Monday, September 10, 2007

Last Week's School Saga

This is a post I have seriously been not wanting to write. But it is part of our experience here in Germany. And, I have people who are asking about it, as I mentioned it on a message board. But I never did update. So, here it goes. I am just warning you, this will be a very long post!

Sunday a week ago, we were sitting at the dinner table and Spencer was sitting right next to me. He said, "hey mom! I think I have another loose tooth!" He was very excited about it and I told him to show me which tooth. As I looked, it was one of his "pointy" teeth. I believe it is called a K9? I'm really not sure. Anyway, upon further investigation (my finger wiggling it), I came to the conclusion that it was not wiggly. Maybe it was starting to move a little, but definately not wiggly. We are talking perhaps a few months a way it *might* come out.

Then Monday the kids went to school. I did my usual errands on Monday. I ran to the grocery store (good ole Aldi's) and then I also had to take Ian to the doctors for his immunization shots. The kids came home from school and it was like every other day. Spencer asked right away if he could run to a store and buy more pokeman cards. I said lunch and homework had to be done first. He mentioned he had a surprise for me but not until after he bought pokeman cards.

He finished his homework, ate his lunch and then rode his bike to get these cards that he so loves. Honestly, I still hate the things. I think it is a waste of money. But he is happy again. And for that, I am happy.

He comes home and I immediately ask him what my surprise is. He sits down next to me on the couch and opens his mouth. He then directly points to this tooth. The same exact tooth I had looked at the night before. Well, I didn't really look at the tooth, because it was not there. It was out! I asked him, and quite puzzled I must admit, "It came out?" Which to he responded, well, not really. Someone knocked it out of my mouth!

You can probably imagine my reaction. First came the 20 million questions. "What do you mean someone knocked it out." "How did it happen?" "With his elbow or his fist?" "Who was there when it happened?" "What did your teacher say?" "When did this happen?" Ok, you get the idea. And for the record, I think I asked him to tell me the story like 20 million times too. You can imagine him not wanting to talk about it. But I really wanted to make sure I understood everything.

So, here is what he said: We were on our 10 minute break (which is recess here in Germany). And we were playing Cops and Robbers. I had boy #1 hands behind his back. Then boy #2, who was not playing the game, thought I was hurting boy #1 and came over and started pushing me around. Boy #1 assured boy #2 that nothing was happening. In the meantime, boy #3 comes a long thinking boy #2 is in trouble and just starts swinging and pushing. He had Spencer up against a wall. Boy #2 was asking boy #3 to stop. Spencer turned his head to look at boy #2 and then all of a sudden boy #3 takes his fist right into Spencer's mouth! Of course, Spencer was in pain. Started crying. Boy #3 told Spencer, well look, I got hurt too! He proceeded to show Spencer his fist that had cuts from it hitting Spencer's teeth. Then Spencer puts his hand up to his mouth and out comes his tooth and a bunch of blood. When boy #3 saw this, He said, Oh Sorry. Sorry. I didn't mean to!

Of course, at this time, the bell rings and Spencer goes into the bathroom. He is still crying and hurting. A nice boy, calling him boy #4, stayed with him in the bathroom until he felt comfortable enough to go back to class. When Spencer finally went back to class, his teacher started getting mad at him for coming in so late. So Spencer proceeded to tell her that he was in the bathroom because he was bleeding and his tooth came out. Her response was, WOW, that is great. Your tooth came out. And Spencer told her, "No, It didn't just come out, someone knocked it out!"

So I hear that they took Spencer and Boy #3 (the one who knocked the tooth out) into a room together with both their teachers. They tried to figure out what happened. They ended up calling boy #3 parents. But no one called me. My Son got beat up (again! For the third time in less than a year!) and I got no phone call at all.

I tried calling his teacher for 6 hours. No one was ever home. Of course, the school closes at 1:20 here. And my kids get out of school at 1:20. So no one was around there either. We had no last name of the boy who hit spencer because he was in a different class.

Here in Germany, The Parent Teacher Oraganiztion is made up this way: they have two parents over every class. And then there is one parent who is over all these parents for the school. I don't know if this is making any sense at all.

But, we ended up finally calling one of our parents who is over Spencer's class. We were trying to see if she had the number for the other class parents so we could get a last name of the boy. She directed us to the parent who is over the whole school. We got a hold of her, and she gave us the boys last name and his phone number.

Gardner called, it was 10pm at night by the time we got this information. And I have to say, I had been trying to call people since 3pm. This is a long time to go and not hear anything! The longer time was going, the more angry I was getting. Anyway, Gardner called. We found out that this boy lives with a Foster Mom and Dad during the week and then his Mom on the Weekends. The Foster Mom said the boy hit Spencer with his elbow, it was an accident and because of Spencer's loose tooth, it just popped out. Gardner responded with, "It was not a loose tooth!" And I am in the back ground telling Gardner to tell the Foster Mom to check her sons Fist, as I know there are marks on it from when he hit Spencer.

Well, Gardner and I went to the school first thing Tuesday Morning. First off, the principal knew nothing of what happened. She told us she was out of the school on Monday. She was not helpful at all. Told us we really needed an appointment to discuss things like this. This made me very angry! My son just got hurt at school. I got no phone call to take care of the situation the day it happened. And now you want me to come back in two days! I don't think so! I told Gardner that we need to go to the School Offices. Gardner called, made an appointment and once again, it was for Thursday.

So Wednesday, we have the boy who hit Spencer and his Foster Parents over for dinner. It was a good decision on Gardner's part for this to happen. They were able to work stuff out. This boy made muffins for Spencer. He gave Spencer 11 Pokeman Cards (He had stolen 5 from Spencer a few weeks before). And his foster Mom said the boy finally came out with the real story of what happened. And it was just as Spencer had said.

Thursday, Garnder goes to the school to meet with the Principal and the Teacher. The principal said because of Us, and the amount of phone calls we made Monday night, Now everyone in our little town wants this boy kicked out of the schools here and his Mom is wanting him back out of the Foster Parents Care! Um, this did not sit well with me at all!

First off, If they had called me, then I would not of called anyone. Second off, we called two people! We called the person over our class and then the one over the school. We were trying to get phone numbers. If everyone in our little town knows about the incident, it isn't from us. Could it possibly be that it happened on recess and lots of kids saw this happen? Um, hello, they probably went home and told their parents. But my biggest thing is, I doubt that is even the case at all. I have a feeling she is just saying that to be mean.

Anyway, Gardner went to the School Offices and filed his complaint. The problem is, not only have they not called us this time around, the previous two times Spencer got beat up, they did not follow through on taking care of the situation.

First time, Spencer was leaving the school and two boys jumped him. Schools here in Germany are different because every class gets out at different times. And every day is different as well. Anyway, these two boys were on break (recess) and Spencer was starting to leave. He came home crying and we went directly back to the school. The principal took me to the teacher whose kids beat spencer up. (the principal had no time for me!) and then Teacher had me take these two boys outside to talk to them. Hello? I have been in Germany for three months and my german was not good enough for this. And the teacher shrugged it off and said, well, she doesn't understand much anyway. He is from Sweden.

Second time, Five boys tackled Spencer in the Class room right after break. The teacher was not there. One boy put his hands over Spencer's nose and mouth so he couldn't scream, which at the same time made it so he couldn't breathe. At that time, the rest of the boys either sat on him so he couldn't get away or was punching him and kicking him. On this occasion, the teacher addressed the class on the situation and called the one boys parents (the who had his hands over Spencers mouth and nose). She also called me about this situation. In this case, they should of contacted all the boys parents, not just the one.

During Gardner's appointment on Thursday with the principal, as he is recounting these previous incidents, the principal didn't even know about the one with the five boys. And then she proceeded to tell Gardner that once again, we should of had an appointment instead of me just coming back to the school after the first incident.

After we went into the school on Tuesday, the Principal pulled both Spencer and Shantal out of their class. She asked them why they didn't feel comfortable at the school. Spencer mentioned he doesn't feel safe at recess. And he also told her that no one calls him by his name. He is either, Amerikaner (which is a bakery item here in Germany) or Junge (which means Boy). And Shantal told her that everyone always says to her, "Hey it is that Dumb American Shantal!" The principal told my kids that the school here is one where there are fights and they need to get used to it.

So, like I mentioned, Gardner filed a complaint with the school offices on Thursday. They are supposed to have a meeting now with the school offices, Gardner, the Principal and the Teacher.

Yesterday, Sunday, we got a phone call from the Principal. She had gotten word from the School Offices about our complaint. She was not happy at all. She wanted to take care of the situation internally without the school offices. She wanted Gardner to notify her before hand and thought it was unfair of Gardner not to do so. She then proceeded to tell Gardner that she and the teacher would not be able to make it to the appointment next week.

I know this is long. I know it might not make much sense. My mind is all over the place.

Here is where I stand right now! I am tired. I just want to try to put it all behind us. We have to live here. My kids have to go to that school. When I have to go into the school, I want to be able to go without tense feelings when seeing the principal or the teacher. I want there to be resolution so we can move on.

My biggest thing, is I want to know my son is going to be safe when I send him to school. I want to know that if there is a problem, I am going to be notified. And if there is a situation that arises, all parents of those involved, will be notified. I don't want what has been happening to Spencer to happen to anyone else.

As I mentioned, I want to put this all behind me. I am ready to move on. But the problem is, Gardner is not ready. He wants to continue to fight. He's got his reasons. And with that, I am encouraging Gardner to post his take on this whole last week along with how he feels.


Sherri said...

So sorry to hear about the troubles with school. I have a hard time believing there's no other option. {{hugs}} to you and your family that everything gets worked out.

Monica M said...

Wow, that really sucks. Hope everything gets cleared up soon!

Briteeyes said...

I am with Gardner on that one! I would fight it to the death!! Geesh of all the places your kids should feel safe! Give Spencer and Shantal a big hug from Aunt Rhonda. Wish I could help ya,, want me to fly out there and kick some butt?? I am part German,, I can give it right back to them for ya! *wink* Hugs!!!!

Gardner said...

thanks for the kind words. We'll try and keep folks posted as the story unfolds.

March 2007