Hi, my name is Laura. I am a single mom to two wonderful children. My son Joeseth is 5 and my daughter Jameson is almost 1 month old now.
My son attends kindergarten at a public school in my town. We had some issues nothing major last year. I got the feeling the teacher and principal don't care about the students as individuals. But as there is zoning he went to the same school this year and I hoped for it to be better this time around with new kids in his class and a new teacher but I was completely wrong.
Yesterday he got into trouble in music class (can't get it out of anyone- including him- exactly what happened) and was first told he was sent alone to time-out at a bench near the principal's office. Which is clear down the hallway from the music room and also happens to be right in front of the front doors to the school. Today they changed the story to the assistant teacher walked him down to the bench but the principal wasn't in her office so he was left there. But STILL it remains the same in the story that he was left unattended for an extended amount of time. He decided he didn't want to sit there and that he would leave school and walk to my mom's house. I was told a PTA member was around and saw him either right before or after he walked out the front and he was caught fairly quickly. But something SERIOUS could have happened to him, like getting kidnapped or hit by a car, and NO ONE would have known.
I called the superintendent this morning and explained the situation to him so he called and talked to the principal and I am getting my son transferred to a different school even though it's still the same public school system that I no longer trust. I can not afford private school. No one seems to be very sorry that this happened kinda like well it was your son's fault but I think that it is EXTREMELY irresponsible for them to leave a barely 5 year old by himself and expect him to just sit there on the bench! I think that something more should be done but I don't know what I can do. I don't know who else to talk to.
I had to double check the date of your posting because a very similar incident happend 2 years ago at my son's school when he was a kindergartener. Fortunately it was not my son, but another kindergarten student walked right out the front doors to go home because he was also left unattended. The school tried to keep it quiet, but it made one round of local news, so that afternoon on the soccer fields that was the main discussion. I happen to live within a block of my sons school, so I contacted the principal to question them about the incident and how could I be certain that something similar wouldn't happen to my child. He blew it off and claimed it was a misunderstanding.
On a similar note, my son was sent to the principal last year after acting up in school. He sat in her office for 30 minutes before she took him across the street to the intermediate school to sit in ISS for the remainder of the day. (Let's not even get into why a first grader is in ISS with 4th and 5th graders). In the transfer of my son from class, to principal to ISS, the school neglected to let my son have lunch. He came home and was in tears because he felt so bad and was so hungry. When I asked what he ate for lunch he started bawling saying they didn't let him eat. I asked him why he didn't tell someone that he didn't have lunch he told he was afraid he would get in more trouble if he questioned them. I verified through the schools records that he missed lunch that day and brought it to the administration. Needless to say they acted like it was no big deal and that my son should have notified one of them that he needed lunch. At 6 years old and already in trouble... This is the problem with schools today. They are too worried about test scores and following curriculum and not putting any common sense into caring for our children.
Laura I am so sorry to hear what happened to your son. I could imagine the incredible fear for what could have happened. My advice would be to take this situation as a learning experience to all including the school and district. At the end of your post you sound as if you want to punish someone. Maybe instead of wanting to punish you could help set up a new policy. Possibly one where students under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult or buddy. As a teacher myself, I can guarantee you there are so many teachers out there who are treating your child as their own. Please remember how difficult it can be parenting your own kids, now picture doing that with 30 some kids. Please know that I am not lessening your situation. However, everyone makes mistakes, and teacher's are only human. I am just asking that you turn a negative situation into something that can be positive. And if it means anything, often the students who challenge me behaviorally, tend to be the one's I care for the most!
When we leave our kids at school we also leave our faith and trust that the schools are looking out for our children. There are so many thing that could go wrong if no one is paying attention to our children. As Angie said that people make mistake which is understandable but the problems start to arise when no one take responsibility for their mistakes. If no one is taking responsibility for their mistakes how can we prevent this from happening again?
First of all, what happened is inexcusable. The Asst. Teacher never should have left him unattended. If the principal was not available, the child should have been returned to the class and sat aside from the rest of the students. And brushing it off as if it were no big deal is intolerable.
At my daughter's school, the teachers use the buddy system. If a child is acting up to the point of distraction for the other students, he or she goes to the buddy classroom where s/he sits for a pre-specified amount of time. Just the act of having to go outside of their own classroom is usually enough to deter the students from getting to that point. Perhaps you could suggest something similar in your school.
As for "This is the problem with schools today. They are too worried about test scores and following curriculum and not putting any common sense into caring for our children": This is too broad a statement. Yes, there are teachers that do not care enough for the individual, but many, and I will go on a limb and say most do. The problem lies in the system, not the teachers. I'm not sure which state you are in, but in my state, the schools are required to meet certain state standards on testing or their funding is cut. Okay, sounds simple enough, but with the MAJOR budget cuts that have been made that have nothing to do with scores, additional cuts are devastating. So, yes, maybe priorities are messed up, but blame it on the policy makers, not the teachers. And I think my first paragraph definately applies to your son's situation as well. Unless this is happening often and the principal has run out of ideas, why would a child be removed for the remainder of the day??
If anything similar happens again, I would make sure that the Superintendent and the School Board are aware of it. The Pricipal and teachers must be held accountable. It is their job to ensure that our kids are safe. However, it is our job as parents to ensure that we hold our teachers accountable for our children's time with them. If you do not agree with a certain discipline choice, you MUST talk with the teacher to come to a mutually agreeable alternative.
Looking for custom and personalized gift?
How anyone could stand up for the school in this case I will never know. You never leave a child that young unattended! I wouldn't stop contacting the principle and the super intendent along with any school board members I knew until there was something in place to ensure that this would never happen again. If someone hadn't seen him walk out that door they would have a lot bigger problems on their hands!
I admire you for not storming in and screaming at the person who made the choice to send or leave your son alone, or demanding their job. I get irritated enough when my husband gets distracted by his own socializing and loses our son on an enclosed playground in our small town! It's possible mommy hormones have something to do with my strong protective nature (I have a new baby as well), but I don't think I would even have had the restraint to use a telephone, so hats off to you! I also want to thank you for sharing your story, we're weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling our kids, and it's stuff like this that makes me shift more towards wanting to homeschool.
As a teacher, the actions of the teacher are inexcusable. Under no circumstances should a teacher ever leave a 5 year old child alone. As a parent, I would have called the media to get coverage, making certain that this will never happen again.
There was a similar situation posted on www.only4moms.com where drastic measures were taken.