What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Friday, November 16, 2007

So, so much to say

What a week. Not a normal week, but the worst week ever.

The Bean feels better. Much better. (He still has the croupy cough, but who doesn't this time of year?) That is the good news.

The Bean's school set up a meeting with The Breadman and I on Wednesday to discuss "how to get him back on track."

We talked to The Bean and explained to him that he had done nothing wrong, he had been dealt a terrible hand the past six weeks or so, but we had it under control. He knew he might need tutoring and would have to work very hard. But, keep in mind that this is an all "A" with a "B" in Math child with a perfect behavior record. So, any work he needed to be done would be done by him and I would help over Thanksgiving Week and once school started again. We knew he would need to make up a lot, but some could just be left as is.

So, we meet with six teachers, the School Nurse (never did figure out why she was there), the Counselor and the Principal. The Counselor who had told me before that she is there for the child and the parent, crossed her arms across her chest and started talking about our "sickly child and his mental state." (Excuse me, he is not sickly. He nearly went crazy due to a drug interaction.) Then she says I (me) cannot guarantee that he will come back. (Uh, yes I can.) Then she says if he were to come back he could not miss on more day the entire school year. (Well, that would be our hopes too, but kids barf and spew and have fevers occasionally.)

Then, his Language Arts teacher crosses her arms across her chest and says, "NO! He is too far behind. He cannot catch up. He has missed too much." (Say, WHAT??? In the past six weeks (which he has attended many of those days, but his attendance has been sporadic) he has missed so much in one writing class that he is beyond repair??????) Another teacher chimes in that it would be hard to catch him up, but with time and hard work, it could be done. Two teachers said he could come back, jump back in and be fine. Another teacher never said a thing.

Then the Principal says, "You need to HomeSchool him. He is too far behind. He is a bright child and we would welcome him back next year." And then, they all got up and left the room. End of discussion.

So, the entire school is soooo concerned that he is behind and cannot catch up that they are willing to set him free with no promise of an education at all? Of course, I can Homschool, and I intend to do so, but what the expletive are they doing?

I cried the first day and I cried the second day, but today? Oh, today I am one pissed off Mama. On Monday I intend to call the Arkansas Board of Education and file a complaint. They made no offer of education to my son or helping him get back on track. They threw him out like a piece of trash. I took his books to school today and hardly anyone even acknowledged us. The Secretary called me "Ma'am." I have volunteered thousands of hours for this school and worked there three years. My son is a perfect kid at school and has earned reward after reward for good behavior and grades.

I have done a bit of research and found (as I assumed) that NO SCHOOL CAN DENY A CHILD AN EDUCATION. The only way they can throw him out is if he was suspended. And, our particular school has an in house suspension - if you are suspended, you go to school and are taught individually. Hell, he'd have been better off if I would have let the mental issues go full throttle and he would have taken a knife to school.

My research also shows that any child suffering from a physical or mental condition whether it be permanent or temporary MUST be given a complete and total education. And, if they do not do this, they can lose their Federal Funding.

I intend to fight this, but will I let him return to school? That, I am still unsure of at this point. They have hurt him. He did nothing wrong. How am I to believe they will treat him well or educate him fairly?

We moved to this town before I ever got pregnant so our child could attend this particular school. Now, they have forever changed our lives. His friends, his social life, his education, his fun, his life. It's all up in the air.




  1. You should definitely contact the Board of Ed. Your child is entitled to a education no matter what kind of kid he is and you're right - if he was troubled he'd get all the sevices he needed. My bet is they think b/c you're a good family you have options and will take him out.

    Do you know a lawyer? It might be nice to get some advice, have some one in your corner. They are assuming you won't fight this, but you can. I know my instinct would be to walk away and not engage, but my advice would be to keep on this. There is no reason your son can't return to school. That's ridiculous.

  2. Anonymous6:26 AM

    I think you should see a lawyer in order to find out what your options are. When and if you do see one, bring all of your son's medical/school records with you, and a chronological explanation of what has occurred thus far. Talk to a lawyer before contacting the Board of Ed.

    Surely, this school has had other students with medical issues- aren't there any policies in place?!

  3. Sigh. I've never heard of anything this crazy in my entire life.

    We dealt with a LOT of really troubled kids, and there was no way we could just kick them out. It's illegal, as you said. (Never mind that your kid isn't even one of the bad ones.)

    I really don't know what to tell you to do. Contact the school board. Call the superintendant. Call your local news station (you know the guy who does a sort of "you paid for it" segment where they highlight community insanity?) Hire a lawyer. Do all of the above.

    If your kid wants to go to school, he SHALL go to their fucking school. They have no choice.

  4. Have you thought about writing letters to all your local newspapers? Start tooting your own horn - loudly - listing all the school events you organized and volunteered at etc etc, how your son loves school and is devastated by being told not to return yadda yadda - really lay a big guilt trip on them for the whole public to see.

  5. Uh, HELLO? Have they not heard of the "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT" that is LAW! All children have the RIGHT to a FREE and PUBLIC education!

    I strongly believe in the chain of command and feel you need to contact the superintendent to see if they have a different view. They may not even be aware that this is happening within the school.

    If it is happening to your ds, then surely to others also and they need to be stopped.

    Hell, even the juvenile delinquents get a chance to come back and redeem themselves after serving time at the alternative school, and WE are talking about a GOOD KID that WANTS to be at school.

    OOOH, I am pissed right along with you.

    It was nice talking to your mom, sorry I missed you.

  6. Oh I am so sorry you all are going through this! I agree with all of the above statements! This is an outrage!! How dare they just throw him aside like he means nothing!! Grrrr!
    The one blessing is that you're in a position to home school him. So many wouldn't be able to do that! It's just so heartbreaking that you all are being treated so shabbily...and after all you've done for that school!
    Please keep us posted on how things are progressing.

  7. Oh my goodness Shara, this is just simply outrageous!!! It seems like they just wrote him off on the bias of a couple of the teachers. And like you said, your son is a great student and you have dedicated many many many hours to that school, it's a crying shame that they made the decision they did without giving you any alternatives!

    I would definitely escalate this situation to the highest you can go.

    I'm sorry this is happening to you, but I'm sure if anyone can find a way to succeed in the end, it will be you and your family.

  8. Oh honey, I was afraid when you didn't post for a couple of days that things must not going well. :(

    I agree with the others--fight this fight! The principal and that LA teacher are banking on you just letting it go, because that's the easy way out for THEM, not necessarily the best thing for Bean. Don't let up on them! Don't let them get away with it!

    Ooh, just reading it all again just makes me SO MAD for you! And you know, if he'd had cancer, or a broken pelvis, or some other more visible type of problem, I highly doubt they'd be acting the same way. It's because they can't see the problem, that I suspect they don't believe how serious it was. I believe you, and they have no reason to disbelieve you--C has had a proven track record of being a good, responsible kid and you're a parent who's in tune with what is going on with the school & his education.

    I'm with you on contacting the Super. and the BOE--they need to know what is happening. Denying your child his right to a public education is unacceptable, and ILLEGAL. It even sounds like his other teachers (with the exception of LA) are willing to work with you, so you have them in your corner, which is important since they're the ones who will be doing the work to help him catch up! Don't discount their support.

    I've been thinking about you all day since I read this. Shara, you know that it's your job to be your child's advocate--that's what you did with the doctors, and that's what you'll have to do with the teachers. You can do it! You are smart, and you are organized, and you are strong!

    I'll be thinking of you often. Please let us know what happens on Monday!

  9. I absolutely agree, fight this idiotic school board about this. They are in violation of the law, if I'm understanding right. If I were in your shoes, I would not even start with the principal - I would go to the top and start there. And definetely let the press in on this. You aren't just keeping him home for now reason, he's not a truant and it sounds like he was a good student prior to his health issues. Hang in there, be tough (which I know you will) and do not back down. Don't take no for an answer. And consider a lawyer, like a couple of other posters suggested. Now take a deep breath, and tell yourself that you can do this and you will be able to. And tell the Bean to hang in there too! We are all standing firmly by your side on this.

  10. So sorry you're having to deal with all this Shara!

    You've gotten some good advice here and I'm sure you'll figure it all out and do what's best for your family.

    My two cents worth is to start with the Superintendent. Make him/her aware of this situation. Bring up "No Child Left Behind" and point out that by making the Bean leave school they ARE leaving him behind. I think the Language Arts teacher and Principal are looking for the easy way. Catching up would be a lot of work for the Bean, but also a lot of work for them.

    Fight the fight. If the Super doesn't do anything, go to the BOE, the media, a lawyer. Whoever needs to hear you to fix this.

    Keep your chin up. You've got a lot of people rooting for you! :)

  11. Anonymous11:57 AM

    This is crazy, you should definitely contact a lawyer, and the newspapers. One of my friends from bunco, got a lawyer and won a suit against one of our middles schools. Good luck!!! Sorry you are going through this:(

  12. Anonymous7:29 PM

    I agree with everything everyone has said. In addition to how cruel and uncaring they have been to the Bean, I can't believe how they treated you after all the things you have done for that school that past couple of years I have known you. It sounds like some really caring educational people. I am sorry that you are having to go through this, but I am glad that the Bean is better.


  13. Man oh man does this EVER get my hackles up.
    Hi Shara, I don't usually post to blogs, too busy with posting on YSQ and going to sales, but I found YOUR blog after reading Weetocks, and I love seeing your pics.
    Anyway, your son HAS been doing school work during the first 2 1/2 months of school? It's not as if he's missed a whole year. These people are being totally unreasonable and this is just wrong.
    Tell them you are absolutely NOT pulling your child from this school. If a child was in the hospital for 3 months they would have no problem with making other arrangements to accomadate them, they wouldn't just throw him to the wolves, so to speak.
    Kick butt on these people and don't let them get away with this BS.

  14. How can you say
    No child is left behind?
    We're not dumb and we're not blind.
    They're all sitting in your cells
    While you pave the road to hell. (that is from Dear Mr. President by Pink)

    Can you transfer to another school? Too bad you can't afford to send him to a private school or a fancier alternative.

    My cousin that is 14 the beginning of 2005 I think it was when he was 12 going on 13 he was kept out of school for 3 months. His mother is a nutjob is the reason but he went to school normally after my Aunt got temporary custody of him and he caught up in summer school. It is possible!

    Also my math teacher when I was in 7th grade had about 6 kids me included one day a week stay after school so they could catch up (I always have been bad at math, I hate it always will) so it's not impossible! Teachers are supposed to love kids and help them over any obstacles they might have.

  15. Anonymous11:55 AM

    I also think you need to consult with an attorney. Do you have university with a law school near you? They may have a low cost law clinic, and this is probably the type of thing they would love to take on.

    Also, check your husband's benefit package at work. In addition to your medical and dental, you may be entitled to some amount of legal time you're not aware of.

    I think you may want to save your blog archive to a cd, because you've actually been dcumenting what's been going on pretty well, and that may come in useful.

    Good luck, I think it's terrible what they are doing to your son.

  16. I'm so sorry to hear this. That's just wrong. I'd be getting all mother bear on their butts for sure! Good luck!


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