwork in our district. He would have none of that becaue he was afraid someone would steal it and he would never get it back. OK, a little self-aggrandisement, but a real fear nonetheless. So nothing ever got displayed.
However, because he had such an affinity for art, and it was an enjoyable class for him we decided to sign him up for the summer art class. Now art is a requirement in our school system. You cannot graduate without having taken art. Infact, if the student wants to take anyother art related class, be it drama, photography, film making, they have to take the basic art class first. So we thought perfect. This child will take the art class. It will be a nice introduction to high school and then he can go and take the film and drama classes he wants to. Well you know that old Murphy’s law adage. Get too content as parents and all hell breaks loose.
So highschoolboy goes to art class. He works on all the projects, brings in the requested materials, does the extra credit, but because he has an aide the teacher tells the aide that she is not going to give him a grade. Not only did this teacher never say anything to the principal of the school. She never contacted the special education department, my son’s case manager nor me. In fact when the case manager went to talk to her about highschoolboy she said she was too busy and didn’t have time. At this moment any parent reading this story has fire coming out fo their ears and nostrils and the hair has begun to stand up on the back of their necks. Well it gets better.
So I send an email to the District Special Education director, a very special man who I credit with putting us on the right path to saving collegeman when he was at his most disabled. He calls me and I apologized for the tone of the email. I had threatened to contact the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement, but I was at a loss and did not know what to do. It wasn’t like the class was AP physics and he wasn’t able to do the work. It was art and he had in fact done everything he was asked to do So he promised to go into the classroom and see what was going on. He gave highschoolboy’s aide some helpful pointers and we thought the issue had resolved itself.
Then came midterm grades. Highschoolboy did not receive a grade. I called the principal of the summer school and asked what was going on. She said she was going to call but that the art teacher was refusing to give him a grade. The high school special education director said the teacher was insisting on a transcript note. For anyone who doesn’t know what a transcipt note is, it is a device that tells anyone who gets a copy of your child’s tanscript that he is a subpar student and not able to do high school level work. Now if this were the case, I would say go ahead, but my son is many things, intellectually challeneged is not one of them and as I had said earlier he had done all the work and even the extra credit. So I go and talk to the case manager. In the meantime I asked to meet with the teacher and she completely ignored my emails. I had asked for her to review his work with me so I understood what the problem was since he had always gotten "A"s before in art.
Well, lo and behold, the case manager informs me that the art teacher is the head of the teacher’s union and they are having negotiating issues with the district about how much work the regular education teachers have to do to comply with the special education rules. So there it was. This ignominious low life was using my child to make a point with the district. Well she tried to use the wrong child.
We contacted the District Director again. This time we informed him about what I had been told vis-a-vis the negotiations, and how it played into what was happening with my son. Furthermore, we explained to him that we wanted an explanation of what was wrong with the art, but were going to bring an art expert with us. It just so happened that highschoolboy’s Bar Mitzvah tutor whom he worked with for 6 years has an Ed.d. in art education and is a well respected member of the art community in our area. In fact she had been a judge at the local art fair for over a decade. Furthermore, one of the nicest things about her tutoring had been all the art projects they had done together over the years. Asked why we did not mention this to the art teacher, we explained that she will not respond to our emails, that in fact we had never spoken to her. But that the reason we were telling him this was that we know that this is not the districts doing and we didn’t want him to think we had blindsided them especially if this had to go further than we would like.
He asked for detailed emails from us which we gladly provided. He then had a meeting with the teacher. I believe the summer school principal was there as was the highschool special education director. I am sure that they explained who was going to come and review the art work highschoolboy had done. I believe they also sat her down and explained the IDEA, ADA and the department of Civil Rights Enforcement. I am also sure they explained to her that civil rights violations are personal to the person and that if the district is sued they will inturn sue her for their share of the penalty and costs to the district. I believe since she was also the negotiating head for the Union there were some other laws concerning labor negotiations I am unfamilair with, brought into question.
Bitch gave him a "B".
Until next time,