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The Meeting

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The Contract



The Meeting

This meeting is as crystal clear to me as if it had just happened yesterday. I walked into the school with my trusty folder, my daughter's MRI's, a letter from our doctor, and a letter from an expert in the field of hemangiomas and vascular malformations.

I also had copies of laws, copies of the fax I had sent Mr. Notto, and copies of the reply letter. I also had a book about my daughter's condition that the expert had written, and a good outline that I had written. I wanted to make sure that I would not be intimidated into forgetting what I wanted to cover. This was a very important meeting--This was for my child. I walked into the guidance office, and was ushered into a conference room. Mr. Notto was clearly put out with the meeting, as he felt it was not necessary, and felt that anything that happened in the past was just that.
I told him that I would appreciate if he would be Quiet, and that I was going to get this all covered. I started on my outline step by step. I went over the correspondence between me and Mr. Notto to show the three why I was upset & to show history.

I was continually interrupted & kept having to repeat that Mr. Notto was going to listen if it took all day. I showed the three that there was a history of the school knowing about Anna's foot condition from the middle school up through the high school. Mr. Notto denied, but Mrs. Walker corrected him. She admitted that it had been on Anna's records, and that memos had been sent out. I showed the letters from the doctor & expert in malformations, re-educating the three as to what my daughter's problem was, what her needs were, and how we were going to strive to meet those needs. I showed Anna's MRI's, showed the book, and showed Mr. Notto that by the school district's own handbook, my daughter was not guilty of breaking policies and procedures--they were. I asked how misunderstandings from one year turned into broken policies and procedures the next. Mr. Notto's memory failed Quite a bit during that meeting, and I was really concerned that he may need checked for alzheimers, as the personal care home I had worked had residents whose memories were better than his. He told me that we could not use the past, but wanted to use past attendance from the middle school. Contradictions were made. I brought up about Mrs. Baum giving Anna the Quarter, and I even offered to pay it back if that was the problem.
I spoke of Mr. Varoula singling my daughter out in front of class, allowing students to discuss dropping letter grades concerning those who were not competing in a Clarion parade. I want those band students to know that my daughter did call before the 3 o'clock deadline. She called me at work, and we decided that she would never be able to stand the cement. She called Mr. Varoula after talking to me. He brought this out in front of the class. He did not mention names, but the class knew who he spoke of. They also discussed a pizza party if they won, but how they were not going to allow those who did not participate to have pizza. Again, my daughter was humiliated at the hands of the school district. Another slap. I brought this up at the meeting & told them that Anna was continually being confronted. I told them that her getting upset all the time made her foot condition worse.

Mrs. Walker agreed with me a lot & was interested throughout the meeting. Mr. Foresman sat silently, acting as if afraid of Mr. Notto. I insisted on a Chapter 15 Service Contract for Anna, as it is a Civil Right's contract, that protects her & addresses what the school is to provide for Anna.
Mr. Notto told me that if I got a doctor's excuse for her bus stop, we would have it moved closer. I asked for books at home, and for stools or chairs to be provided for her classrooms. I discussed in great length about how Anna was afraid of being yelled at when asking for help of any kind. It was agreed that stools would be there for Anna, without us asking. After the meeting, Mrs. Walker complimented me on a well-presented case for my daughter. She offered to meet with Anna in bi to monthly meetings. We agreed to schedule meetings with Anna's teachers so I could educate them in her needs. Mr. Notto talked to me after the meeting, and told me that he was surprised how this had passed him. He told me that the school would help my daughter in any way that they could. Again, I believed it. Again, I made a mistake.

Mr. Foresman walked me to the door of the office. He told me quietly that he felt Anna should receive a contract now, since we had that meeting. I walked from there to Mrs. Walker's office. We talked about the meeting, and I felt comfortable with her.

I went directly home and called our family doctor, as there are only a handful of specialists in the world who can help my daughter. I was in the process of trying to work arrangements with the malformation expert prior to this meeting, but knew that any physician's excuse is legally good. Our physician wrote out an excuse to show that Anna would be absent due to her handicap, and also wrote out that she needed her bus stop moved. I faxed the excuses to him, called him, to be told that he had a problem with our physician's excuses. I told him that legally, he would accept them. I called the doctor, and told her what he said. I felt relieved that maybe things were finally working out. I was lead to believe that the school would work with my daughter's condition. Please keep in mind that didn't ask for much. I asked for ice, elevation, crutches, wheelchair as needed, books at home, and to be contacted when my daughter had a problem with her foot. I felt that with the nurse meeting with her, Anna could address problems she was having with the school, and it would be taken care of. Any child, whether they be handicapped or not, should be provided with ice when needed.

The Confrontation

The Next Day: I came home from work to find Anna lying on our couch. I could tell that she had been crying, and knew in my heart that it just had something to do with the meeting the day before.

I was right.

Anna had went to band, and had been asked into Mr. Varola's office. Now keep in mind that his office is a sound proof room. The door was shut. Anna was questioned about what I had said at the meeting the day before. She was interrogated, and was told, "I didn't say your name". Well excuse me buddy, but you didn't have to. In fact, you didn't have to bring all this up in front of the class either. No, but you did. You made my daughter feel like someone who had committed a crime, when in truth, if those kids had not been able to compete in the level they thought, it was due to you not wanting to make the call to
Clarion. You allowed students to discuss lowering grades, making my daughter feel like a heal. Why didn't you try to call me back???? What is it with this school that they don't like to talk to parents, just intimidate students? That pizza party you discussed with them---you tried to tell
everyone that all would have participated, when in all due fairness, that was not true.
I want the public to know & you to know that my daughter's foot took a turn for the worse over that. She was so upset that her foot swelled more than it ever had. I called the school, talked to Mrs. Walker. She wrote out an excuse for Anna for 2 days (which I copied for my records), over that. She called my daughter to calm her down over that. I called Mr. Notto, and he told me that it was my daughter's word against the teacher's. I guess I shouldn't have expected any less from him.
Again, my child was put up against someone out there, was punished for something I did, and was made to look like a criminal, when the fingers were pointing back. My question is: Exactly, who is the adult & who are the students?

Something had also crossed my mind. Is it wise to take a girl in a room by herself? No insinuation of course.

Continue with The Contract

 

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Last modified: August 31, 1999 02:23:15 AM

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