Round 2 of Back to School and What Would You Do? - My Sweet Sanity

Round 2 of Back to School and What Would You Do?

by Jennifer Wieland

This morning was to mark the new school year for my kiddos in elementary school. Luke is being integrated back into our home school district for 4th grade. Jackson is starting 1st grade with much less special support this year and Ellie was to start her third year of Pre-K. (Our district has Pre-K for those who is at risk of or already has delays. Ellie has speech and some minor developmental delays.) So, all of this should have meant that I would be sitting here enjoying some blessed alone and quiet time. As is typical of my life though, nothing went as planned. Instead I got vomit, a verbal argument with a cop, an email to and return phone call form a principal to start my day. Not such a happy back to school day.

Ellie did not sleep well last night, as has been her pattern for weeks now. She got up this morning though cheerful and excited to get ready for class because, Pre-K is still fun school. She put on her new outfit that she was so excited to wear because it was Hello Kitty and bounced around excitedly for 5-10 minutes. Then, just like that, her face lost all color and she said, “Mommy, I don’t feel good”. I thought, oh please just let it be nerves and that she will be happy and rosy-cheeked again in a few minutes. As in most households on a school day I then rushed off to make sure bags were packed with everything each child needed. To my immense relief, they were and we were moving ahead of schedule. Which in our house is a kind of miracle. Then Ellie appears and tells me, “Mommy I just threw-up.” in her most miserable sounding voice. She then proceeded to do so again on the kitchen floor. Really?!?! I have to call a kid in sick on the first day of school? Yes, yes I do. UGH!!! There went my two and a half hours of quiet cleaning time.

I then took pictures of the boys and they ended up not being nearly as fancy or nice as I had planned in my head but at least I managed to get them. That is the important thing. I then loaded up the minivan with the hubs and kiddos. We dropped off the hubby at the train and even got there early. We then headed to Jackson and Ellie’s school. We went to the office and let them know that Ellie would not be at school today and then got Jackson situated in his line for his classroom. Ellie was not feeling well again so we made a quick dash for the car where she clutched her bucket to her chin and just looked miserable.

Jackson First Grade

We then headed to Luke’s school. Our district is divided into learning centers. That means Jackson and Ellie’s school is for all Pre-K through 2nd grade. Luke’s school is all 3rd and 4th grade. He was nervous with the school switch. He did attend summer school at the new school but that was only a handful of students and teachers so it was not overwhelming to him. He has never been in a class with more than 14 children. This year he will start the year with 21 kids and 3 teachers plus his aide that works with him all in his class. So we arrive at the school. I know from taking my oldest here that you have to drop off kids on the side of the school. That’s fine. Luke’s aide though is supposed to be waiting to collect him and bring him into the school. The school has no place to stop and drop off children who are special needs. No place to stop for more than 5 seconds to drop off a child who moves and functions a bit differently. There are however about 10 police squad cars there to not let parents stop for more than a few seconds. Some of the police are standing about and some are in their cars. Luke’s aide I see is exiting the building. (Which is about 1/3 of a block away from the drop off point.) The police make me get Luke out and move on. Luke is clearly panicking at this point because he now does not see his aide. I saw his aide turn around though when a child spoke to him and take that child in the building. The problem was though that Luke was then confused and I was trying to yell from the window to tell him which sidewalk to follow. The police made me move. I drove down the block. Pulled into a driveway to turn around and as soon as I pulled out I had a cop there stopping me in his car. He proceeded to tell me that turning around in someone’s driveway was against the rules. That’s right, he said rules. You see it is not against the law. I told him I was just trying to get back by the school to make sure my newly integrated son found his aide and made it inside and wasn’t in a full-blown panic attack. He told me, “I don’t care. You can’t break the rules.” I lost it then. Really? You are supposed to be here protecting and serving these children but because mine has issues he matters less than the ones that can safely see themselves inside? I proceed to tell him that, “I would have parked the few blocks away and walked him up to the school but my daughter is vomiting all over my backseat at the moment.” Queue sound effects because she really was doing that at that moment. I tell him, “It is not my fault that the school does not have a spot to drop off children like my son.” Mind you this whole time I am looking between him and Luke, who I could still see. I have been able to see Luke wandering. I have been able to watch the worry and fear grow. Finally, I was able to see his wonderful aide get him and talk to him.

Luke Fourth Grade

When I reached home I emailed the principal. This is not something I do. I am not the squeaky wheel parent but I thought this was wrong. My child, while in 4th grade has some areas where he is not at the same level as other children his age. He does not like change. He can go into sensory/stimulus overload. He needs to see a familiar and friendly face to feel safe. I wanted his transition to be smooth today. I wanted to start off this big change the best way possible for him. It didn’t though and failed miserably. I can only hope now that the rest of his day goes well so he ends the day with a positive experience overall. The principal was great. She called me back immediately. She said that was not how she had wanted Luke’s day to go. She said the aide would be waiting there for him from now on. I don’t blame the aide. He was helping someone else’s child who needed it. The school should have a safe drop off place though for people who have to do a physical hand-off though to another adult. The police officer instead of keeping me tied up should have after hearing what was going on, got out and helped my son get to the door or had him stand with one of the standing officers until his aide came for him since I was not allowed to wait there with him.

Am I wrong about this? I was in tears talking to the principal. Should I have said anything or just let it go? I kept apologizing for complaining when I talked to the principal.

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Jennifer is a mom to 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 husband. Her kids range in age from 8-24 so things are always crazy with everything from school life, to autism and to college and beyond. She tries to bake, craft, travel and blog her way through all of the chaos and craziness that life, her kids and her husband throw her way.

16 Responses to “Round 2 of Back to School and What Would You Do?”

  1. 1
    Penelope says:

    They had 10 police cars? That is … odd. Did you tell the officer your son had special needs? Why wasn’t the aide where she was supposed to be?

    • 1.1
      Jen W. says:

      To answer your questions. Yes, our town is a bit over zealous with the police at the schools. I did tell the officer that he was Autistic and had to have his aide take him in. He didn’t care though. The principal said things were just a bit chaotic with the start of school. She said the aide would meet me at the bike rack for drop off and pick up from now on. At pick up today I waited and waited by the bike rack. The teacher was trying to put him on the bus and the aide said no to that and then came to check to see if I was there to pick him up. I told the school yesterday that he would be picked up and dropped off and I said so again today. So frustrating.

  2. 2
    Vanessa says:

    I’m sorry Cops can be horrible. I hate to be the one to say it but you were not wrong and it’s disgusting how they treated you. And there is no reason for 10 cop cars to be there at a childrens school unless there is a threat to the school.

    • 2.1
      Jen W. says:

      It’s sad, at the school the younger ones are at I have seen cops there ticketing people for the craziest things. All the parents complain but it doesn’t change.

  3. 3
    LyndaS says:

    I think you were right in contacting the principal. The law enforcement officials need to be educated about the special needs population. He must have been missing that “sensitivity” gene.

  4. 4

    Oh mama, I don’t think you were in the wrong whatsoever.

    By the way, their shirts are SO cute!

  5. 5
    Colleen says:

    I would have felt the same way you did, in fact I did as I read this. That is just ridiculous. I agree the cop was just doing his job but when he learned of the circumstances he should have either helped or have been more understanding. I think the problem is he just didn’t get it. As a mom we all get it!!

  6. 6
    Shell Feis says:

    You were definitely in the right to contact the school. The whole situation is just yucky. I hope the rest of his day went better! {&your daughter’s, and yours for that matter!}

  7. 7
    Mellisa says:

    Good for you! You definitely did the right thing.

  8. 8
    Amber K says:

    I don’t think you’re wrong at all and so sorry your family had to experience this.

  9. 9

    Oh my goodness. So sorry this day turned out to be a rough one not only for you but for your babies as well. I hope the rest of the school year is smooth for you all.

  10. 10

    OH my gosh I was almost in tears reading your post. what an ordeal. I can’t believe that police officer treated you like that. so horrible and they need to make a earlier time schedule drop off or a little bit later drop off so the transition can be easier on all of you. Hugs hope it gets better.

    • 10.1
      Jen W. says:

      His aide was waiting right at the curb today and they were down to only 5 squad cars and two standing officers today.

  11. 11
    Stefanie says:

    You did the right thing. This makes me happy that I can still park and bring my daughter to the door at school.

  12. 12
    Lolo says:

    I am sorry to hear about this. I am a teacher and know how the first day of school can be pretty tricky and most parents are just there saying long goodbyes. There is also the safety concern for all children. The police officer did not know about your son and did not act appropriately, but is seems like the principal handled things well after you spoke with her. I would suggest a special drop off to her if you did not already.

  13. 13
    blm03 says:

    We are our kids advocates. You did what any mother would do.

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