What documentation should you keep?
Any communications in writing between you and the school staff are priority. This includes; progress reports, notes home, documentation of behaviors, and even emails or letters from school staff to parents. A good idea is to prepare a document just for your use to take notes during a conference. It can document which issues you wanted to discuss and which ones you actually got to discuss and the outcomes. It's always advisable to err on the side of caution. When in doubt, keep it.
And when it is a war?
This is where all that routine documentation works to your advantage. Occasionally, parents and schools clash, and sometimes it can become a war of wills. Personalities get involved. Don't let that happen, if you can avoid it.
This is business! First rule of advocating for your child; it's strictly business. You have a professional position at the table as the primary expert, and you have a right to be there. If someone at that table patronizes or treats you rudely, that isn't professional. Likewise, you have to act professional as well.
Advocates make sure procedure is understood and followed. They are in that room for one person; the child. We aren't there to call names or be called names. We aren't there to stick it to the other guy. If you sense this in your motives, pull back and get an advocate. If you suspect someone else feels this way toward your family, do the same thing if you can. Some easy rules to follow when it hits the fan this way:
- Keep phone calls to a minimum
- Ask to record conferences and meetings
- Conduct most discussion via email
- Organize all communications for later use as evidence