Testimony of Mary Klein, who has worked with students with behavior goals for 25 years.
My name is Mary Klein. I have taught special education working with students with behavior goals for 25 years. I have taught the IEP course at Central College for 10 years. I’m here today with my husband of 27 years. I have been encouraged to speak by my colleagues and the Professional Educators of Iowa organization to share reasons why we should support the bill SSB 3080.
My 5th graders are writing poems during this Valentine’s month of February. I too wrote a poem and would like to read it tonight.
This is a letter to end the blame and shame
I want to keep on going
Yet a new career is calling my name.
School was where I’m supposed to educate
But now why does it seem like
It’s a place to tolerate
Being spit, hit, punched and kicked at
And you know even worse
The students aren’t the only ones who need to see the nurse.
Doctors, and medicine, and disorders diagnosed
It’s written in his IEP,
“Student can’t, not student won’t”
Performance or a skills deficit
Will we ever know
It looks manipulating, but I can’t say so.
I read, I research, I attend trainings
A bachelors, a masters, and continuing degrees
Meet them where they are, always stay informed
I love the ones with adverse childhood trauma healing from their scars
Then why do I end up several days
Crying in my car?
Free and Appropriate Public Education should be for all
But when student assaults and commits a crime
The police should be called.
“My child didn’t do that”
Is what admin frequently hears
The security camera catches it all
So there is nothing left to fear.
We plan for restorative justice
No need to run and hide
Suspend, expel, just trust us
Ignore the inner critic inside.
Since when did it become ok
To allow one student
to command the school day?
Special needs are loved by me
Goals are to set
to be met
Make the connection
Forgive and start again
Sabotaged and fractured
Praying for strength from Him.
Locks, lights, out of sight
We practice lockdown drills
But when a young student threatens, uses violence
It seems to not matter how it makes me feel.
Take a break
Work for choice
Disruptions soon begin
Don’t think about a consequence.
To the hall
What I fear
Is the detriment to them all
What will others have to say
When their learning is done for the day?
Will it be minutes or hours
Managing emotions of students and ours
Planned ignoring while the room is trashed
But time outs are bashed
Do it wrong, or do it right
There will be a lawsuit in sight.
Protect the others on my roster
They need taught too
Praise and reward
And love to foster
Am I reaching just a few?
Jump through the hoops
Challenging behavior team
Schedule a meeting at ten.
Working at home until 11 o’clock
My spouse and children are waiting
Teachers have the whole summer off
Might be the reason I’m staying.
Teachers are lucky
Making a difference
It’s time for change
Looking in the rear view mirror
As my colleagues leave the profession
I hope a safer future will appear.
Representatives, administrators, school board, parents
You need to walk in our shoes
Education involves grit and perseverance.
Mr. Rogers always said,
“Look for the helpers.
You can always find people who are helping.”
I’m raising my hand for teachers,
But who is really noticing?
Note to self
I have to end the silence
No more classroom violence
Safety in schools is not negotiated.
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