Saturday, September 15, 2012

Second Warning Shot

So - here is the general text of the letter I am sending to the principal of Little Man's school.  I'm copying the Director of Special Education in the district and the Superintendent of the School Board.  Let me know if you have any thoughts - it probably won't get mailed until Monday evening.

Dear Mr. Principal,
As you are aware my husband and I offered to pay for attendance by one staff member from your school to a seminar regarding FASD and learning.  The offer was made the week before school began.  After about a week you informed me verbally that no one from the staff was interested in attending, indicating that they were too busy with other activities.  In our tri annual review meeting with the staff that work most closely with our son, my husband asked why no one had been interested in the opportunity.  All members present at the time were surprised to hear that we had made the offer.  Not one was even aware that the opportunity had been presented to the school.  We voiced rather extreme surprise at this and several staff members offered to go back and review their e-mail and other memos to be sure information about our offer had not been sent and overlooked.  At the IEP review meeting all members confirmed that they had checked and found no record of our offer being communicated to them.
We are very distressed and frankly confused.  We are well aware, as is all of the county, about how tight the school budgets are and cannot understand why an offer for continued teacher development would be ignored when it is offered free of charge to the school.  The seminar we proposed to pay for was offered outside of school hours so it would pose no interference with the staffs normal duties.  I provided you with ample information regarding the presenter, Diane Malbin, and even a cursory google check of her name would have confirmed that she is a nationally recognized expert in her field.    (see
Children affected by alcohol in utero are NOT a rare occasion. Each year in the United States, by the most conservative estimates,  40,000 babies are born with FASD.  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010).  Recent in-school studies suggest that cases of FASD among live births in the U.S., previously reported as approximately 9 per 1,000 (Sampson et al., 1997) could, in reality, be closer to 50 per 1,000 (May, 2009). In addition, recent retrospective analyses of hospital admissions data indicate that under-reporting of alcohol misuse or harm by women may further disguise true prevalence rates (Morleo et al., 2011). 

We know that the people working with our son are devoted to the education of children, that they do the work they do because they care.  We believe that had they known about the opportunity we were offering there would have been at least one willing to attend the training offered.  We would like an explanation, please, for why the offer we made was not relayed to the staff.  I personally would also like an explanation for why I was told the offer had been relayed and was declined when clearly that was not the case.  We would appreciate the courtesy of a written response on these two questions.
Little Man's Parents


  1. I think the letter sounds fine and I would send it. Regarding the two questions that you asked at the end - you probably know the answer already. What response are you looking for? Do you still want one of his teachers to take the training. If that is the case - you might want to mention that.

  2. Actually - I honestly have no idea why our offer wasn't passed on. I assume that he told me no one was interested because he correctly surmised I would be very angry that he chose to just ignore the offer. But I am interested to know if he will own up to being a gutless weasel. The specific training we had offered topay for is over and unfortunately training offerings on FASD rather thin so having someone attend now is not possible. However, if he (or either of the other two) try expressing interest now that the opportunity is gonethere is a four part DVD training that I would pay for - but only if I know that someone is going to USE it.

  3. I was just thinking he was blowing off your suggestion and told you no one was interested just for something to say. But maybe I'm wrong. You don't think the teachers are lying about it do you? I am also interested what he will say.

  4. It's possible but I doubt it. I don't think 7 of them could have faked surprise that convincingly. Plus several have told me privately that they agreed with my decision to hold him back last year. They are very guarded in what they will say with him in the room though. I have the strong impression he is not good about "underlings" that don't spout the party line.