12.02.2008

Preschool continued

You may remember a while back I wrote a post on the problems I was having at Brandons preschool. I promised you an update and here it is. This will probably be long winded, so you have been warned.

After reading your comments, which all leaned toward talking to the director, I thought I would give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and wait it out. Only problem is, I just kept right on waiting. The teacher seemed to get moodier, and ignore me even more. The last straw was when I checked Brandons folder one day to find a bunch of papers stapled together. They were things with the letter "C". I had no idea what they were. Where they homework? Was it work Brandon missed when I took him home early one day? Where they even learning the letter "C"? WTF was going on? I realized two things, 1: A good daycare teacher would have told me what they were studying & 2: A good day care teacher would have explained what was in my kids folder rather then leaving me guessing. The problem came when I realized this ladies attitude was so poor I would have rather not known then actually have had to talk to her. The next morning I was going to fix this.

I asked the lady at the front desk to have the director call me. I received no call. I reminded her the next day, and two more days after. I GOT NOTHING. Finally I had just plain had it. I sat in the waiting room and said I wasn't leaving until someone talked to me. The director was in the baby room chatting with a teacher. The girl at the front desk got up and told her I was there. The director continued chatting and left me out there for almost ten minutes before the front desk lady went back in to remind her. Finally the director walked out and said I could come in. She sat down at her desk, not looking at me and kind of ignored me. So I opened, "Ummm I feel like there is a problem with my sons teacher and I, and I would really like to resolve it." The director mostly ignored me and didn't offer much help and pretended not to know there was a problem. Finally I said, "you know, I was really bothered that he was put in time out for going potty, and I feel like she was upset that I talked to her about it." Her response was, "yeah I heard about that." WHAT?!?!?! You heard about that? I was mad, obviously the director knew there was a problem, a big enough one for the teacher to go to her, why wasn't I told? After much talking in circles it was suggested we have a parent teacher conference. The director told me, "maybe you should cry during it because the teacher has a hard shell and she isn't going to be nice to you most likely, but maybe if you cry, she has a really hard shell but I've seen her soft side, so I know there is one." At that moment I kind of realized the director and teacher were friends.

I asked why no one in the class ever communicated with me. She said they had a curriculum board out side the class. I said, yes but it doesn't tell me what they are doing this week besides that they are learning to receive a gift. No where on the board does it say letters, numbers, that they are doing the days of the week, none of it. I asked about the homework and she said well you should have figured it out if the teacher didn't tell you????

I talked to the director about how much I loved Brandons old class, how wonderful the teachers were how much I missed that. She proceeded to bash the other teachers for not being structured enough. Making it seem like the teachers I liked were actually not the favored teachers and that they had a lot of improvements to make. My mind was reeling.

The last thing I said was, "I've been so upset about this, I even blogged about it looking for answers on how I should handle this."

Her response,

"Yes I heard about the blog."

My jaw dropped. I was so angry. I had just spent this much time in here and she just now tells me this. She told me, that "someone" at the school had told the teacher about it, so the teacher went up to the break room on school hours and searched the Internet until she found my blog. She then printed it and was quote, "very upset looking." Explain to me WHY NO ONE THOUGHT I SHOULD KNOW THIS? I now could not believe that the director would know the teacher was this upset with me and still choose not to tell me, and still choose to leave my child in a class with this woman.

Before I left I looked at her and said, "I just don't see how someone here would have found my blog." The directors reply,

"Well, do you have Myspace?"

I lost it at this point. I was appalled, was this lady really telling me teachers at this school look up parents on Myspace? Wow! I left with an appointment to meet with the teacher the next day.

I went back to work, talked about it with my mom and husband and over the next two hours I just grew angry. I could not believe my son was at a school with teachers who acted like little middle school girls Myspacing each other. I can't believe the director knew this and didn't see a problem with it.

I called a daycare I loved before that had no openings and was informed they had one opening. I drove to Brandons school and told the lady at the front desk I wanted to withdraw my son. She said there is two weeks notice that you need to give, and I said, NO I'm removing him now, we can deal with the two week money thing later. She went and got the owner who invited me in. I was now in the office with the owner and the director. I told the owner my problems and was shocked when I realized she knew nothing about the complaints the teacher had made. She knew nothing about the teachers problems with me, and knew nothing about my problems with her. I expressed the same concerns, never being told Brandon was put in time out, to which she looked at the director and asked why I didn't receive an incident report. The director said they don't do those. I could tell the owner thought that was wrong, because it is WRONG. The director tried to stutter out some bullshit excuse about how they didn't tell me about Brandons previous time outs because, "we don't really like to hit parents with the negative about their kids right when they walk in." I asked her well, if you weren't going to tell me then when were you? They had no answer.

The absolute final straw is when I said, "you know ____ (owner) I don't feel like Brandon's teacher wants to be teaching, I don't feel like she is happy here."

The exact response of the owner was, "I can not completely disagree with you on that."

I just looked at her and asked her, why she would have teachers here who didn't want to be here. She said it was too hard to find replacements. I asked her then why on earth would they ask me to keep my son in a class with someone who didn't even want to be there? The owner replied, "I completely understand that."

I asked her why people there were Myspaceing and researching parents. She looked clueless. The director tried to stumble over her words and say, "well I don't know if that's what happened, it was just a suggestion." I am smart enough to know you only make a suggestion like that when that is what is actually happening.

I let her know I was taking Brandon home. The owner asked me please not to make any decisions until that night, she would call back. I was too mad and I went right over and enrolled Brandon in the new school. She called that night and spoke to my mom and said, "I really don't want her to pull him out, there is something big that is about to happen with that teacher, I can't tell you what, but she should stay." I wanted no part of whatever Big thing was coming.

I went in the next day to return my key fob for the door and to find out about Brandons pictures. I asked the front desk lady to stop my automatic payment deduction. She said, "no problem once I click this little button right here NO MONEY CAN EVER BE TAKEN FROM YOUR ACCOUNT AGAIN." She said she didn't know about pictures or the fundraiser items either. I finally asked her about the money. The day before I had told the director I didn't think I should be totally responsible for the full amount of the two week notice payment, because it was her teachers fault I was leaving. She said she would discuss it with the director and let me know. The lady at the front desk went and asked the director who played stupid and acted like she knew nothing. The owner was conveniently on vacation for the rest of the week. I left my number and asked for a call back. I got nothing. I went back in a few times to inquire about photos and money.

Two weeks had passed and no calls back. I was in there often enough asking about pictures I kind of thought they would have said something to me. Thanksgiving morning I woke up and went to balance my checkbook, when I noticed the school had taken $150.00 from my account. I was pissed, but most pissed because I knew that due to the holiday I couldn't do anything until Monday.

I went in Monday and asked the lady at the front desk if money could be taken. She again assured me, in front of another employee that no funds could be moved because she had deactivated my account. I asked her to put it in writing, which she did. Then I asked why $150.00 was taken from my account. Her and the other employee were both stunned. They both looked shocked, and the other employee totally agreed that was unacceptable. I asked to have the teacher call me back. I needed her to call me before 3pm because if it went any later my checking account would be effected. I told them after I contacted my bank, the bank agreed it was fraud and that I would have to file a police report.

By noon I had no call back. I called the school. The owner got on the phone and was very rude. Claiming she was not giving me back my money because it was hers. I nicely informed her that legally she should have supplied me with a bill for my final charges, since I obviously had no access to the schools computers anymore to see my balance. She snarled at me that they don't do bills and it was her money. I was starting to lose patience. I informed her a few things, 1. I have done A/R for years I happen to know you can't legally take money from someone with out a court order. 2: She had to provide me with a bill or I wouldn't know what to pay. 3: I would now be filing a police report and that my bank had already opened a fraud report. 4: I was also calling the Better Business Bureau and the daycare corporate. She said she would call her attorney and that they don't do bills there and it was her money.

I called corporate and they were appalled. They couldn't believe the things I told them. They couldn't believe that there was more then 15 kids to a class with two teachers. They were so upset at the excessive use of time outs. Corporate informed me that this school is supposed to be a redirection school, not a time out school and that was a last resort. When I told her that they didn't have time for redirecting every kid, because, "they know what they are supposed to do and not do, and if they don't do it, they go to time out" the girl on the phone opened an immediate report. In fact she was so mad she personally pulled up the number for child services and asked me to call and report this daycare. She let me know that since each daycare was owned by someone, not them they couldn't get involved in billing but THAT IT WAS ILLEGAL what they did. She gave me the phone number for a government agency here and told me to report it immediately.

At this point the owner called me back. I told her what corporate said to which she again snarled, "they don't own me they don't have a say in my billing." I replied, that yes corporate had said, that and had told me who to report her too. I told her that I didn't want any of this. I just wanted my sons pictures, my bill and I wanted to leave. She was rude. I said, fine I have no choice but to finish the reports to the BBB, and to finish the police report. She said again I wasn't owed a bill because I "knew" what I owed. I laughed because they amount they took from me wasn't the normal tuition, it was a random amount. To which she replied, "well you had a credit." WELL HOW THE FUCK WOULD I KNOW THAT IF I DIDN'T GET A BILL???? I asked her that and she yelled "we don't do bills." I was stunned. This lady expected me to just magically know what amount I owed even if I couldn't access the schools computers. Finally I asked her why she took the money from me. That was illegal. She said, no you had automatic funds withdraw. I said, yeah that was cancelled by your staff. That your staff admitted was cancelled in front of other employees. It was obviously cancelled because no money was removed from my account for OVER TWO WEEKS! I said, you just told me I owed this money since the 17th, this was 10 full days later the money would have come out sooner, which means you ILLEGALLY went in and used my card. She got all flabbergasted and yelled that she would only give back my money if I signed something saying I would pay her. I said NO I WANT A BILL. I was like look it's no problem, my bank is already processing the fraud case. She said in the end that she will bill me and if I don't pay she will take me to court, and then slammed the phone down on me.

Here are my issues.

1. If you made an appointment with a doctor and missed it, they have no right to go in your file, pull up your credit card that you used once and charge you for the failure to show fee THEY HAVE TO BILL YOU.

2. I work in an office, I deal with credit cards every day and I know legally credit card numbers HAVE TO BE DESTROYED. The fact that they kept it, reactivated it and used it is a huge legal issue.

3. I balance my checkbook to the cent, to remove money from someone like me can cause huge problems.

4. I never received a phone call. The owner claimed to call me. I have an IPhone. All of my voice mails are logged by number visibly, there was none from her. All of my missed calls are still there, there are none from her. The last call from that school I answered and it was the front desk lady telling me when pictures would be in.

That school is fucking bonkers. I have gone ahead with the BBB report. I hope corporate follows through. I think I might still call child services and let them know some of the other stuff I know.

I have since moved Brandon. He is at an amazing school. They don't believe in time out, they do redirection. The teachers are wonderful and amazing. They have a weekly curriculum that is printed for me. The school does a weekly letter and number. They do a daily sign, and a daily Spanish word. They do songs, and interesting fun activities. Each week has a theme. One week was dragons, queens and kings. I was then invited to participate in a show and tell to which we packed dragons and other themed objects. They list the songs they learn so at night when Brandon asks to sing the car song I can look it up and sing along. They teach me the signs and words. I love it. The kids eat in the class so they are not herded in and out of a lunch room in under 20 minutes with out being given ample time to eat. Brandon doesn't come home starving every day like he used to. Last week there was a Thanksgiving party where I was invited to bring a dish and then even join the party. I met other moms and had a wonderful time with his teacher. I love his school. I'm appalled that there are other schools like his old one out there. I'm sad for every little kid who has to attend a school where 5 time outs is normal.

Redirection has worked amazingly. Every day the teacher tells me how wonderful he is doing. The two times in three weeks he did get into a fight with a little boy I was given an incident report. When he got a booboo I was given and accident report. When the teacher noticed a conflict with him and another child she told me how to deal with it, what to say and what angle to take. It has worked amazing and the conflict is mostly gone. I am thankful I moved but I still feel sad for all the other kids.

I will not mention the name of the school here, but if you are in Reno, and you are local you can contact me. I have already let all of my friends here know, and have already encouraged them to get on other lists. I hadn't written about this yet because I now obviously know they read me at the old school. I wanted to let it all drop but I just couldn't after having them illegally remove money from my account. There is obviously a lot I'm leaving out or missing, because I'm running out of time. I wanted to make sure I at least provided you with a day care follow up though, so there it is.

17 comments:

Steph said...

I.am.floored!

Absolutely I would file a report with CPS! Best case scenario, they investigate and don't find anything and the school shapes up a little out of embarrassment.


At least it might end up on file and parents who research schools would have a clue what they were getting into! Also, there are so many of those online directories where you fill out reports of your experiences with different businesses, I would write up a condensed version and post it on as many as you can.

Its not just about getting back at the [horrible] school. Its about letting the parents know all of the facts so that they can make an informed decision prior to considering that school as an option.

Putting a child on time out for going to the bathroom? Fucked up. That many time outs? Fucked up.

Before you do call CPS I would make a list of bullet points of all the problems that you witnessed or heard about between the teacher(s) and kids so that you don't miss anything, and don't end up going off topic and talking about things that aren't of concern to CPS.

Man, at least he is in a good place now!

Lainey-Paney said...

Oh.my.gosh.

Well, I can't believe that an owner would be so clueless about what is going on in their facility. They are ultimately responsible, so "I just didn't know" doesn't fly with me. I'm just sayin'.

Lainey-Paney said...

I don't know that any of the billing stuff is reportable to any child care licensing agency...but I could be wrong. The excessive # of students per teacher is certainly reportable.

Bug-N-Bee said...

Wowsa. Quite honestly, had to step away before I commented.

Definitely report to whomever you can. What they are doing is not appropriate on so many levels.

Daycares are a mixed bag. I worked at one for a very brief time in 2005 and they did so many things just wrong. We kept kids who were sick and didn't call parents "because we don't want to annoy them at work", we were told to sell the daycare (which was a non-profit) "because we need as much money as possible", and they actually fired me for keeping my own sick child home. When your 2.5 half year old is begging to go to the doctor, you probably keep them home.

Good luck Shannon!

Multi-tasking Mama said...

I dealt with shitty daycare for a while too, it sucks. Especially since you don't realize how crappy it was until you are out of it. I felt like the worst mother in the universe for keeping my child there as long as I did.

I would report them to CPS, if nothing else it will ruffle their feathers.

Googie Baba said...

Ok. That was a complete nightmare of a story. I can't believe how well you handled it. I always get so flabbergasted in these situations and you remained calm. I hope it works out with the money. I'm glad you son is in a new school.

Christy said...

Yikes! I am thinking we will skip the whole pre-school thing, and just stay home.

Misguided Mommy said...

Lainey: No, CPS won't help with billing which is why corporate told me who to call for that. They actually asked me to report to both of them.

Christy: don't skip it, preschool has helped brandon leaps and bounds, just make extra sure you research the school, and meet each teacher, NOT just the teacher your kid will be having at the time

Jayla'sMommy said...

wow... i don't even know what to say...

Mrs. F said...

Holy Shmoly!

I am so glad that you got him out of a situation that you were uncomfortable with.

You are such a good mom.

All those other kids, I wonder if their parents even know what is going on behind closed doors there?

Type (little) a said...

I had to call DYFS (NJ's version of CPS) and corporate on my daughter's first daycare. The first fishy thing was that all three of her teachers quit at the same time. And then, she got hurt at school (huge lump on her head) and no one could tell me what happened, the story kept changing. And no one was apologetic, the owner actually walked in with me, as if to protect the teachers from me. Not once did I raise my voice, or even curse at them.

She's in another branch of the same school, near my office. It's like night and day. I can't imagine the owner or director speaking to me that way.

Jiff said...

Holy shit doesn't even begin to describe my reaction! How incredibly ridiculously absurd! I hope you follow through with the BBB and CPS and whoever the billing people are. AND A LAWYER. That's illegal and she needs her ass kicked for that. Just sayin. And I'm totally with you... makes me sad for those other kiddos.

uumomma said...

Shannon,
I would also contact the NAEYC.
fuck, what a story, as an early childhood educator, i am truly sorry.

kristi said...

DAMN. I would be upset too! Thank goodness you are a parent that asks questions!

My son's first daycare broke his leg. He was 3 months old. They claimed to have cameras but apparently the day of the accident, the camera wasn't turned on. YEAH, RIGHT.

We sued them.

uumomma said...

kristi,
how the hell did they brake a 3 month olds leg?
what about the law suit?

Not So Perfect said...

Ah...!!! What a nightmare. Well I am glad you got him out of there and are following through with CPS. And if the owner knows the teacher doesn't want to be there, why does she continue to allow her to work there. That is just wrong, it sounds like the teacher and the director are a bunch of bullies. If I were you I would tell every parent I could that takes their kid there and even those who don't what goes on there. They need to straighten up there act.

Mandy said...

Good for you, it's awesome that you're sticking to your guns, and awful what they are doing! I bet you know who that anonymous poster on Thanksgiving probably was then!

I'll be honest with you though, BBB isn't all it's cracked up to be and the response you get will probably tick you off more because the single time I tried to file they listened to the business owners B.S., if Nevada has an Attorney Generals Office, DO THAT FOR SURE AS WELL!

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