Thursday, January 15, 2009

Attitude Adjustment Attempt

Have you ever had one of those days where you pushed your emotions to the side and sincerely tried to help out an undeserving soul? No. Oh, well. You'll probably not relate much to this story.

Yesterday, the parent of a boy - let's just call him Booger - came to the school to meet with the teachers and me. Booger is well, much like a booger you can't flick off. He doesn't do anything really, really bad. For instance, he has never stabbed another student with a pencil. And he hasn't ever taken a child's lunch money in the bathroom. But the sum of all his irritation adds up to a lot of stress. The 'I'm sinking on the Titanic and I don't think I can swim that well' kind of stress.

Booger has a diagnosis of ADHD. Whoop-dee-doo! So does my son. And my husband. And my darn dog. We are dealing with his impulsivity and his need to always be in motion while making humming sounds that sound like bees on crack. That part is a no-brainer. What we struggle with are all of the arguments, the eye rolls, the refusal to follow directions, and the I'm going to kick the back of this desk so that everyone on this hall can appreciate the neat reverberating sounds it makes... For the record, Booger has had some good days and we've made a pretty big deal about that. I remember both of those days well.

Booger's mom dismisses all of his behaviors because he has a diagnosis of ADHD. He is accountable for nothing. This is very frustrating to deal with (Look, there is a blunt object upon which I must go bang my head...).

But back to yesterday's meeting. I asked Booger's mom to stay after the meeting so we could discuss her upcoming appearance (today) in truancy court for all of Booger's tardies and absences. She stayed despite her verbalization that she needed to get to the nail salon. Even though the mother had been rude and full of attitude, I felt compelled to coach her through what the possibilities would be when she was in front of the judge. I emphasized over and over that she would need to be respectful - especially when the judge was talking to her. This judge can be rather tough - and he is especially tough on parents with a bad attitude.

Now let's take a Batman leap to today. Booger's mom's name is called. All is solemn and quiet because this is a freaking Juvenille Court. And there is an ornery judge present.

And in walks Booger's mom. Laughing and carrying on as if she were going to party like it was 1999. Only they don't have parties in court rooms. And it was 2009.

There was a collective gasp. I think the entire court room knew this was not going to bode well for her.

Without going into the details of the blood bath, I can sum it up by saying that it did not go as planned. The judge EXPELLED Booger until Booger and his mom have a psychological evaluation and the doctor reports back to him.

Booger's mom seemed to not care. When she came to pick Booger up from school after court, she had it all figured out. She had made the decision to put Booger in a private school or to Home School him (that really scares me given how *responsible* this mom can be).

And I'm rather pissed with this mother. After all the coaching to HELP her, she did exactly the OPPOSITE!

Hmmmmm... Now that I think about it, Booger acts just like her. Yet another example of how nuts don't fall far from their tree.


amy said...

wait a second, beth. They can do that? just...EXPEL a kid from school, based on his parent? Poop. Clearly I'm at the wrong freaking school. Actually, my school did try to have a kid expelled once. Or his parent's educational rights revoked. Or something. I (thank the gods) never worked with him, just got my crazy 1st grade kid stories secondhand. But one of our administrators dropped the ball and it never happened. This was the kid who claimed his dad was 50 Cent, and that if his 1st grade teacher wasn't careful, Fi'ty (and his posse) would do a drive by on her. (To her credit, she responded--and without a trace of irony: "Oh my! How fabulous! Your daddy works at a drive through?? Which one is it? McDonald's? I'll come by and visit him!")

And I agree: nuts, apples...they all fall very close together. I wish there were less nuts, more apples. But only the Red Delicious kind of apples. Those Granny Smith ones are pretty sour.

Poor Booger. :-( But maybe his mom will take him to the nail salon with her a lot and he'll learn a trade. In between her well-planned out algebra, science, and reading lessons, of course.

Candice said...

I'd imagine that your line of work is very rewarding on most days, but having to deal with clueless parents has got to be so damn frustrating.

That kid had a chance despite his disability, ya know. Many kids have a chance, but as sperm they were unfortunate enough to swim inside the ovum of a complete tool.

You've got to pat yourself on the back for at least trying. That's all you can do.

Deb said...

what a complete nightmare. you certainly did all you could do and, i know this sounds cold (see? i'm one of those that can't relate you mentioned!), but now you can spend more time helping those that want it.

only a movie said...

Wow. I've never heard of such a thing. Is he in special ed?
*Bees on crack* - Love this. One of my guys was like that today. Sang all day long. Oh, and sang after school as well - a song about how much he hates the late bus. Not his best day. Though hard for his teachers to keep a straight face.

Braja said...

Grrrr. Some parents.

Kristina P. said...

Hey, we deal with the same parents and kids! I've had clients kicked out of court for doing stupid things. Parents just don't get it.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

They don't expell kids in Hawaii. Seriously. Wish they did.

Beth said...

Amy - We have a local judge who is a HUGE advocate for the schools. He may be the key to what is missing from NCLB - making the parents do what they are supposed to do. If she doesn't get him enrolled in school or signed up for home school within a month, they'll arrest her. I just hope Booger gets in school because he really has potential.

Candice - Most days are great days! And the ADHD that this kid had really wasn't as significant as his will to defy directions. His biggest disability had 10 nails and would rather be in a nail salon.

Deb - Thanks for the encouragement. I would have rather seen Booger placed with a different mother. Maybe one who cared.

Only a movie - Booger wasn't special ed. Really, he had a lot of authority issues. His being busy didn't impact his academics. His attendance did. And his mother's encouragement of blaming everything on the teacher did, too.

Braja - If we could make parents be parents, then we will have solved a lot of problems.

Kristina - Like you, I'm AMAZED when people go in and argue with the judge. He has the authority to arrest you, throw your child out of school, and/or ban someone from the county. I'd rather argue with a grizzly bear.

Pseudo - There are some kids who do NOT belong in school. One of the older kids (only 13) got thrown out yesterday because he was in front of the judge with his 5th felony! I wouldn't want my child in his classroom! Schools have to be safe and some kids just aren't. Fortunately, there aren't very many.

Laura said...

this is fantastic.

nikkicrumpet said...

Maybe I'm just a cold, uncaring, mean person. But how come in the last 5 to 10 years....any time a kid is out of control he has ADHD or something like that. And how come these kids didn't exist in the 60's, 70's and 80's? Back then if a kid didn't behave he got punished and he pulled his stuff together. Now they label them with a "disease" and make excuses for their behavior....oh and give them drugs to control them. And then years later wonder how on earth they are all drug users. I just shake my head sometimes.

Beth said...

Nikki - I don't think that makes you cold, uncaring, and mean - just honest. Truth be known, a lot of us have had to learn to control impulsivity, etc. If medicine helps, then fine. The bottom line is that every single person is responsible for their actions. Besides, I've never seen bad attitude as a side affect of ADHD.

Eudea-Mamia said...

This makes me sad on so many levels, but mostly for the child. He doesn't stand a chance.