Principal Calling – 4 part plan of action

I’m waiting for the phone to ring. Trying not to get too busy or caught up in some project. I’m sure you’ve had those days knowing – waiting for the inevitable action of someone else. Sometimes we know it’s coming at some point, I know it will be in the next hour. The principal from my daughters school will be calling me, I will probably have to go to the school, I will have to modify my plans for the day and probably tomorrow as well.


Principal Calling  ©2015 Elayne Cross

I need to post a blog anyway, may as well get started while I wait. Life with a Special Needs child has been on my mind to share. Writing while I’m in the middle of a ‘moment’ will be as real a time as any.

Overwhelming is too small a word to describe how some days, some seasons of life are. No one likes being blind-sided, I’m no different. I know the principal will call because my daughter’s teacher, Mr. C emailed me at the end of the school day yesterday. I can’t say I will ever get used to having the principal call me.

What am I feeling?

Anticipation – this will be the third, maybe fourth call this year – It’s still October. There have been 10 weeks of school.

Dread – I don’t know but I can guess the principal will suspend her for today and tomorrow. She may add days next week. Schools often keep a running tally and the consequences increase with each event. More on that later (maybe even another post).

Feisty – well a mild feisty – I am my daughters first and last line of defense. My job is to advocate and give her the voice she lacks. She just doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand.

What is the issue?

Yesterday while waiting for the bus she hit another kid in the knee with her umbrella. That is the story I got from Mr. C. Monique, my daughter, told me she hit him because he wouldn’t get out of her way.

Sounds clear and easy right? Wrong!

Nothing with a special needs child is clear, easy or typical. The ‘typical’ kids express ‘typical’ behavior. Monique is not typical. Thanks to all the politically correct gobbledygook it’s hard to explain.

Introducing Monique;

She is clinically classified as having Pervasive Developmental Disabilities. What does that mean? I’m still trying to figure it out! I’m serious stop laughing! I describe her like this, and I know it’s not PC, get over it.

She is mentally retarded

  • Mentally mean her mind and cognitive processing
  • Retarded means it moves at a slow pace, when you retard an engine you slow it down

Her mind moves – processes, analyses, connects, understands information at a slow rate. It takes her multiple times experiencing a new skill to learn it. It can also take multiple times for her to un-learn something. She does NOT pick things up – she must be intentionally taught. Of course the exception happens ‘one time she saw ____ and does it.’

Her expressive and receptive language is hindered. Meaning, she doesn’t understand or process easily what she hears or sees – nor can she tell you, express, what she feels, needs, wants well.

The only other witness to the event I am aware of is the victim, another special needs student. I don’t know his ability-disability, they can’t tell me. So it’s a he said – she said situation with two questionable sources.

My 4 Part Plan of Action?

  1. Gather information – principals’ call when they have their plan and course of action nailed down. I need to ask well-crafted questions to offer suggestions that will be heard.
  2. Remind the principal of Monique’s inability to understand what she did was wrong.
  3. Brainstorm mitigating circumstances and possible prevention. I need to find out where Monique’s aid and teacher was during the event. This is not about shifting blame unless there was a total breakdown in services. Things happen, I get that, just tell me what…
  4. Be ready to stand up for my daughter. The principal is not certified in special education and deals with typical students behaving badly. I have to remember that and help the principal remember that without being too offensive/defensive.

In The End

  • she hit another student, that’s never ok.
  • She needs to experience consequences for her behavior.
  • She doesn’t understand consequences beyond losing the opportunity to be in school with her friends.
  • She doesn’t understand jail or long-term things.
  • She is not typical, but very much in the moment.
  • She doesn’t have a big-picture view.
  • Get dressed I will probably have to go pick her up.
  • Be the light!

Have more to add or think my plan needs tweaking, share with me I would love to hear your comments.

Have you experienced something like this, want to share to add to the story? Please share

Do you know someone else who could use this information, even as an encouragement that they are not alone. Getting a call from the school is rough, encouragement helps. Share using the buttons below.

©2015 Elayne Cross


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