Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Public School/Transportation Issue

** Bear with me with my story, it's rather lengthy! **

When Colin was starting the public school program last April, we knew that we were going to have to make changes concerning where he would go in the afternoon.  We originally started with babysitters but it was only a temporary option to get us through the rest of the school year.  Over the summer we did our research and settled on the new daycare in town that he could be bussed to.  However, there was something that didn't sit well with us and there were little things that added up with time.  When Colin's behavior started to change, we knew that he was uncomfortable but given his lack of communication, had been unable to really tell us what was bothering him.  That location wasn't a good fit for him and the only way we could establish that was to take the cues that Colin has been giving to us.  

When things started to get a little bit of out of control in terms of how we felt and the way Colin was acting, I spoke to the CST case manager that works with us and Colin in the school district.  I explained that we felt it was necessary to pull Colin out of the daycare, however, did not want to make him transition to a new daycare setting at this point in the school year and have to adjust to another new teacher, setting, and classmates.  I told her that we really felt it would be good for Colin to go back to the place that he knew, felt comfortable with, and was where his sister was.  She reiterated that district policy states that students can not be bussed out of district however, suggested that we call transportation and discuss the situation with him.  She followed up with Colin's teacher (which I had done also) to see if the behavior issues from the daycare were also occurring at preschool (they were not and his teacher said he had not even hinted towards that sort of behavior) and she also spoke with the Director of Special Services and someone in transportation.  She was told that they had to follow policy regarding transportation.  

When I spoke with the transportation office, I could not get further than the secretary.  It was suggested to me to put my request in writing and in that letter, I discussed some of the problems we were facing with Colin in his school setting at the daycare, the fact that we accommodated to the policy by finding a new daycare location, among other concerns I had regarding his regression due to his discomfort.  I also discussed the fact that the daycare we wanted him bussed to was located only 2.5 miles outside of town lines.  I dropped off the letter in person on October 19th.  

A week later, I had not gotten a response so I called and followed up and the secretary I spoke with said that the letter was still in Colin's file and she did not have any information to provide me with.  Unfortunately, the hurricane hit and the process was stalled by 2 weeks.  When we got back to school, I called my case manager to see if she had heard anything (she had not).  I told her we had already made the change because it was necessary for Colin but if the bussing did not work out, we would find a solution because we felt it was best for him.  I was being very patient because we had a temporary solution, but in order to figure out what was next, needed an answer from the district.  

Our case manager has been following through almost daily just to check in (she's been so great and helpful and I am so grateful for her!), but today (a month after the letter was dropped off), she suggested I follow up with transportation to see what the status was.  

I want to preface my phone calls from today by saying that I have been very patient, and very nice to everyone I have spoken to.  The first secretary I spoke with had no idea what I was talking about, another person called me back and said that they had a list of daycare facilities in town to choose from (obviously had NO IDEA that I sent in the letter), I called that person back and couldn't get to her but was talking to another secretary who put me on hold and patched me through to a different woman who immediately came at me about policy and that he won't be bussed.  I told her I understood the policy, which was why I wrote a letter (addressed to the director of transportation) discussing some special considerations I was hoping they would take into account in making the decision.  She kept saying "policy", "won't be bussed", and "we can't do it for one child".  I was growing frustrated because she wouldn't listen to what I was saying (I was simply trying to discuss the letter), she was extremely rude, and made me feel as though I was a parent who had been calling incessantly or pushing so hard.  The only reason I even got a response today was because I CALLED to follow up since I had not heard anything.  She gave wrong information (told me that I was given an answer already which I had not) and could not even identify any of the points I had made in the letter.  Every time I asked if the director had read it, she avoided the question to the point where she said she would give it to him.  So, my letter has been there for a month and the person who is supposed to make the decision hasn't seen it?!  

Here's the thing.  If the answer is still no no matter who looks at it, then fine, but what is really disheartening is that the letter didn't even get where it was supposed to go, and I did things the right way.  I wasn't pushy, I wasn't rude and I was simply seeking a solution to a problem that was best for Colin.  

So, I have been compiling my list of things to say, and I will make more phone calls tomorrow.  I decided I want to speak to the director himself to make sure my concerns have been heard.  I never wanted to be the parent that had to push so hard, but I'm pushing because Colin wasn't even given the opportunity to be considered.  He's 3; I think it's only fair.  When I had spoken with the case manager the first time I told her that we prepared to be told no but i just wanted to make sure i dis the best i could and if the answer is still no then thats ok... 


Nana said...

Sometimes sadly you have to be that parent even when you do the right thing. The bottom line is, everyone should be considering what's best for Colin. Love, Nana

Suze said...

Nothing wrong with what you are doing - you are being an awesome mom just looking for an ANSWER from someone. What's sad is that people are avoiding giving you an answer - whether it's yes or no. It makes you wonder how people get into the positions they have, whether it's education, corporate, etc., if they are not willing to actually do their job - they are choosing to avoid dealing with it. It's frustrating when you deal with it no matter what, but when it involves the well being of a CHILD, that just does not sit right with me. So sorry you are still dealing with this. But we are so thankful to have Colin back at GTCA!

Jenny said...

Wow...I think you have been extremely patient!! Firstly you deserve that letter you took the time to write to get to the person it was intended for...And secondly you deserve an answer!! I think you are doing the right thing as Colin's Mom in pushing this issue for him.