You’ve got a pit in your stomach the size of a bowling ball. You’re dreading this meeting because you just know that the school is being a bully.
You’re not asking for the moon – just a little extra help for your child. And even the help you’re asking for isn’t crazy. It’s just more than the school wants to provide.
At every turn, you get pushback from the school powers that be – teachers, admin – the whole group. It’s not just that they’re saying “No” either.
They’re sending a clear message that you’re pushy and demanding, making crazy requests, with eye rolls, smirks, and a condescending tone.
But, it’s a school? They CAN’T be bullying you, right?
Feel Like the School Is Being a Bully? They Might Be!
It’s not just you. And it’s not your specific situation either. Honestly, sometimes, it’s just the school culture or messages that get passed down through leadership.
I promise that you are not crazy. You’re not asking for the moon (unless you are, and then good luck!)
Schools can be awful bullies when it comes to giving supports that are unique or unusual. Sometimes, it might not be totally off the wall generally – just different enough that your school hasn’t ever done it before.
You can stand strong and (gently) push back when the school is being a bully to you.
You have options if the school is being a bully
First, you’re going to need to stand strong and be firm. Get super clear on what you want for your child and why you want it.
Get all your data and documents and proof together. You’re going to want to have backup – and paperwork is your best friend.
Proving that your requests are a) needed and b) not insane because they are c) commonplace and/or best practice is your route to success.
You want to be able to point to specific numbers, graphs, charts, and reports that prove again and again that you are asking for normal, regular supports that other kids get for similar needs.
Next, make this an issue about what your child needs to succeed and not about personalities.
At the end of the day, you logically know that you will not, cannot possibly, get along with everyone that you need to do business with. It’s not possible.
And that’s okay.
You just need to get the school to open the door a crack so you can work out a deal.
So, no matter who said what or rolled their eyes or whatever – let it go. Seriously. Holding grudges, satisfying though it is, gets you nowhere.
Instead, approach the meeting or your next request pleasantly.
“I’d like to share why I think suchandsuch service would benefit my child.”
Then go into the documents and evidence you’ve collected. Prove that your request will help your child. Make it common sense to approve this request, to implement that service, to add that goal or benchmark.
Get ready to answer their questions or field their pushback calmly. Have facts and figures, plus reasons why, ready to go.
Make It About What Your Child Needs
The main thing is to keep the focus on your child and their needs. It’s not about teacher personalities or what happened in the past.
You’re focused on what your child needs going forward, from here on out. That can be hard, especially if your past interactions have been confrontational or full of tension.
But it doesn’t do your child any good to fight or argue over the little things. Keep focused on exactly what your child needs and why they need it.
There will be lots of opportunities to get sidetracked and bogged down in other issues. Stay focused!
Has the school ever bullied you? Share your best tips!
For more help handling meetings with school, contact Meg today!
2 years. Bullied, gaslighted, did not follow my son’s IEP, stonewalled, lied, I could go on. And yet, I had to hire a lawyer, pay professionals to prove I was not wrong, and they get off scott free. 2 diagnoses of Autism plus an OT and Speech eval., a BCBA to observe and write a report. I was told I had the Procedural Safeguards pamplet amd should have known what to ask the school for. They completely dropped the ball, and I now have to find a way and someone to report ot to so this hopefully does not happen to another child and parent.