Friday, March 15, 2013

Through a VP's eyes

Mr.H's statement:

"At approximately 10:30 am on March 1, 2013, Mr.S (IA assigned to BMC) came into my office and reported a concern. He stated that Mrs. Quigley (parent of Emerson Quigley) was sitting down in the hallway outside of the BMC classroom with her ear up next to the door. He also stated that Mrs. Quigley had asked him multiple questions about Mr. Salas’s role on the campus and about Emerson’s behaviors. Mr. S stated that he answered the questions about his role on the campus and informed Mrs. Quigley that the answers to her other questions could be best answered by Ms. G (BMC Teacher) or the campus administration.

After speaking to Mr. S I went upstairs to speak with Mrs. Quigley’s and answer her questions. As I came around the corner in the hallway I saw Mrs. Quigley crouched by the door to the BMC room with her ear pressed against the door. I witnessed a few students, who were coming in and out of neighboring classrooms, looking in her direction with expressions of concern. When she saw me she stood up and we greeted each other. I asked how her day was going and she responded that it was going well. I invited Mrs. Quigley to feel free to enter the BMC classroom and stated that she was more than welcome to observe Emerson as long as it does not intervene or disrupt the instructional environment. She stated that she was fine with staying in the hallway and listening in through the door. Mrs. Quigley stated that she wanted to see how Emerson interacted without her present.

Mrs. Quigley and I conversed in the hallway calmly and civilly for several minutes. Throughout our conversion Mrs. Quigley went to the BMC classroom door multiple times and pressed her ear against it to listen in. On one occasion she was standing in front of the door with her ear pressed against it as Mr. S approached escorting a student with special needs towards the BMC entrance. The student acknowledged my presence saying “there’s Mr. H.” He then slowed his pace and anxiously said, “Uhh! Who is she?” pointing at Mrs. Quigley as she stood at the door. Mr. S calmed the student by saying “she’s ok and we are going inside.” Mr. S and this student were in the BMC classroom for a short period of time before leaving.

During our conversation Mrs. Quigley expressed concern that she was dissatisfied with the communication log the school had been using to document Emerson’s behaviors. She also expressed concern that Emerson may be getting hungry in the later hours of the morning due to an IEP schedule that had been implemented after his annual ARD that was held on January 24, 2013. I validated her concerns and suggested that she review Emerson’s current IEP and BIP before next Friday (March 8, 2013) and annotate her concerns so that she can address them during the ARD. Mrs. Quigley commented that she thought my suggestion was a great idea.
At about this time Emerson became upset in the classroom. Mrs. Quigley became emotional and with tears in her eyes she rushed toward the BMC classroom door. She paused momentarily and I said, “Mrs. Quigley I know that this has to be difficult for you but...” Mrs. Quigley interrupted
and said “No!” and opened the BMC classroom door and rushed towards Emerson and Ms. G (BMC Teacher). She sat in a chair with him in her arms and asked him several questions. Ms. G stepped back and said, “I am uncomfortable with this.” I told Ms. G “it’s ok, I am here.” Mrs. Quigley asked Emerson if he was hungry or if he was tired and Emerson said “No” to both of these questions. Mrs. Quigley asked Emerson if he was thirsty and he said “yes.” Ms. G went to the classroom sink and got Emerson a cup of water. After several minutes, and a few more upset statements from Emerson refusing to do his work on the computer, he calmed down and began working on the computer with Ms. Guller.

At this point I calmly asked Mrs. Quigley if I could speak with her in the hallway. She said “sure” in a calm voice and walked out of the room with me. When we got into the hallway I said, “I know that this must be very difficult for you and I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be in your shoes, but it is really important that when you come to observe Emerson that you do interfere with-” as Mrs. Quigley interrupted me.

At this point Mrs. Quigley raised her voice and became very emotional. During this time multiple students passed near us coming in and out of neighboring classrooms and up and down the stairs. Mrs. Quigley continued to talk at me with a loud and angry tone in her voice making statements indicating that she would continue to interfere with instruction when her son is upset. I told her that it would be best for us to continue our conversation in my office as she was now disrupting the instruction of multiple neighboring classrooms. She stated that she would not leave her son. I suggested that Emerson could come down to the office with us if she would like, but the conversation could not continue in the hallway as it was disrupting the educational environment for many students. I asked her “please” multiple times and reiterated that she could bring Emerson with her if she was uncomfortable leaving him.

Mrs. Quigley began asking questions that challenged my authority including “What are you going to do? Call the cops? And have me arrested!” I told her that was the last thing that I wanted to do but that I could let her continue to disrupt the instructional environment of the school. She continued to challenge me in a loud voice and made threats to withdrawal Emerson from the school. I informed her that was her right if so chose, but that I did not think that it would be in Emerson’s best interest. I also informed her that I would have to call the police if she refused to leave the hallway. She made statements that she wanted me to call the police and further refused to leave the hallway. I radioed the office to request that NISD Police report to the campus. For the next several minutes Mrs. Quigley continued to ask me questions in an elevated and angry voice in the hallway outside of the BMC classroom. Each time I reminded her that she was continuing to disrupt the educational environment of the school.

At approximately 10:50 Emerson and a staff member left the BMC classroom to go to the cafeteria. At this point Mrs. Quigley walked with me down the stairs towards the office but continued to speak at me in an elevated and angry voice while in the presence of several classesof students who were walking in the hallway. I reminded her several times that she was continuing to disrupt the educational environment of the school.

When we got to the office I again listened to Mrs. Quigley’s concerns about Emerson’s behavior communication log and his new IEP schedule. She also expressed concerns that teachers on the campus had not been communicating with her adequately. I expressed that her concerns were valid and that they should be addressed during conferences with the parties involved or in next week’s ARD. Mrs. Quigley also stated that she was upset that was no longer receiving replies to text messages she had been sending to Emerson’s teachers. I informed her that the campus administration had recently discouraged staff members from communicating with parents via text messaging as it is not as comprehensive as communication via face-to-face conference, phone, or email.

At this point a NISDPD Officer stepped into the office. I briefed him on the events leading up to his arrival. Another NISDPD Officer entered the office a short time later. The first officer spoke to her calmly stating that while on the campus she was required to comply with the directives of the campus administration. Mrs. Quigley challenged the authority of the NISDPD and asked why the Sheriff’s Department had not been called instead. The officer answered that if the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office had been called they would have told the office staff to call NISDPD. I told Mrs. Quigley the officers in the room were certified peace officers and that the NISDPD does have jurisdiction over this campus. I asked that she leave the campus and not return today. I told her that I would seek guidance from the NISD Central Office regarding the events that had transpired. The officer informed her that the administration could decide to issue her a CTW for her refusal to leave the hallway when directed by an administrator.

During this time Mrs. Quigley made statements using an elevated and angry voice that she wanted the officers (calling them “fine gentleman”) to be called every time she comes on campus. She also asked them if they had autistic children. The officers remained calm and expressed concern for her situation throughout the conversation. The first officer stated several more times that while on the campus she had to comply with the directives of the administration.
Mrs. Quigley stated that she wanted to wait to leave the campus until her son finished his lunch in the cafeteria. I told her that this would not be a problem and asked that she wait in the school office waiting area so that I could contact Central Office and update them on the situation. She expressed discontent with this request but walked out of the office without further discussion other than shouting “I’m arrested!” in the office hallway.

Mrs. S arrived on campus and we (Mrs. Quigley, Mrs. S, Mr. H, and the two officers) went into the conference room. During this time Mrs. Quigley spoke to Mrs. S in an elevated and angry tone. At some point Mrs. Quigley indicated that she was ready to take Emerson home with her and the office staff was contacted to have him brought to the office for checkout. Emerson entered the conference room a short time later. Mrs. Quigley asked me to comment as to whether this was the most enraged I had seen her [Mrs. Quigley] all morning. Mrs. Quigley wanted me to validate that Mrs. S had made her reach her highest point of anger and frustration since the beginning of this incident. I commented that she was very emotional and that I did not feel that continuing the conversation anymore would be beneficial to anyone. Mr. Quigley (father of Emerson Quigley) had entered the conference room by this time. He was asked to please have a seat. Mr. Quigley was then directed to have a seat by one of the officers after refusing to sit at the officer’s first request. Emerson had entered the room by this time and I did not feel that it was in his best interest for the conversation to continue.

Mrs. Quigley continued to shout at Mrs. S asking, “Why are we still here? You [Mrs. S] are telling me everything he [referring to Mr. H] just said!” I stood up and said “Mrs. Quigley, please” and motioned towards Emerson to express my concern for Emerson’s wellbeing. Mrs. Quigley said, “I know! It’s for Emerson! [in a sarcastic voice].”
Mrs. Quigley and Mr. Quigley left the campus at this point and began taking pictures in front of the school building. I left the campus a short time later to attend an afternoon staff development. I was notified later when I returned to campus at approximately 4:00 pm that teachers on the second floor had called the office to express concerns about a parent (now believed to be Mrs. Quigley) walking through the hallways looking into multiple classrooms."

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