Sunday, March 25, 2012

She Doesn't Deserve This Shit

On March 15, the teacher's aide in Emelia's pre-Kindergarten classroom asked Emelia to move, and when she explained that she was allowed to sit where she was, the aide picked up Emelia by the arm and moved her to where he wanted her to sit, leaving a bruise where he grabbed her.

The weekend following the incident was one of concern and anxiety, as we heard nothing from our inquiries and complaints. On Monday the 19th, I went to the school alone, because if the aide remained in the classroom, we weren't going to let Emelia go. Fortunately, the assistant principal told me that the complaint was being handled, and that while it was pending, the aide would not be in the classroom. I called Kathy to let her know that she could bring Emelia after all.

The teacher has been ecstatic since the suspension started. Only after the incident did we learn that (1) there was an injury-causing incident with another student last semester; (2) the aide allegedly has been bullying the teacher in addition to the students; and (3) allegedly the aide has been doing very little in the classroom, leaving the first-year instructor to do almost everything. Last Monday Emelia told us about her day in far greater length and detail than she ever has. On Tuesday night Kathy noticed that Emelia wasn't grinding her teeth in her sleep.

Kathy and I have established three priorities in our efforts to deal with this incident. First, that he no longer be in Emelia's classroom, and we seem to have achieved that objective. In conversations with the teacher, she has indicated that the principal has let her know that regardless of the outcome, the aide would no longer be in her classroom. Second, that he no longer be at Emelia's school. That issue has not been resolved yet, but we are hopeful that the investigations (District school board, criminal, and Child Protective Services) will result in this happening -- meeting this objective is made more likely given that the incident was witnessed by the school's visiting artist. Third, that he no longer be employed in a position, inside or outside of DCPS, that places children in his care. I don't think this will happen, but we are doing what we can to achieve this objective as well.

Once we learned that the aide would no longer be in the classroom the anxiety that we have been feeling mostly went away. While we can't help but question why the aide was in the classroom despite the problems the school was made aware of previously, at least there has been no serious injury to anyone.  

For what it's worth, this is the second incident we've had with a teacher at Emelia's school. Last year, while Emelia's class was between teachers, the substitute decided to make an example of Emelia after she had an accident by making her stay in her pee-soaked clothes all day long. That teacher is no longer a substitute for DCPS. 

Two teachers in less than two years -- hopefully, there won't be any others.