(16 year-old Daniel has autism)
Email from me to Daniel’s PE coach this week: “Coach, Dan has told me twice this week that some of the boys in PE (a ‘Fred’?) have been hiding his backpack after class and making him really angry. Once they put it in the recycling bin and the other time they put it way at the top of the bleachers. Can you knock a few heads for me?” Gratifying, immediate response: “I will handle this tomorrow. Thanks for the Heads Up!!”
I knew it would be difficult trying to get a name out of my son, so I tried a new tactic by offering him a name, knowing he would correct me if I was wrong “Was it Mike?” “NO MOM, it was ‘Fred’!” I copied his Case Manager on the exchange as I always do, and she offered up that he had said something to her on Monday about some boys moving his backpack to the opposite side of the gym the previous Friday. OK, this has just escalated from shenanigans to bullying. So I fed this additional info to Coach, and got another reassurance this would be dealt with today.
During one of my Study Halls this morning (I work at Dan’s high school), the Assistant Principal asked me if Dan had said anything about having problems in PE. I said, yes, but how did he know? (My philosophy is to try to solve these problems at the lowest possible level.) He said a student in the PE class reported it to him! A high-functioning special needs girl said 2 boys were teasing Dan (this is a mainstream PE class) and it wasn’t FAIR (her emphasis). Mr. S called in the 2 boys, and although he said he usually doesn’t get angry with students, this time he did, and read them the riot act (where does that phrase come from?). Anyway, they were properly repentant. Since the reaming was prior to their PE class today, I asked him if he wanted me to tell Coach he already addressed the problem, and Mr. S said no, he wanted them to hear it again from someone else. I almost feel sorry for them.