It has been a two week battle. I’m amazed that it took only one day to remove Sienna from choir, but over two weeks to put her back in choir. Sienna missed their Fall Choral performance. She said it made her feel very sad and that she “had worked very hard to remember those songs.”. She said it made her feel like “they [the school] were leaving me and [the other student] out.”
Talk about heart breaking.
It was clear they really didn’t want her choir.
I didn’t receive the phone call from the Assistant Principal as promised. We left a message expressing the necessity of an immediate phone call. She returned our call after that. I wasn’t pleased with the conversation, though.
She and the Special Ed Director called me on speaker phone. I started off by immediately saying I wanted Sienna back in choir. She said “We can discuss that possibility.” I said “No, I want her back in choir.” She said the same response.
She said the choir teacher’s concern with Sienna returning to choir was the “one-on-one attention Sienna required.” I asked what that meant. She said that during instruction Sienna would come up and want to talk about her cat and…(Sienna doesn’t have a cat.) I said if behavior was the case, why wasn’t I notified. It could have been brought to my attention via email, phone call, progress report, report card…(Sienna had a 97 in choir last six weeks.).
She said that it was just brought to her attention that morning. I said, “That’s fine, but why wasn’t I notified until now?” She didn’t have an answer for me. That was starting to become a norm.
I asked if that was why she was removed. They said ‘no’ that she was removed so she and the other student would have an opportunity to experience the other electives. She tried to tell me that when her son was in school she would have loved for that to be an option. She even told me that she would be learning life skills while helping in the library. She was really to sell me on the idea. Hmmm. Why would she try to sell me on it? If there was nothing sneaky or deceptive going on, why not just put Sienna back in choir?
I asked again if this rotation was something available to very student. She reluctantly said ‘no’. Seemed to me like they were singling out the Special Ed kids. She said she would look me in the eye and assure me that wasn’t the case. I seriously doubted that. She knew they were in hot water.
“Who initiated the change?” I asked. After a pause, she said “We decided collectively.” I said “decided collectively…without me.” (She said it was a collective decision, yet no one seemed to be able to talk to me about it and the counselor/scheduler had no idea what I was talking about.) Again…seems pretty fishy.
I told them I wasn’t happy with their answers and that something seemed off to me. She asked if I wanted a conference with the three of them. I said yes.
I knew (and I’m sure they knew) they were in violation of federal law by changing her schedule without my knowledge.
The next conversation with them was filled with more spinning and more lies. This time, she said the other students’ parents were notified, but we just slipped through the cracks.
That was a lie and we let her know we knew she was lying. She must have forgotten that she had already told me it was only Sienna and one other student. She also didn’t know that we had already spoken to the other child’s mother and knew she hadn’t been informed.
Lies. Lies. Lies.
She also lied about it being a collective decision. We asked the Assistant Principal to provide us with all meeting minutes, notes and documentation leading up to the schedule change. Funny–there were no papers. She told us Sienna would be immediately put back in choir.
Not surprisingly, Sienna came home from school and informed me that she was in PE that day (as her elective–despite already taking Dance as her PE credit). It was clear that they were just shuffling her around and didn’t have a real plan.
I’m convinced they were up to no good by switching Sienna out of choir. Unfortunately it took us threatening legal action in order to get Sienna put back in choir.
She finally was put back in choir. I asked Sienna how her first day back in choir was. She said they kids said, “Sienna! We missed you!”. I asked her what the teacher said. Her response: “Oh. Hi.”
We’ve had multiple issues with this school district. However, after dealing with this, it makes me wonder what else are they doing. What has gone unnoticed? Has anything been done to students who don’t have a voice?
My husband and I are pensive right now. We feel as though we have a moral obligation to figure out if anything else has happened and to stick up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
Needless to say, we are very disappointed in the school district. By the way, the other student hasn’t been put back in choir.
I have a feeling this isn’t over.