In School Suspension, Alternate Placements, and Other Ramblings

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lfpo76, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. lfpo76

    lfpo76 New Member

    First of all, I think the use of ISS ("In School Suspension", though I'm pretty sure all of us here are pretty familiar with it) as anything more than a 1 day punishment is pretty much pointless bullshit. Even just for one day, most of our kids are probably scarcely able to tolerate it.

    My difficult child (14 yr old teen boy, ADHD and possible ODD, though we thankfully don't often have compliance issues at home) has had plenty of ISS throughout the years, though now that he is in high school (9th grade), he pretty much refuses to sit through it. He will almost always walk out (or request to) or be kicked out, and spend the day in the Assistant Principal's office area doing his work instead. He is on a 504 with an IEP assessment in process, otherwise they probably wouldn't allow him to sit and do his work in another area.

    Our school district gives ISS for anything from too many tardies to larger behavioral/disciplinary issues, and I absolutely dread it every time I know my son has it ahead of him. I cannot recall the last time he made it through successfully. He is doing so much better in his classes the past several weeks (abilify and concerta seem to be showing positive results), but has gotten into some trouble joining his friends in a couple of fights between classes (the school "friends" are something we are being very vigilant about).

    The thing is, due to his repeated behavioral issues, he now has a DAEP placement (alternative school) for the minimum placement allowed of 4 weeks. Honestly, I advocated for this because his SPED/IEP referral will be in process while he is there, it should allow the situation with the groups of kids fighting at school to settle down, hopefully allow my son to continue to stabilize on the relatively new medications, and his counselor is pushing for the IEP to be in place when he returns to the main campus.

    Now, my older son (16, 11th grade), who may have a bit of the obnoxious teenager syndrome but has never got into trouble in high school, has found himself in trouble after hitting another kid in the face in a classroom disagreement. Extremely poor and impulsive decision which he regretted immediately. Despite it being his first time getting in trouble, he was given a DAEP (alternate school) placement for the minimum of 4 weeks. He was devastated and vowed he wouldn't go. We explored other options but they were all too complicated and may have resulted in him losing credit for the semester, so I finally was able to reason with him and advise him to go and get the 4 weeks over with and move on from there. There's more punishment to be had: although he hit the kid just one time (again, he was definitely in the wrong and deserves consequences) and I don't believe there was an injury, the parents filed an assault charge on him. So now we have that to deal with.

    My typically difficult child/teen (14) started his DAEP placement today. It's honestly a relief because he's out of ISS limbo, which he refused to sit through so of course the school is calling or emailing me daily (not unusual anyway).

    My older, usually not in trouble teen (16) starts his tomorrow. Today, after his second day in ISS, I got an email from his AP that he too would not remain in ISS and had to work out of the front office.

    How embarrassing. I thought they'd see that I at least had one kid who could act right.

    Anyway, so with regard to the ISS limbo: When kids are awaiting DAEP placement, or the school is trying to figure out their punishment, they sit in limbo in ISS until it's all figured out. My younger teen told me one of the kids that got in trouble along with him for fighting was told he may be in ISS for 2-3 weeks while they try to figure out if he's going to DAEP. What is the point of this?

    Can any of you relate? Do your kids struggle with ISS as a punishment, or outright refuse to comply? Have you dealt with DAEP placements?

    I am already so constantly stressed with my typically difficult 14 yr old son (though he's back to his usual happy, compliant, respectful self at home after a brief moody stint on depakote - though it seemed to be helping at school). All along, I've been so grateful my 16 yr old doesn't get in trouble at school. Now, suddenly, I'm getting calls about his behavior - though it all stems from the one incident. Sigh.

    There is some background - the fact that though he (16 yr old) played as a starter on both freshman and jv basketball teams at school his 9th and 10th grade years, and suddenly and without warning didn't make the team his junior year - this happened just a few weeks ago. So I think he's in sort of an identity crisis, even if he doesn't know it. I do have a suspicion his not making the team could have more to do with politics now that his younger brother is at the same school and has had so many issues (that I know the coaches are very aware of - they've made comments about younger son to my older's sons athletics class, trying to make an example out of 'kids who act like that')...After a few days of sleeping on it, I sent the coach a very polite email asking for constructive comments on why he wasn't selected so he knows what to work on if he wants to try again his Senior year. The coach told me they look at grades (his lowest was an 89), behavior (his conduct in basketball was marked as "Excellent" and he hadn't been in trouble before) and skill (he was a starter and had very little bench time the past two years). So I think now 16 yr old is feeling ostracized, rightly or not, and questioning who he really is, if not a school athlete? It's suddenly a pretty tough time for him, and it's showing.

    The difficult child (14) was very much looking forward to trying out for the team also, as he's always excelled in basketball, but ended up being suspending on try outs day. I'm almost relieved now, because I realize they never would have let him play.

    Anyway, now I'm double worried and exhausted. And I just want to know how your kids deal with school punishment like ISS? DAEP? Success stories if your kids are older now (THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE, BRING THEM ON!).

    I know I've covered a lot of ground here. Stream of consciousness. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi! Areyou living in the U.S?

    I never heard of short term alternative school placement. But I really didnt have the same issues you are having.

    Hopefully others who know more will come around.
  3. lfpo76

    lfpo76 New Member

    Hi there! Yes, we're in Texas. The minimum placement (the school is referred to as the "Annex", not the same as the juvenile school, and the kids aren't expelled) is 4 weeks, and the maximum I think is 45 days. It's more or less the next level after out of school suspension (also pointless).
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, where Iive in school suspension is rare and out of school suspension even rarer (at least in the district I teach in). I've never heard of a four week alternative placement.

    Back when my difficult son was in school suspension was a bit more common and my son had several in elementary, a few in middle and maybe one in high h school. He did attend an alternative school for one year but it was a great thing for him.

    Iss would never have worked for my son. Whoever would have supervised it would have never survived his constant taking

    I really feel like although your other son was wrong, an out of school placement is way more than he deserved,
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This sounds horrible to me. This school, and school district. I agree with the others that the punishment seems way excessive. Your children seem ganged up on and as if there is public shaming going on.

    I am glad the IEP is in process for the younger one, because if he is compliant at home there is something going on with him that is triggering him at school, such as a yet to be diagnosed learning disability, anxiety, or bullying, etc., or a combination of these (and I see he has an ADHD diagnosis). Bullying can be done by teachers too.

    I do not know what to tell you. I yanked my son if there was this kind of thing happening which I perceived as abusive. But we were in a situation where I could seek alternatives and most people do not have that kind of flexibility.

    I feel terrible for both boys if they lose their sports, because this is exactly the thing they both need, I would think. Neither one of them deserved this, I think.

    When the system is punitive and unenlightened the only thing there is to do is fight, but that can bring down more on the kids. So you are in a double bind.

    It sounds like your big boy is reasonable and self-aware. He seems to have handled what happened to him with maturity and self-restraint. While these things happen, from the little you write, it seems out of character for him. Were the boys supervised? Where was the teacher? Does he say what was going on?

    This school seems so out of line I wonder if they are doing their job?

    I mean, I do not want to defend bad behavior, but from what you describe, the problems seem to be with the system as much as with the kids.

    I wish I could give you ideas, but really I can't. Schools here do not have the kind of power that you describe, and I really wonder if what this school is doing is even legal. You might check into that a little bit. It may well not be.

    PS I see that younger son has ADHD. That is enough for an IEP. My son's IEP was based on this diagnosis, under other health impaired.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  6. lfpo76

    lfpo76 New Member

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts on this! Yes, it's been very difficult. To add to it, I learned yesterday that it seems it was the school that filed assault charges on my older son, not the parents of the other student (at least from what I can tell). I've had both another officer at the school police dept and now the lady with the juvenile probation dept (he's not on probation but they're the first point of contact when a charge is filed) tell me the report is very poorly written and does not include any information with regard to the other student's injury, but he was charged with Assault Bodily Injury and the prosecutor accepted it.

    I'm concerned about how the stress and stigma is affecting him. I have a dr. appnt for an assessment for him next week, to see if he may need other supports. They think he will probably just get a deferred adjudication and it will never go on his record but we have to spend $2-3k to retain an attorney.

    It's all just so ridiculous. It could have been handled in a very different way that would have provided much more effective consequences. The school district is well respected and the high school in particular is top 25 in our very large city, including all the surrounding suburbs. BUT, my view is if your kid is not fitting in the way they want them to, they will do what they can to get them out. Sadly, this is the second time this school district has filed a charge on my boys.

    Not sure if I mentioned in the original post, but they did it when my younger son was in 7th grade, had a meltdown, and broke his school tablet on the ground. Never provided any resources or counseling, just charged him with destruction of school property, had him arrested at the school the next day, and sent him to the alternative campus. So them charging my older son with a misdemeanor assault is the second time - somehow I just realized this last night. I'm seeing his self esteem just plummet.

    What he did was such a poor choice and I am working to get him help managing his anger. But I honestly see this type of thing as little more than a school to prison pipeline for young boys, and it pisses me off. I would pull them out in a second if I had the $40-60k annual tuition for private school for both of them - somewhere they would be supported that didn't treat them like kid criminals, and had a structure more conducive to different types of kids. My husband and I have a fairly high combined income, but it still isn't practical for us. If things don't improve, I'll have to look into charter schools or some other option.
  7. Danielle Gorbet

    Danielle Gorbet New Member

    Hi, I live in California. But I am pretty sure that this goes to education period. First about me, I am a behavior specialist with an autistic daughter which is why I got into the field. I have had so many issues with my local school district, and I have so far got what is needed. Where is what I know about the suspension and IEP's.
    Functional Behavioral Assessment & Behavioral Intervention Plan
    The school must conduct a "Functional Behavior Assessment" (FBA) and develop and modify a behavioral intervention plan as necessary to address the behavior for which the student is being disciplined. (U.S. Code Section 1415(k)(1)(D))
    What you need to do is make sure that a school psychologist evaluates your child for the FBA. In my experience, I was told that school psychologist did, but my daughter's behavior didn't change. It wasn't until I requested all of her school records that I found the report that the psychologist wrote and he did not perform an FBA. He just made up a behavior plan.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My youngest got ISS once. I told the assistant principal that it would be the wrong punishment and not to come looking to me for solutions when it backfired. Youngest LOVED it. No other students talking or bothering him, he got a week's worth of work done in under 1 day and could read after that. If a student behaves in ISS (usually given for a week here if they give it), they are sent back to class sometime on Wednesday. When they gave my youngest the option to go back to class, he said "No, thanks" and went right back to his book. Of course the idiot assistant principal called me to see what to do then. I laughed at him and told him that it wasn't my problem, it was his. Of course we all understood that the only reason my son attacked the other kid is because the ohter kid bullied him for MONTHS up to that point. No one ever bullied him again in school after that. They were a touch afraid of his temper.

    As for the charges, don't admit ANYTHING to the school. Be aware that if they are dragging their feet on the IEP, your son STILL has the protections of the IEP. If the behavior is a manifestation of the problems that got him evaluated, the school CANNOT punish him. Pressing charges is part of punishing him, so a good lawyer may argue that the school is not legally allowed to press charges against him. I know this worked in a local court for another student in our district.

    Check into your son's rights with the IEP and vigorously defend them. Even the change in placement from the regular school to ISS and tehn to the alternative school should NOT be happening without an IEP meeting. If they are still evaluating, then that should put ALL of this on hold. Your son has rights, though TX schools are notorious for walking all over them if parents don't fight them tooth and nail.