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What To Do When A Teacher Causes Humiliation To A Student
My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 yrs old. Some of his symptoms have been quite severe, but he is acceptionally intelligent and Meds have helped. He is only 10 yrs old, but attends the 6th grade. He skipped the 3rd because it was not challenging to him and he had too much free-time. Fourth grade and Fifth went very well. "A" and "A/B" honor roll all year. This year we have moved to a new school district. His homeroom teacher is very judgmental and is causing him undo stress and embarrassment. To the point of agitation and worsening of symptoms such as losing control of his bowel movements. He has not exhibited this since diagnosis at the age of 5. Due to size of school and size of class- there is no other 6th grade teacher available for my son. I am having a tremendous amount of trouble even getting the school administration to acknowledge that ADHD and symptoms are handicapping.
My son has finally felt accepted by the youth around him, but rejected by who was suppose to be his true advocate---his teacher. What legal steps can we take? How do we change the perspective of this misinformed teacher and the administration backing her?
Thanks for time,
Nicole: Your e-mail to the ADDHelpline was forwarded to me for review and response. The situation that you describe is regrettable, but not uncommon. In one sense, there is very little that you can do to "convert" a recalcitrant teacher. Obviously, the first thing you should do is to bring the situation to the attention of the school's administration. If that does not work, keep going up the chain of command (i.e., principal-superintendent-board of education). If that does not work, you should file a complaint with your state board of education. You might even file a request for a due process hearing. You should also file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Education. You can file a similar complaint with your state anti-discrimination agency (in Illinois it is the Department of Human Rights). Finally, you might have to file a civil rights suit under 42 USC 1983, or a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Depending on the court decisions in your state, you might have to file for due process before you can file suit in federal court.
Finally, I would tell you to keep fighting for your son's rights. It could be his whole life. I would network around the school district to find out if there are other parents with similar problems. If there are, I urge you all to unite in filing your complaints. The governmental agencies will take you more seriously if there are 10 of you complaining. There is strength in unity. Go to the Board of education as a group and voice your concerns, If they ignore you, vote them out!
I hope that this was helpful. Please let me know how things work out. You can contact me by e-mail (email@example.com) or by phone (847/480-7749). Good luck. Steve Glink