Musical Chairs

Along with the Head of Special Education at the District level, within each school, there is a Department Chair of Special Education. The person in this position is responsible for ensuring all aspects of an IEP is carried out to the letter. They are also in charge of all the Special Education Teachers and any assistants working with any child with special needs. We went through three Department Chairs within the four years Shantel was in high school. It truly was “musical chairs”!

The first Department Chair, we’ll call her Mrs. G, was very young and very, very, condescending in her approach. She was like a very young Dr. XYZ if you can imagine two from that same mold. She really didn’t have any real answers to problems that would come up, but she would try to give you lots of “busy” work to distract you from the issue at hand. Perhaps, if I had been younger, and easily intimidated by authority, and Shantel had not been attacked under her watch, I might not have seen through the smoke screens she kept trying to put up. Her answer to everything was “well, you know, Shantel isn’t going to have everything handed to her when she gets in college”. I finally told her we would worry about college when we got there but right now I needed her to stay focused on making sure Shantel was getting what she needed to get through high school!

The assistant Shantel had her freshman year, we’ll call her Mrs. N, was a delightful, middle-aged woman. Her husband was blind (he lost his sight as an adult) so she at least had some knowledge of how to work with a blind person. The only problem was Mrs. N, was very opinionated, and thought I was being overly protective of Shantel by insisting Shantel have an assistant with her between classes. Mrs. N thought this would prevent other students from wanting to befriend Shantel. She suggested, if I insisted Shantel have someone with her all the time, perhaps she should walk some distance behind Shantel instead of side by side. Shantel didn’t like that idea at all because she said it made her feel like she was being stocked.  I had to repeatedly remind Mrs. N that Shantel’s safety was my number one concern, and if having an assistant with her in the halls prevented other students from befriending Shantel perhaps they weren’t the type of students Shantel needed to be around to begin with.

I really believe most teachers do their jobs well and are the experts in the classroom. I believe most of the professionals that worked with Shantel over the years were true experts in their field. I also know and communicated constantly when I was challenged in regards to what should or shouldn’t be done for Shantel’s safety, that I am the expert on Shantel! I am the one who lives this 24/7 with Shantel. I don’t get to leave this all behind at the end of the day. It seemed so easy for all the experts to tell me I was overly protective of Shantel. However, I had no problem reminding them over and over that Shantel was a fourteen year old girl, who had been traumatized by the boy who attacked her in their school, under their watch, after they told me to relax and “trust” their system that they promised me would keep Shantel safe!

Next: Who’s Running This Ship!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 00:15:09

    Wow, I could just feel the wave getting bigger and bigger!! xoxo


    • beyondcinderella
      Mar 13, 2012 @ 02:38:06

      Yes, Frissy, and that “wave”soon turned into a full blown Tsunami! Stay tuned. And, thanks for always taking the time to leave a response on my blog. It means so much to me. I wish more people who read my blog would leave a response as well. Perhaps soon they will. I hope:)


  2. Gotham Girl
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 15:00:51

    That’s great, a Tsunami! Perfect! Yes, comments. Let’s see…I’ve been blogging now for almost three years and just now starting to get a few consistent comments! People read (and that really takes time too to build the audience)…but rarely take the time to comment. I so understand, and so appreciate yours as well! xoxo MORE!


  3. Megs
    Mar 18, 2012 @ 20:06:49

    This is just crazy! I am trying to catch up and hopefully we be more consistent. Love you!


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