A meeting with school officials can be daunting — all these related meanings with different twists convey the absolute TERROR some parents may feel — intimidating, unnerving, scary, overwhelming, demoralizing. You get the picture. Parents can be dumbfounded, regardless of their composure in other settings in their capable lives. There are far too many instances where parents are made to feel INADEQUATE, and this won’t help. If your dealings on behalf of your child have come to a point where “THE MEETING” is scheduled, here are some pointers:
FIRST: Make sure any meeting is convenient to you. You can ask for more convenient times. Especially, if you need to bring a lawyer.
SECOND: You should NEVER go to a meeting by yourself. Take someone with you, and not just for comfort, but also as witness. Sometimes these events are the beginning of a longer journey. A priest, a lawyer, just about anyone will do (a neighbor), even if they don’t speak.
THIRD: Take in a Tape Recorder and turn it on immediately at the start. Say that the meeting will be taped in case you need it later. You can place the tape in a sealed envelope and keep it with you. You may need it for court purposes or for a meeting in Executive session with the School Board.
FOURTH: You, as parent have the RIGHT and DUTY to monitor your child’s HEALTH, EDUCATION AND HAPPINESS. That’s one reason we have Report Cards. But, also, you are always monitoring your child’s physical and mental health. You do this because you’re living with your child and know his or her day and night behaviors, feelings and fears. Your concerns, beyond the academic, should be shared.
FIFTH: Malpractice court action is a possibility. If your child is suffering HARM — that school behaviors are causing FEARS, PHOBIAS OR NIGHTMARES — and you can get medical verification in support, you can sue. Officials need to know this is an extreme, but available, path parents can follow.
SIXTH: Do not hesitate to withdraw the child from the school if you see it in the best interests of the child — a mental health break may be indicated. Home education by correspondence courses or other means discovered using the Internet or local support groups could provide the tools and peace of mind for a home-based program.
[My comment: Parents must realize that, by law, in the end result, THEY ARE responsible for their child’s education. Only in totalitarian nations does the state dictate. Please see this list of Parent Rights, codified after studying good practice about this matter http://genuine-education-reform-today.org/?s=parent+rights ]