Year: 1997-1998
Month: October
Leader: Group E

Situation/Case Study:

I am the art specialist and I have a sixth grade boy who is just not liked by anyone. He is a special needs student and is on an IEP. The other kids pick on him to upset him. He gets very mad and yells things like, "I'll knife you!" At recess he fights with the others and then nothing happens to him for his behavior in these incidents because he is protected by his IEP. None of the kids want to be around him. The principal does not take any disciplinary action with him. The parents give next to no support in this issue. I have had the counselor come in and talk about respect but that has had no effect on the other kids. I do have some rapport with this boy and he really likes art. I am finding I get a knot in my stomach when he walks in my class in the morning. When he leaves I find myself feeling better for having made it through the time with him. I do not look forward to being with him. When he is absent the class goes very well. When he is there it does not go well. I have reported the issue to the EBD teacher and the principal yet nothing gets done. I am frustrated. It's not right to have this disruption all the time.

The teacher feels betrayed by the administration for not providing any help or removal of the disruptive student. The teacher is frustrated by inability to solve the problem of other students irritating the student in question and by the individual's inappropriate behaviors that disrupt the class. The teacher feels limited by the lack of administrative support. The teacher feels angry by the exceptions being made for this one student. The teacher feels a lack of control in this situation. The teacher feels inadequate. Many others talked about the frustration with the lack of meaningful support.

Theories behind practice:
The group discussed: Individual difference rights. Humanistic treatment of students. The differences between elementary in secondary school treatment of students. Schoolwide discipline systems IEP goals. The concept that 3-5% of students will slip through the cracks of school policy. Lester Bauer Checklist system for classroom management. We must serve all students who come to school. Child Study Teams. Parental involvement. Appropriate consequences discipline theory. Positive reinforcement.

Impact on others:

There seemed to be a general lack of support for the notion that all students should be allowed to stay in a classroom when behaviors become so disruptive to others.

The group discussed a bit about how unpleasant the life of such a student must be and then ran out of time.