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Major school issues-what would you do?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

My oldest daughter was suspended from school for being in possesion of a knife. We had to attend a disciplinary hearing where I was basically offered the choice of taking my daughter for a psychological evaluation or her getting expelled from school. There have been a lot of other issues with her at school, from skipping class to cruel comments being made towards her from other girls, consistent dress code violations etc, and they seem to feel as though she needs psychological help and even medication. Unfortunately they are well within their rights to issue this kind of threat and I don't know what to do. I don't think a psychiatrist will get anywhere with Keila, and there's nothing really wrong with her, just adolescent angst.

 

Any advice? What would you do in this situation?

post #2 of 32

I would take her.   At a minimum - she will have an opportunity to vent frustration to a third party, which can sometimes be very helpful.

 

Honestly, if you get the right individual, they will form a connection with your daughter. 

 

It sounds like your daughter is acting out.   She may be on the receiving end of bullying as well, a psychiatrist will help her in learning to sort through all these situations.

 

 

post #3 of 32

I definitely would take her over having her expelled. Like lab, I also think there may be things going on that you don't know, and the right therapist could help her sort through them - or at least give her somewhere to begin to work out whatever is going on.

post #4 of 32

This is more than normal angst. She needs some help.

 

One of my DDs has seen a counselor for anxiety and it was really great for her. The counselor was VERY helpful in teaching my DD some better coping skills, and helping me tweak my parenting to better suit my DD. She also wrote a letter to the school asking for specific things for my DD, which the school took very seriously. It was really great all around.

 

To me, it sounds like the school is trying to work with your DD. They see her compared to her peers, and they are concerned and feel she needs more help than they can give her. They feel she needs extra help and support to be successful at school, so they are giving you the choice between her not attending school there (because they've run out of options to help her at the school) or getting her some outside help and they can continue to try.

 

What would I do? I'd get on the phone and find a professional that I was comfortable with and set up an appointment.

post #5 of 32

I wouldn't say that bringing a knife to school is normal teen angst. There may not be a deep or sordid reason behind it but it's not a choice that most teens make. Something is going on and having an impartial party to talk to might not be so terrible. It's certainly better than having an expulsion on your record.

post #6 of 32

 

It's good that the school is offering an alternative to expulsion for bringing a weapon to school. Zero tolerance policies have been pretty popular. In many places, bringing a knife to school would mean automatic expulsion. There would be no chance to remain at the school and no help forthcoming. The school cannot just look the other way or treat it as a minor problem. It deserves to be treated seriously, but it sounds like this school wants to find a more positive, productive way to work with students than automatic expulsion.

 

I think you have to treat this seriously too. I agree with other pp that this is an opportunity for your dd to talk with an objective, neutral professional.   

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

It's not as though the school admin want to help her, they just have had so many kids come to school with knives and other assorted weapons that if they expelled them all they would have to close down the school. It's impractical for them to have a zero tolerance policy.

 

One of the problems that the school staff has with Keila is that she doesn't trust them. What they fail to realize is that she doesn't trust anyone. Well 3 people, two friends and her boyfriend, everyone else is kept at arms length. I took her to a counselor once, and apparently it was a nearly silent session wherein all my daughter said was that the woman didn't know her, had no right to know her and that she is able to handle life on her own. That was when Keila was 12. I'll take her, but I doubt it will do much good.

post #8 of 32

I would definitely try a different counselor. There has got to be somebody who knows how to connect to teens and in particular your daughter. I'd look for a cognitive behavior therapy to help her learn how to better deal with her peers. She doesn't have many options at this point. You should make it clear that you expect her to use this opportunity to learn to help herself. The medication question is best left to the doctors. I'm surprised the school mentioned it. It's not their place to diagnose anyone much less recommend meds. Anyhow, you can let your dd know that you're not taking that route yet. Besides, if she doesn't want to take meds, she won't. So you might as well be up front and say you won't force the issue on her. But you do expect her to make the most of her therapy sessions.

 

Good luck, mama! hug2.gif

post #9 of 32

Does she trust you? 

post #10 of 32
So, she's been having issues serious enough for you to try therapy (once) since she was 12. She is now 15 and the issues haven't gone away. So whatever you been doing to address them for the past three years isn't working. I think you are right to take her back to therapy - and don't give up after one session. Between the skipping school to be with an 18yo man and her conviction that she's going to die at 27, and now the knife, I think you are dealing with far more than "adolescent angst." It would be a shame if your dd doesn't get the help she needs from someone. Good luck!
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherAlone View Post

It's not as though the school admin want to help her, they just have had so many kids come to school with knives and other assorted weapons that if they expelled them all they would have to close down the school. It's impractical for them to have a zero tolerance policy.

 

One of the problems that the school staff has with Keila is that she doesn't trust them. What they fail to realize is that she doesn't trust anyone. Well 3 people, two friends and her boyfriend, everyone else is kept at arms length. I took her to a counselor once, and apparently it was a nearly silent session wherein all my daughter said was that the woman didn't know her, had no right to know her and that she is able to handle life on her own. That was when Keila was 12. I'll take her, but I doubt it will do much good.


I'm shocked that your school doesn't have a zero tolerance policy regarding students bringing deadly weapons (and yes, I would definitely consider a knife a deadly weapon) to school. Zero tolerance towards weapons is standard in my area and I'm glad that it is.

I think that seeing a counselor if a better choice as there is at least a chance that your daughter might find someone who can help her.
post #12 of 32

IT takes more than 1 session to trust a person enough to open up to them, especially if they are already distrusting of adults in general.  Even if she sits there & says nothing for an hour or so for a few appointments she needs to be going & have a neutral person available to her to open up to.

post #13 of 32

From what you've said, your DD has serious problems that you don't know how to deal with. Finding a counselor who is experienced with teens can take effort, and for therapy to be effective, it takes time.

 


Going once and quitting does nothing. count on at least 6 months.

 

 

post #14 of 32

Yeah, definitely  looking at 6 months. Find out what your insurance company allows in the way of "getting to know you" sessions. Over here you get 5 probationary hours to find a therapist you can click with. Maybe your insurance does something similar? That would be something in the way of expectations to discuss with your dd - spending at least 2-3 sessions with one therapist.

post #15 of 32

I am so sorry you and your daughter are going through this. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I wouldn't say that bringing a knife to school is normal teen angst. There may not be a deep or sordid reason behind it but it's not a choice that most teens make. Something is going on and having an impartial party to talk to might not be so terrible. It's certainly better than having an expulsion on your record.


This.  Did anyone even ask her what she was planning on doing with the knife?  You mentioned she has had "cruel comments being made towards her from other girls"--- I would be concerned she is feeling backed into a corner and doesn't know what to do at this point.  It is far from knife play, but I know that twice in junior high I was at a point where I was seriously in fight or flight mode ALL THE TIME around two different people.  No person should need to get to that point. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post

IT takes more than 1 session to trust a person enough to open up to them, especially if they are already distrusting of adults in general.  Even if she sits there & says nothing for an hour or so for a few appointments she needs to be going & have a neutral person available to her to open up to.


Totally.  Especially if your DD is resistant to the idea of counseling, one session is virtually nothing. 

 

What does your DD say about all of the things that are going on?  I know my kids are younger, but I always tell them that *they* are the only ones that know, so I can only guess.  Sometimes they don't know what is going on with themselves, so that is when you need to look for professional help.
 

 

post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 

Keila wouldn't have hurt anyone with that knife, she won't attack unless someone else strikes first. She's smart enough to have figured that one out at least. Her reason for carrying it was that she was going to Michael's house and she has to take it there because the person who gave it to her is there and she doesn't want him to be offended by her not carrying it.

 

Mostly all she has to say is for me to leave her alone and for everyone to stop treating her like she is some unbalanced person who could snap at any moment. Alot of the shchool staff do treat her like that, but she can be scary at times. Keila is constantly in defense mode and doesn't seem to believe that anyone can be nice to her without having some questionable motive behind it. The counselor that I took her to the first time told me not to bring her back because there is no point to her being there if she isn't going to talk. Her appointment is tomorrow with a highly recommended psychiatrist. We'll see what happens

post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherAlone View Post

Keila wouldn't have hurt anyone with that knife, she won't attack unless someone else strikes first. She's smart enough to have figured that one out at least. Her reason for carrying it was that she was going to Michael's house and she has to take it there because the person who gave it to her is there and she doesn't want him to be offended by her not carrying it.

 

Mostly all she has to say is for me to leave her alone and for everyone to stop treating her like she is some unbalanced person who could snap at any moment. Alot of the shchool staff do treat her like that, but she can be scary at times. Keila is constantly in defense mode and doesn't seem to believe that anyone can be nice to her without having some questionable motive behind it. The counselor that I took her to the first time told me not to bring her back because there is no point to her being there if she isn't going to talk. Her appointment is tomorrow with a highly recommended psychiatrist. We'll see what happens


You say she wouldn't have hurt anyone unless someone attacks her first - if that is even a remote possibility then she is dangerous with a knife in her possession. Regardless of her reasoning for having it at school it's obviously against the ru les and for very good reason.

I'm glad to hear that she is seeing someone tomorrow but like many pp's have said therapy doesn't work overnight and from your own description it seems as if she really does need some long term help. I hope that this counselor is the perfect fit for your daughter!
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherAlone View Post
Her appointment is tomorrow with a highly recommended psychiatrist. We'll see what happens


got my fingers crossed for you two! fingersx.gif

post #19 of 32

Why did this other person give her a knife in the first place?  She didn't want him to be offended if she didn't carry it???  Why does this person have that much control over her?

post #20 of 32

I would take her to a doctor,but also allow her to be expelled for having a knife in school.Even if SHE had no plans to use the knife it was against rules,and someone else could have used it.

Best wishes with the therapy.

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