No News Means Things are Terrible

I finally called a conference with Chloe’s teacher this week.  I hadn’t heard a word — nothing.  Except one day, the aide sent me a text and picture letting me know that Chloe had eaten all of her lunch that day.  Another day, I saw the aide after school and she went on and on about what a GREAT day Chloe had had all day.  Other than those 2 reports, I hadn’t heard a word.

As a reminder, Chloe is nonverbal so I’m sure not getting any info from her.  I ask her simple questions about her day, and she tells me Yes or No or nods or shakes her head.  But that’s pretty much it.  My plan was to give everyone a couple of weeks and then touch base to make sure that everything was going smoothly.  I assumed all was going pretty well since I hadn’t heard anything, but I still wanted to touch base.

I assumed all was going pretty well, that is, until Tuesday evening.  I checked her notebook and found that she had gotten a number (they use numbers as discipline marks) for scratching her teacher.  The note said she was frustrated and was refusing to complete her math.  She was screaming out, “No!” when asked to do a math problem.  Wow.  Chloe doesn’t scratch.  She does scream out, and her favorite word is NO.  But scratch out of anger or frustration?  She doesn’t do that.  I was immediately concerned and planned to call the next day for a conference.

But then that same day, graded work was sent home for the first time.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  Lots of completely blank worksheets with nothing but teacher’s Xs all over it.  20 Xs.  Marked with a 0 for a grade.  A couple of sheets were completed nicely and correctly.  Those sheets had a sticky note on them letting me know that they were completed with the assistance of Chloe’s aide.  I thought it was odd to receive a note telling me that what was supposed to have happened, happened.  Chloe has a full-time aide with her because she requires prompts and helps and redirection.  Glad to know that what’s supposed to happen happened on those 2 assignments.  But the worksheets that had no note — the ones that were completely blank with nothing but Xs on them — those were the sheets that I really needed a sticky note on.  What happened with those?  Where was the aide?  Was she sitting next to Chloe, trying to get her to do her work?  Or what?

To say I was displeased would be an understatement.  I couldn’t believe all the zeroes and all the incomplete work — and I had not heard a word.  I immediately called for a conference.  The conference was scheduled for this afternoon.

My next clue that things weren’t going well at school after all was that the speech therapist saw me in the hall and let me know that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the meeting.  Oh, wow.  Didn’t know she was invited.  I again had assumed it was just me and the teacher.  I met the teacher in the hall, and she let me know the conference would take place in the conference room — I assumed at that point that probably things were not going well and that everyone knew about something I was clueless about.  Lovely.

The conference consisted of informing me that Chloe has done NOTHING in class for the last two and a half weeks.  I heard that no one in the room knew whether or not Chloe was just playing stubborn or if she didn’t understand anything that was going on.  For two and a half weeks she has been sitting doing nothing while the teacher and the aide are reportedly doing everything they can to help her.  For 13 days she’s done nothing.  And I never knew.

But then the absolute terrible part.  Chloe has been so frustrated at school that she’s been hitting.  She’s been scratching.  She’s been throwing herself on the floor.  She’s been crying.  She’s been screaming out.  And yesterday she cried for 15 minutes — sobbed, cried real tears for 15 minutes.  And I never knew.  Not one word.

They had even called in Chloe’s teacher from last year.  Mrs. M came and spent the day with Chloe last week.  They were frustrated enough that they called in her old teacher, but they didn’t call me.  Amazing.

I was shocked.  I was heartbroken.  I could barely hold myself together as I realized how miserable and frustrated and helpless my daughter has been feeling at school.  I felt cruel as I pictured myself everyday getting her out of her bed and putting her on that school bus and sending her to a place that was making her so sad.

And I never knew.  The truth is, I wouldn’t know now if I hadn’t called the conference.  I wonder when someone was going to decide that it was time to let Mom know that there were some issues.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  We, of course, have options.  All I know today is that I’m not sending Chloe to school tomorrow.  I will spend the day with her encouraging her and acknowledging how terrible school has been for her.  She might need to “talk” about it.  But surely she needs to know that Mom knows and that Mom cares and that Mom is going to work to find a solution.  I hate that I haven’t been able to ensure her of that these last two weeks.


32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rashellereid on September 9, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    I am so sorry to hear of the terrible time you and Chloe have had lately. Reminds me of last year, I went through a simalair experience when my daughter started school. My heart goes out to you both. With a loving mother like you Chloe will get through this whole business and be even stronger for the experience and so will you. Much love to you both, Rashelle


    • Hi, Rashelle. Thanks for reading and commenting. What an encouraging thought that Chloe will be even stronger after this. Thanks for that. I hope your daughter is having a much better year this year! I appreciate your comment and your encouragement!


  2. Posted by Fran on September 9, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Oh, Kelly. I am so sorry! We’ll be praying. Give Chloe an extra hug from me.


  3. Posted by Mom on September 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Poor Baby! Maybe stay with her on Monday? Let them see how you work with her. If they don’t know what she is capable of, I guess they can’t know what to expect of her. Did they have any suggestions? Were you able to offer any help? Makes me sad.


    • Yes, I’m going to spend some time up there next week. And tomorrow I’m going to spend some time redoing some of the blank worksheets with her to see how much she understands. Together — the school, the teacher, the aide, the principal, and the others up there — we will turn this around and make school a positive place for her. I have no doubt that they want her to succeed as much as I do. I will work hard to figure out a great solution for her! (But I’m sad, too.)


  4. Posted by papa on September 9, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    I know what a GREAT mom you are and very involved in all your childrens lives you are, that you would not have allowed this to go on for these past weeks if you had known. your babies know you are there for them ALWAYS .. you know now and will take care of it ..thats what you do sooo well. PLEAS DONT BE SO HARD ON YOUR SELF. I love you,DAD


    • Thanks, Dad. I don’t think I’m being hard on myself — just really feeling sorry for my girl. We’ll figure it all out and make school a safe, pleasant place again. Thanks!


  5. Posted by Julie Bonewell on September 9, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Kelly, I’m so sorry. This is absolutely ridiculous! Praying you find the right solution. Give Chloe a hug for me! Julie


  6. Just WOW! Funny thing. I was just going to email you tonight to see how things were going! Did you let them know how disappointed you were that there had been no correspondence? Hopefully everyone can get together on the same page. I’m so sorry Chloe has been so upset. I know it must be heartbreaking for you!


    • Yes, I think I communicated that. I hope I did. And I will communicate it again. That’s the worst thing about this is that no one let me know what was going on. Hopefully they realize that now and have learned it for the future — Chloe’s future and other kids’ futures. And, yes, my heart is a bit tender and broken tonight. Today and tomorrow I will be brokenhearted. Then I will put on my Fix It Hat and get busy making a plan for Chloe.


  7. Posted by Beth on September 9, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Kelly I’m so sorry. I know you must be so sad and discouraged tonight. You are an awesome mom. Don’t ever doubt that. But I know nothing hurts as bad as thinking your babies are hurting. Just know she is resilient and will bounce back. Also remember that even tho you weren’t by her side …. God never left it.
    I hope tomorrow is a sunnier day. I also hoped she scratched the people who SHOULD be scratched! 🙂
    Give Chloe a huge hug from the Hogans.
    We love you guys!


  8. Hi Kelly! Just catching up with you. I’m so happy about Chloe’s car seat. However, I am very ANGRY about Chloe’s school. What is wrong with these people?! You should have gotten a call the first week…if not the first day! My husband is a teacher, so I love teachers, but GEESH! You would think that YOU would get a call before her previous teacher. I totally agree with your decision to keep her home tomorrow. Chloe is blessed to have you.


    • Thanks, Maranda. I love teachers, too! I have many friends who are teachers, my husband was a teacher, and I was a teacher. And I also very much know and believe that teachers are human, and they will make mistakes. And they did. And I am trusting that they are very concerned about Chloe and want the very best for her. And I also hope that teachers learn from their mistakes. . . and that there will be WAY BETTER communication going forward. I know there will be from me. I will just be following a whole lot closer. It’s not the first time I’ve learned this lesson, but it is the most painful. And thanks for your support of me keeping her home — I wasn’t totally convinced that keeping her home was the best decision; all I knew is that I could not put her on that bus tomorrow. Thanks, Maranda!


  9. Oh Kelly – I’ll be praying for both you and Chloe. Have a good Friday with your baby and have an awesome weekend with the family! Monday morning will be a brand new start.


  10. Posted by Brian H. on September 10, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    I am so sad and mad about this. I’ll pray for her. The Lord is going to show you what to do and he has a plan for her good and your good.


  11. Posted by Stephanie on September 10, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    Hey Kelly,
    My heart and prayers go out to you, Chloe and your family. Thank the Lord you’re involved and you found out when you did. I agree that you should keep Chloe home and have some good Mommy-time. I’m sure the Lord will use this for good in your lives. I pray that God gives you wisdom for the way forward and that the school will adjust to meet Chloe’s individual needs.
    Love and hugs~ xx


  12. Posted by Ronda Campbell on September 10, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Oh, man. I am so sad to read this. I woke up today thinking about Chloe and praying for her. I told Glen that I wasn’t sure why….now I know. I will be praying!


    • Oh, Ronda. It means so much to know that God put Chloe on your heart and that you responded by praying for her! Thanks for loving my girl. I appreciate you!


  13. Posted by Sara Watson on September 10, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I was so upset and just mad when I read your post. I am calming down a bit after reading your responses to the comments though . WHY DID THEY NOT LET YOU KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON??? I would love to hear their reasoning.


    • Thanks for getting riled up on our behalf, Sara! 😉 I haven’t totally heard the reasoning yet. And my responses are indicative of where I want my heart to be! 🙂


  14. Kelly, I hate this for you and for Chloe. I am so much closer to this issue now that I am working full-time as a special education assistant at the girl’s school. I know that we do communicate issues to the parents, but our first reaction last year was to “solve” the problem within the school. I can see them giving Chloe a few days to adjust before making an issue about her frustration and behavior, but 13 days is ridiculous, especially since you have spoken to the aid directly. For her to tell you that Chloe had a “great day” then to find out that she has been having problems this whole time is absolutely unexcusable. We are praying for you all.


    • THanks, Tia. I am quite disappointed, but I feel sure they weren’t trying to hide anything or cause harm. Like you say, they were trying to solve it. And they don’t know Chloe well enough to know how terribly stressed out she was. But they CERTAINLY should have communicated with me. THanks for your prayers as we try to mend her heart.


  15. OMGosh!!! That’s AWFUL!!!!! I’ll be praying for wisdom for you!!


  16. […] everyone had such a rough start to this school year, I think maybe they’re still not sure what is typical Chloe behavior and what is […]


  17. […] Most commented post:  The Bed Tent Saga and No News Means Things are Terrible […]


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