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Please Pray For Miss B!
Something has happened that is so upsetting, I can hardly write about it without crying.
As a mom with several kids in special ed programs--and with many friends with similar issues, I've seen and heard about a lot of teachers. Some teachers are not so good with autistic kids. Some are alright. Only a few are really good.
Possibly the best teacher I've ever seen is Jennah Billeter, who was Ro's kindergarten and first grade teacher. Miss B showed such love and concern for her students, such care and patience! Nothing phased her. I watched her have her hair pulled over and over again and never lose her cool. Instead, she gently led the child responsible to overcome that behavior. What she got those children to be able to do was downright amazing.
Last spring, Miss B did something that one of her teacher aid's thought was cruel to her students. Instead of confronting her or talking to the school principal, this teacher aid reported Miss B to Child Protection Services. The result was: last week, Miss B was arrested!
Miss B now faces both misdemeanor and felony charges. I cannot imagine what a nightmare this must seem like to her. For any of you who pray, please pray that God will be with her during this trial and will support her, no matter what happens.
That is so sad. We had a similar situation with a teacher in my children's Christian school. The school took in Christian children but it also reached out to children who had been expelled from public school. Our principal felt that those poor rebellious, misguided children needed a second chance in a structured, loving surrounding. Some of those children were very out of control. When a parent saw a teacher pin a student's arm against his desk to immobilize him, get his attention, and force the boy to regather himself and settle down, she took steps to get the teacher fired. My son was in the class and witnessed the event. He said that the other boy wasn't physically harmed--just restrained a moment to keep from getting out of control.
The woman witness, who did not like the teacher, conspired with two other parents. They gave the school board an ultimatum--fire the teacher or they would sue the school. Rather than cause the school harm, the teacher resigned. She had been a teacher there over 25 years and planned on retiring from it. She was married to the principal, and he wouldn't stay with her being pushed out. He resigned, too. In the end, the three women got rid of everyone they felt wasn't up to their standards. They hired a new principal, booted out the students who had been expelled from public school, and went on a campaign to remove any opposition or imperfect students. We pulled our son before Thanksgiving to place him in public school but allowed our daughter finish that year (as she was very compliant and was deemed suitable and acceptable). We didn't have the choice to allow her to stay with her friends the following year, as the school removed so many undesirable elements that there was no one left to pay tuition. The school effectively destroyed itself.
And all because one person misinterpreted one action of a single teacher.
I feel so sorry for your teacher. What a dismal situation for her.
How sad it is when people shoot themselves in the foot, such as in your story!
I hope your children flourished elsewhere.
Thanks for the prayers!
Our son flourished after we removed him from the ever-increasing hostile and legalistic atmosphere. Our daughter never found her place in public middle school and high school after her school closed. She has never handled change well, and it was devastating to her to lose her friends. Some went to other public schools, some went to the Catholic school, and other were home schooled. If I had it to do over again, I'd enroll her in the Catholic school. At the time, we thought she would benefit from being at the same school as her brother. Ah, hindsight.
Please keep us informed on the outcome of Miss B.
And they say men are the violent ones. Give me a man with a rifle any day over a woman with a telephone.
Three gossiping women did untold damage to that school, parents, and children. Lots of tears were shed. I hate to think about those children who had been expelled from public school. They had the opportunity to turn their lives around; instead, they discovered that some "Christians" are harsh and insistent upon their own way--no matter the harm to others.
It was one of those experiences that I would not have believed could happen--nor could I have believed how people could turn against one another.
What a terrible situation. It's such a shame that a good teacher must now suffer the consequences of someone else's complete over-reaction.
The saddest thing is that even if she is completely cleared of the charges, the mere fact that she was charged and tried may well make her suspect in the eyes of potential employers in the future, particularly if there's a lot of ugly publicity. Even though we're supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, a lot of school boards will assume that where there's smoke, there must be fire, and that it's better safe than sorry where children are concerned.
A group of us parents are trying to do what we can to show our support...who knows, maybe it will help.
Can you be a character witness at her trial?
Lord knows it's difficult enough to stick with a special needs classroom (my son's newbie teacher quit after 3 days) but to take solid teachers out of the classroom...
That was one of our ideas. One of the moms in our little group actually worked in her classroom as a volunteer. She's offered to character witness, too.
|Date:||August 9th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)|| |
My daughter is in Miss Billeter's class and I agree 100000%....she is one of the most amazing teachers I have ever encountered and think that this whole thing is ridiculous and a huge misunderstanding. I would LOVE to be involved in anything that you and other parents are doing to show support. If you can get me a way to contact you personally, I will give you all of my contact information as well.
I think that part of the problem is that people who do not understand autism and the ways it manifests itself in our children may not understand what needs to be done to help educate our kids. That's why I think that ANYONE that is in a classroom with children with autism should be WELL EDUCATED on what autism is and how to teach children with autism.
|Date:||August 9th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: I agree!!!
Sure! Write me at: lampwright--- at sign---gmail.com
I was really hoping we could reach one of the mom's from the current class, who could say: "yes! Miss B has not changed!"
Write me and I'll share what little we have with you.
|Date:||August 9th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)|| |
You've got it. I will pray for her.
She'll definitely be in my prayers. I can also sympathize--my husband works at a summer camp most summers, and an autistic boy there really bonded with him and no one else, to the point where my husband basically ended up being appointed the boy's personal handler just because there was too much risk of the boy having giant public freak-outs otherwise if my husband wasn't nearby to calm him down. (I guess my husband looks like his dad or something.) A few junior counselors who didn't like my husband were making noise about it being inappropriate. Nothing came of it, thank God (mostly because the camp director came down upon them with the wrath of Mount Olympus), but it was a scary couple of days. I hope that somebody comes down on Miss B's behalf in the same way.
|Date:||August 10th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)|| |
Prayers of encouragement
I'm aware of instances of what bojojoti speaks, when restraint is necessary. People don't understand things like repetitive head-banging or hyperstimulation.
Fortunately, my development on the Asperger-autism spectrum was not as extreme as many experience, with only mild instances of hand-flapping and withdraw.
It's more than a shame so many are quick to condemn without an attempt at empathy or understanding.
"Mit der Dumheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens." -- Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans
Let's hope justice and reason win out in this...witchhunt.
Thanks. I went to see her today and express our support. What a wonderful person she is.
Of course I will pray for her.
At the risk of looking horrendously unsympathetic, what exactly did Miss Billeter do? According to the news, she's been charged with the felony "cruelty to children" and the misdemeanour "simple assault". That could cover anything and everything from a light slap on the arm or cheek, maybe to break a stimming loop, to an angry full-strength strike.
It should probably be remembered that people who work with children are trained, these days, to consider themselves obliged to report anything they see that might be, or indicate, abuse; they can in fact be held legally responsible for not doing so if it appears that they neglected legitimate warning signs. Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ass-covering.
The Washington Post (voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/fairfax/fairfax-teacher-faces-cruelty.html) states that the teacher's aide did in fact report to Principal Carol Larsen first; it was Larsen who reported to Child Protection Services, who in turn contacted the police in early July, and they report that Miss B turned herself in (this may have been after the initial arrest described above). So it does appear that proper channels of notification were followed, at least; I don't know if Larsen had the option to confront Miss B about it directly, or whether she was obliged to go to CPS herself if she felt the report had merit.
However, I don't take any article from the MSM at face value these days; I've come to believe most reporters are lazy, biased, and more interested in scandal than veracity -- if the police and the school have built a false and retroactive paper trail for themselves, which I also wouldn't put past them, I don't give most reporters the credit for doing the work necessary to reveal it. So if anything they've reported is incorrect, getting that out as soon as possible can only help Miss B's case.
You are right that the aid went to the principal. The early articles I read said that the aid called CPS, but the principal told me that she had reported it as was required by certain kinds of inquiries.
I do not know all the details of what happen. The ones I do know, however, do not seem to me to be worth all this fuss.
The shame is that they run such articles when she is merely accused. If she is found innocent, will they all rush to let people know? I doubt it.
But one thing I can tell you...anyone who says that Miss B was taking advantage of innocents who could not defend themselves is wrong. Miss B is the one who teaches us mom's what our autistic children are like and what they can do. She may or may not have made a mistake of judgment, but there is no question that her motives were good.
Making some of these accusations the press is making against Miss B is like slinging rocks at angels.