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Self-harming kid with ADHD

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by canbelto, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

    Ok so I just started a new job last week. Basically it's a private tutoring/SAT prep/after school program. The parents are very wealthy.

    Anyway the very first day I noticed a boy (about 8 or 9) who I was told had severe ADHD. Well, the boy was repeatedly throwing himself on the floor. I kept telling him to stop, but management told me to "leave him alone." When his mom arrived I wanted to talk to her about it but was dragged away by the owner, who told me sternly, "teachers are not allowed to talk to parents. These parents are very wealthy. They do not want to know the truth about their kids." Okay, so I kept my mouth shut. The next day the mom called irate that the boy had some chafing on his arm, and the owner wanted to know what happened. I pointed out that I tried to tell the mom that he was throwing himself on the floor, and she prevented me from talking to her. The owner said she'd take care of it.

    Since then I've noticed this boy repeatedly engaging in self-harming behaviors, whether it's throwing himself against a wall, kicking himself, and every adult seems to just not blink an eye. Usually, his mom doesn't pick him up, his driver picks him up. (Yes his family has a driver. And a butler.) Today there were two adults in the room besides me when he took a plastic bag and put it over his head and started tying a knot. I freaked out, screamed for him to stop, and again, the owner of the place took me to task for "freaking out." She said he was "just playing" and he has ADHD and the mom doesn't want to hear about it, so I should just calm down. I pointed out that god forbid something happened to him, we'd be responsible. She shrugged and said "that's why we have you to supervise."

    Anyway there's only three days left of this after school program, but ... what would you guys do in a situation like this? The owner seems to take a very "relaxed" attitude towards what I consider to be very disturbing behaviors. I don't want to get blamed if god forbid something happens. I found out that previous teachers quit. Should I quit?
    algonquin and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Is this a full-time job for you? It doesn't sound like a good fit, based on what you've posted.
  3. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

    Yes full time.
  4. Really

    Really I need a new title

    I think I'd be quitting -- and calling whatever agency licenses this after school 'care' program.
  5. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    I'd be noting everything that has happened in detail, and then doing exactly this.

    I actually think I would also try and speak to the parents.
  6. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

    Teachers are not allowed to get access to contact information for the parents. No phone numbers, nothing. And if we try to speak to them in case they pick the child up (usually it's a driver) we are dragged away.

    Is this kind of behavior "normal" for a kid with ADHD? I'm thinking it's not.
  7. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    There's no such thing as "normal" when it comes to attention disorders, or most special needs, but it isn't common, no. The child needs to be assessed by a professional (psychologist), but in order to have that happen, everyone would need to admit there's something wrong. It doesn't sound like his only issue is ADHD, that's for sure. For all you know, these behaviours could be isolated to the programme/place you work, and that's a huge problem (I doubt this, but it's impossible to know) but either way, if there's nothing you can do, there's nothing you can do. I think your supervisor is WAY out of line, and does need to be reported. It's up the parents to follow through or not follow through based on information given, but you are obliged to give them the information. Self-harming behaviours for children sometimes also need to be reported to other agencies/departments by law as well, so you should check up on that.
  8. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

    Other stuff the child has done:

    1. Told he that he wanted to take out his wiener and "piss in my drink and watch you drink it."
    2. Purposely ran into girls and then squeezed their nipples (again, adults laughed).
    3. When I told him he can't inappropriately touch people he said "I can touch whoever I want at home wherever I want" and then grabbed his crotch.

    Keep in mind he's 7 or 8.

    owner also let it slip that ACS has a "monitor" to "supervise" the "relationship" at home and the mom doesn't want the supervisor to "know" anything.
  9. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Again, there definitely sounds like something other than ADHD at play. I would report the owner, and I wouldn't actually trust anything he says. I would probably report the self-harm to ACS, as well as the inappropriate touching of others (and the inappropriate reaction of adults). The parents of the girls he is running into also should be told. Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. The fact that the person who is working directly with the child (you) is unable to talk directly to the parents is a major issue, as well as the reaction of adults also seeing the behaviours. Shameful, but also encouraging the child. Adults laughing at the behaviour is inexcusable.
  10. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    And I would be doing it tomorrow. You could be held liable if that child harms himself while in your care.
  11. KCC

    KCC Well-Known Member

    Do you have the sense that child services will also bow to the will of the rich parents? I could definitely see that happening, especially if child services is overworked and understaffed. If they "see nothing wrong", will there likely be any consequences for you (in addition to quitting)? Reporting is the right way to go - just want you to be prepared for consequences of reporting, if there are any. Do you know any of the other former teachers who quit recently? Maybe you could compare notes.

    Why do I keep hearing the "affluenza" defense in my mind?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  12. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    I think the consequences of not reporting could be far more severe for all involved, and ethically and probably legally, you should report it, to protect yourself and do the right thing by the children involved.

    I definitely think the behaviour of all adults and the behaviour involving other children needs to be reported in addition to the self-harm and the owner's behaviour.

    Not an easy situation to be in, canbelto :(
  13. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    The behaviors you describe aren't ADHD symptoms. Some of the behaviors sound more like some types of autism than ADHD, but if autism is a factor, it's not the only factor. I also sense ODD and perhaps even RAD--both common reactions to abuse and neglect.

    Document your ass off. See if you can get in contact with the previous teachers. It will bolster your defense in the case of a lawsuit. And I'm pretty sure there will be a lawsuit when he hurts another child.

    In fact, by posting on this website, you are essentially admitting that you have good reason to suspect abuse and dangerous behavior. If you don't report it, that will be used against you in any legal proceeding. If one of the sexually harassed students tells her parents, you will have major legal problems for not reporting it. Failure to report child abuse can lead to jail time in many states.

    And quit. Tomorrow. If shit hits the fan, the owner will try to pin it on you. You will be fired sooner or later anyway, and that is a worse outcome than you quitting. And when the lawyers come knocking, they'll say that you permitted these behaviors, and the fact that they fired you demonstrates that they are responsible owners.

    And that's exactly what they'll tell a jury. In fact, I'm pretty sure she pretended to be ignorant and placed the blame solely on you when the mom called. One of the sexually harassed students may tell her parents, and the parents will come after you. Maybe even social services will come after you.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  14. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    That sounds like an awful situation, canbelto. :(

    I'd quit too. If there was any way you could help, then you could stay and try. But if all the power is taken out of your hands, the only thing you can do is enable. By staying and doing the bidding of your superiors, you'd be enabling this.

    Definitely cover your own butt and report it too. You want to make sure you aren't liable for anything.

    Ugh, it really sounds like some people shouldn't be parents.
  15. backspin

    backspin Active Member

    I'm shocked in that my assumption would be that you, and anyone else working there, are mandatory reporters. That goes for more than just suspected abuse, it goes for this type of thing too. I'd absolutely document everything, call child services, and get the heck out of that job.
  16. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    What a terrible situation, Canbelto! And strange.

    I too think you would have a responsibility to report. But, I would also be scared that child services might not do anything.

    Most of all, get out of there before you end up on some sort of trouble! And by all means do contact the previous teachers.
  17. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    With what you described am not sure why do you define the kid as SELF harming. Sounds like he is harming the other kids much more than himself.
  18. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    I would be (pleasantly) surprised if child services does anything about it. But in this case, because the circumstances are so severe, you have to take the chance that your reporting it will, at the very least, not make things worse for the child. And they will almost certainly make things better for other children.

    Whatever you do, QUIT IMMEDIATELY. There sounds like there is nothing you can do within the school to change the situation. There is no benefit to you or the students if you stay. The only way you can positively change the situation is by going outside the school.

    DOCUMENT YOUR ASS OFF. I don't know what state you're in. You may want to check if the state allows you to secretly record a conversation. The owners will try to place the blame squarely on your shoulders. You need to protect yourself.

    CONTACT AN ATTORNEY to see what you can do to prevent future liability when (not if) there is a lawsuit. As you said, the parents in this school are very wealthy. They will have the best attorneys that money can buy. And like I said earlier, your posting on this internet forum may be used as evidence against you if you don't report it and this child ends up seriously hurting another child. Contact the attorney no later than the end of the week.

    The fact that parents in this school are wealthy could actually be good in terms of social services involvement. After you quit and contact an attorney, perhaps contact some parents of children who are subjected to sexual harassment by the student. There's a decent chance that at least one of the parents will go apeshit on the school and demand action by social services. But you need to be delicate, as parents will have strong emotional reactions to hearing that their children are being victimized, and they may blame the messenger. I highly recommend not telling the parents until after you report to social services so you can say to them that this is going on and you've contacted social services. That way, they'll know to put pressure on social services.

    Like I said earlier, also contact previous teachers.

    One final possibility: Do you have a therapist or counselor? If you report your suspicion of abuse to a therapist or counselor, I believe that in some places, the therapist/counselor is required to pass the information on to social services. They may want you to do it yourself, but try to get them to do it for you or to do it as a joint effort. They may know people in social services and know how to get things accomplished. A clergyman may also be able to help.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  19. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Poor driver. Poor butler.

    If you have other job options, you might want to consider quitting. Then of course do whatever you think would be the in best interest of the kid, the other kids, the kids that will be attending the falicity in the future, and yourself.

    I can't tell you what I'd do in your shoes, because I haven't walked a mile in them.

    I hope the driver and the butler have other job options too.
  20. algonquin

    algonquin Well-Known Member

    I am not sure if this is related to ADHD or extreme negative attention-getting behavior. (Could be the other things that Gazpacho listed.) The fact that adults are laughing at him, makes me believe that it is the latter. So, do not verbally address the behavior. Keep the child safe, but don't say anything about the behavior and do not make eye contact with him during those times. I'd say overboard with positive praise, so that the child will not seek negative attention, but there are only two days of school left. If you stay at this job, demand that the school to bring in a psychologist and a behavioral therapist. (I would not blame you if you quit.)

    A friend of mine recently had a transition to school meeting for her little boy who has CP, profound hearing loss, expressive and receptive language delays. My friend was very anxious about the meeting, but it went very well. At the end of the meeting, the principal reassured her by saying that they don't mind working with special-needs kids. He said that they can bring in resources and supports to meet the child's needs. The principal said that their difficulty is trying to work with behavioral kids whose parents are in denial that anything is wrong. So, you are not alone.
  21. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

    Maybe since I really need the money I'll ask the owner to take me out of the after-school program. She has me doing a million other things anyway including designing an SAT online course that has to be done by ... this Friday (because the programmer for the SAT course is quitting on Friday). I think I will call ACS anonymously and if that gets me fired, so be it.

    I think affluenza is a good term to describe the kids. For instance two of my favorites are two girls who are 7 and 8, respectively. They both have braces, and not all their teeth have grown in. I told them they don't need braces, because their full set of teeth haven't grown in. They said their orthodontist said they need braces 'twice', once before their full set of teeth grow in and once afterwards. I kind of chuckled to myself and thought "wow your orthodontist is really fleecing you."

    The troubled boy was once making a mess and I told him to clean it up. I said I wasn't his mother. He said "my mother doesn't clean up my mess, my butler cleans up my mess." I told him his butler isn't hired to clean up his messes either. He said "Yes he is if he doesn't I tattle and get him fired."
  22. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    ita he sounds like a terror whose pets always end up dead
  23. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    It sounds as though this disturbed child knows exactly what he is doing; even if he doesn't realize the consequences of his behaviour,
    Even if you have yourself "removed" from the situation, you may be liable if you don't report what is happening to the authorities.

    I believe you have already received wise counsel from others, upthread.
  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Speaking as a designer and sometime programmer, as well as someone who works with programmers....that online course is not getting made if the design is finalized the day the programmer is quitting. :shuffle: She should have finished the design more like, last month.

    Point is, it sounds like a hopelessly disorganized mess, and isn't worth staying for.

    Yeah, the danger of parents with far too much money. Although I have friends who came from money and they are nothing like this.

    Well, aside from my college roommate who tried to get her mom to FedEx her Dove body wash from NYC to LA (she was nice, but totally spoiled), and who ate more vitamins than actual food because her nutritionist told her so. :shuffle: But she was literally the only one!
  25. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

    I had that exact same thought as I was reading this:

    What a mouthy little brat. I would've gotten slapped if I spoke that way to an adult when I was his age, or said/done the other things mentioned here. And rightly so. IMO there isn't a thing wrong with him except that he is a master manipulator. Scary to think of what he will be like when he reaches adulthood if this doesn't get seriously nipped in the bud right now. His parents, as well as the person running this program, are not doing him ANY favors by enabling him the way they are.
  26. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    It sounds like there are no consequences for him.
  27. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    You are a mandated reporter and cannot be fired or taken to court for reporting this. You should contact whichever agency in your state handles abuse cases. Document all discussions and telephone conversations with the owner and the state agency. Good luck and keep us posted.
  28. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Really depends on what the treatment plan is. Often treatment before the permanent teeth are in can make the amount of time in braces on permanent teeth much shorter (which is good, since uneven staining on these teeth lasts!) and less painful. It can also help the permanent teeth grow in correctly, minimizing the need for braces again in the future at all. I don't think braces on a kid is any different than retainers or other appliances- it depends what the need is. Almost everyone I know had some sort of orthodontic treatment before they had all their permanent teeth, and then had more once they had those.

    Their orthodontist probably has a better handle on this than a tutor. It doesn't mean he's fleecing them.

    Which is not at all minimizing the fact that these kids in general are spoiled brats.
  29. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Ditto what skittl said. This is more often the approach these days--often times two shorter courses of treatment rather than one long course works better and involves a lot less dramatic treatment than if you wait until all the teeth are grown in. Does not indicate fleecing necessarily.
    (Though I agree this kid is a PILL. I would certainly report the inappropriate touching of other students, absolutely.)
  30. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    My only regret in life is not brushing and flossing better when I had my braces. :( I have such bad teeth now.