Need Advice Plz- Hurtful school rule for 1st Grader in TX - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-05-2014, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Need Advice Plz- Hurtful school rule for 1st Grader in TX

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and signed up in hopes that someone could give me some helpful advice. I am so mad right now I can't think of anything productive to do about this situation.
Yesterday my 1st grader had an end of school awards ceremony. It was during school so it was mandatory for her to attend. Every student in her class got an award, except her. The other first grade classes had one or two children who did not receive an award either. In each class there was only one or two kids left out. My husband and I watched our daughter try not to cry and then wipe away tears as her friends told her, "Don't worry, you'll get something.". By the end of the ceremony she was one of maybe 7 kids who received nothing. (this was out of a group of 5 first grade classes) My daughter is not a problem student or a discipline problem in any way. She is shy, quiet and reserved. The way this awards ceremony was set up made her feel awful. I fully support the concept that an award must be earned but I think that when over 95% of the class gets an award, the adults need to make sure that the other few kids are not left out. So far I have talked with her teacher- who was too afraid of the principal to be of any help. She forwarded an email I sent her after our talk to the principal but that was all. The principal did not return my call but sent an answer to the forwarded email that basically said, "Sorry but that's that way we do it here. Thanks for your feedback."
Since that was not the way they did it last year, I would really like to make sure that next year these idiots don't do something like this again. I am all for children earning awards and I think that if they only recognized maybe 5 or 10 students out of a 30 student class, that would be fair. But to recognize everybody except for one? I'm furious! Who to complain to that will get something done? This is KISD, Rhodes elementary.
Any advice is appreciated and thanks for reading!
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#2 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 06:41 AM
 
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This is terrible. I completely agree with you. Leaving out just a handful of rather young students is cruel. I would send my daughter an award in the mail (she is almost 6 and loves receiving mail with her name on it). I would also ask the school psychologist what they think of this deplorable "ceremony". You could go above your principals head and contact the school board. They should change the way they award children. If all else fails, is transferring schools an option?
When I was in school the award system was very different, only a few got awards. I didn't receive many awards, but I never felt hurt. I am so sorry your girl is hurting. Best of luck to you.
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#3 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your reply! I am not sure if they have a school psychologist. That's a very good idea and something I had not thought of. I will have to check. I also like the idea of an award in the mail but knowing my daughter she'd see through that, lol.
I've been trying to reach the school board with no luck. We've even been considering homeschooling (not just because of one incident, this school is pretty terrible all around)
Really wish we could transfer schools. I wonder what the criteria is to be allowed to transfer without having to move out of the district. I'll have to check on that as well.
Back when I was in school awards were only awarded to a few of the highest achieving students and, you're right, no one felt hurt. Thank you again for all the good ideas!
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#4 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 04:14 PM
 
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I also like the idea of an award in the mail but knowing my daughter she'd see through that, lol.
I am stunned and appalled by the behaviour of the school and the principal.

With respect to the idea of a compensatory award, I think my kids would also have seen through something like that if I was trying to pass it off as originating from the school. But I wonder if you could pull off a compensatory award with honesty. I expect teacher would be willing to contribute and sign a sentence celebrating your dd for something she does well, and you and her dad and maybe grandparents and the leaders of any extra-curriculars she is involved in could add similar statements, and you could pull the whole thing together as part of an award which you presented to your dd honestly as a celebration of her overlooked specialness. Even just a card signed by everyone with their "You're special to me because...." statement, plus a gift certificate or a promise of a special family event. And make it clear that you're doing this because she was overlooked at school through a "stupid kind of accident that a lot of people felt badly about" but that doesn't really matter, because "everyone really enjoyed putting this together, and I think celebrating you this way at the end of the school year is an awesome tradition."

Hugs to all of you.

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#5 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 04:17 PM
 
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What were the awards that were given out for?
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#6 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 08:07 PM
 
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Hi Ashley07,

First, I just want to say that I am so sorry you and your husband had to sit there and watch your child be left out like that... that makes me very mad! Small children shouldn't be set up like that! I get the awards ceremony is to recognize students for their achievements, but what about the accomplishments of the students who there aren't awards for? ESPECIALLY when there are just a hand full left out? Why make it an affair for all students and parents then if its so exclusive? Anyways..I'm rambling because I'm imagining how she felt. Please tell your daughter that just because there was no official award for her does not mean she has not accomplished anything. This is why I love the other posters advice about sending her an award in the mail. She will love that! I also wanted to tell you that you are an awesome parent for picking up on this and calling the school on it... This does not make you an annoying parent, but an involved one. If you are not satisfied with the principals response to your complaint, by all means, pursue the issue further. Go over their head, as the other poster suggested. Continue to encourage your daughter and build up her confidence. You described a beautiful child and you know what, she is so special that they weren't creative enough to come up w/ an award for her. Their problem...not hers.
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#7 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 10:34 PM
 
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My jaw is scraping the floor. The onlykid in class not to get an award, in front of everyone. That does not merely feel like having her accomplishments overlooked, that must feel like punishment by public shaming. Absolutely talk to the school psychologist, request a formal meeting with the teacher and principal, and if no one reacts to your concerns, yes it's time to change school. Try to not have her go back at all, period. I think the one thing you can do to make your daughter understand that this is all about the school and no t about her would be that.
What an utter disgrace of a ceremony.

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#8 of 15 Old 06-07-2014, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Miranda, Thank you! That is a wonderful idea!! I think something like that will be more important to her than a generic paper from the school anyway.

Mylie, There were awards given out for receiving all A''s on a report card, an award for earning A's and B's on their report card (both well deserved awards in my opinion). There were awards for the best students in art, music, PE, a citizenship award which was given to about 30 kids, attendance awards and I know there had to be a few others but by the time the ceremony was over I was pretty upset and didn't really take note of what they were. Nothing stands out as an award my daughter should have gotten but didn't. She is a shy, quiet girl and is an average student so (as her teacher said) she didn't really fit any of the categories. I definitely find fault with the teacher knowing one child will be left out and refusing to take steps to correct that problem. The teacher knew ahead of time who would be getting awards.This was another huge blow to my daughter because she idolizes her teacher.

Twinning002, Thank you for your advice and reassurance! Had to laugh when I read this part, " she is so special that they weren't creative enough to come up w/ an award for her. "...that is exactly what one of our friends already told her!

Tigerle, I agree, it was public shaming for my daughter to sit there in front of everyone and be made feel so terrible. She even insisted that her dad take a half day off work (which is pretty hard for him to do) so he could be there to see her. We were both upset to see her so humiliated. I hadn't thought to call a formal meeting...excellent idea! I'd really like to hear what this principal has to say in front of one of her superiors. I hope I can get them to agree to meet with me.
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#9 of 15 Old 06-07-2014, 08:30 AM
 
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When you have your meeting, may sure to keep on the topic of the handful of excluded children... not just your child and how she was hurt. It's easy for administrations to ignore a frustrated parent unhappy for their own kid. It's harder to dismiss a parent who is coming from a broader... this hurts ALL children position. Go over what you say as to not sound overly emotional. Professional manner keeps you on an even playing field.

I detest the "everyone gets an award" trend but for only one in a class or a handful in an entire school to be excluded is pretty awful. I'm sorry that happened to your daughter.
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#10 of 15 Old 06-08-2014, 04:20 PM
 
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I detest the "everyone gets an award" trend but for only one in a class or a handful in an entire school to be excluded is pretty awful. I'm sorry that happened to your daughter.
I, too, detest, the "everyone gets an award" trend. This, however, was almost exactly that, but left out just a very small minority of children. It's sort of how I feel about birthday parties - once you've invited more than half the class, you need to just invite the whole class. Same with awards. Once you've award more than 50% of the kids, the "average" is skewed, so just give everyone as award.
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#11 of 15 Old 06-09-2014, 08:27 AM
 
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Terrible! I totally feel for you. I agree with everyone else, too, on the "everyone gets an award" thing but why not "everyone gets recognized for their strengths?" I agree with the PP that at some point you have a tipping point from recognizing a few to slighting a few. OP, your school passed that point and should address that problem.

Kids leaving a ceremony getting condolences from their peers and in tears is not acceptable.

If I got the response you did from your principal, I'd be going to the board.

Sorry, mama!!

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#12 of 15 Old 06-10-2014, 11:37 AM
 
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Is the school usually thoughtless or is this a one-time thing as far as you are aware?

If it is a one time thing, I would write the board or the principal's supervisor, and I would cc. the principal and teacher. I would be sure to ask for a response. You could, if you feel so inclined volunteer to help the teacher create awards for all kids next year so 1 or 2 do not end up excluded. People who volunteer their time towards solutions are often better received.

At a minimum, I would call the teacher or email next years teacher a few weeks before end of school cermeonies and ask if she is getting an award. Explain the issue with this year, stress that you are keen not to have it repeat (it really would be upsetting to be one of the few kids not getting an award 2 years in a row) and if she is not getting an award, I would seriously consider skipping the day.

If the school is regularly careless with childrens feelings, I might bail on the school. Grade one is fairly early in her school career - it might not be too hard to switch at this age.

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#13 of 15 Old 06-12-2014, 03:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all again for the wonderful advice. I am going to the board. My goal now is to have a sit down with the principal, teacher, school psychologist and hopefully a school board member so that I can get an explanation from this principal and teacher. I am also hoping that the school counselor will be able to explain to these people why what they did is hurtful to the kids. As far as I am concerned, awards should be special...not handed out to 99% of each class. Swede, I agree with you completely!

Kathymuggle, thank you for the volunteering idea, I had not thought of that. This is not the first thoughtless thing this particular school has done...it's pretty terrible all around. I really do wish I could home school to avoid having to send my kids there at all but I don't think I can right now. I just need a few more hours in my day, lol.
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#14 of 15 Old 06-25-2014, 03:00 PM
 
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I'm so sorry this happened to your daughter. I would be furious.

You mentioned there were a handful of other kids in other classes that also were left out - is there any way you remember who they were, perhaps you could contact a few other parents to stand with you on this? That way you wouldn't seem to be the only one who has a problem with this policy. If that isn't a possibility, I might even see if some other parents whose kids DID get an award might be willing to back you up by writing a letter in favor of changing the policy, or even coming to a meeting about it. I cannot imagine that any parent who witnessed this would think it's ok - next year it could be their kid left out and in tears. The unfortunate truth is that school boards pay attention to numbers - one parent complaining is easy to ignore, a group of parents gets more attention.

One more quick thing - I don't think there's any real benefit in going to the school psychologist or school counselor - they might be privately on your side but they have no authority over the principal, and might or might not back you up at a meeting. Just go straight to the top (school board). I say this as a former school counselor, so I don't mean to downplay what they do, I just know that this sort of situation - fighting a principal's policy - isn't something they can really help you with.

I just realized this thread is a week or so old - sorry to respond late, you may already have this handled, I'll post anyway just in case it helps. Good luck!
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#15 of 15 Old 07-21-2014, 07:35 PM
 
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Un. Believable! I feel your outrage, OP.

At DD's school, there's an awards ceremony at the end of each trimester. I didn't even know about the ceremony until DD got an award. The school sent a letter inviting all parents and award recipients to attend a quick ceremony an hour before school started. There were only five award categories per class, (I think for music, academics, sports, etc), and I really appreciate how they balanced honoring children's accomplishments with the discretion to avoid hurting others. Oh, and DD's teacher did her own in-class ceremony with an award for every student--the funniest, the fastest runner, the greatest math whiz, etc. I'm just throwing this out there in case your school board needs ideas. Otherwise, the school absolutely needs to recognize every student!

Moominmamma's idea for an award is brilliant.
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