Kitty was sent home on Tuesday because the school had implemented a new rating scale (Kitty needs to verbally state how anxious she’s feeling on a scale of 1 to 10)… and when asked, she started feeling very anxious (doesn’t make sense to me either). She didn’t know why she felt that way, but at 1:30pm she called me from the classroom of her school case manager and told me she was feeling very anxious and wanted to go home.
I talked to the behavior program staff she was with, and he felt he could talk her into going back to class. At 2:30pm I got another call, this time from the nurse’s office. Kitty was feeling even more anxious and wanted to go home. The nurse felt it would be a good idea for her to go home. Kitty was quiet on the way home, and went straight outside to walk/stalk the backyard talking to herself for hours (she does this almost every day for 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how upset she feels).
I found out that in first period, they played the movie, 7 Pounds. (A Will Smith movie in which he feels guilty about causing the deaths of his fiancee and a family of 6, because he was texting while driving. SPOILER: He decides to give everything he owns, including his own organs to people he deems worthy - he tests them himself (sometimes in cruel ways) to determine if they're "worthy." It ends with him committing suicide so the last of his organs can be given to his chosen "worthy" recipients).
I had issues watching this movie. I wouldn't want my neurotypical teens watching it. I can't imagine showing it in school, even if it does send the message don't text and drive!
Kitty was very shaken by it as it felt a little too close to home, and triggered quite a bit of trauma for her. She managed to make it through the next period and lunch, but requested the behavior program staff during math class. They spoke to her for awhile, but she called me from the nurse’s office soon after this.
When I asked her if she felt like hurting herself she said, “Sort of.” So I took her to the MHMR Crisis for an assessment (to document this absence for school since we are being super careful to avoid potential truancy issues and don't want them to change their mind and say I was overreacting). On the way there, she was very tense and spoke about a newly developed fear of being seriously injured in a car accident.
She started pouring out her trauma history to the crisis staff person she’d practically just met. He seemed a little overwhelmed. After we left, Kitty went home to stalk the backyard, and recover.
What is the school thinking? I get that they want to use "socially relevant issues for teens," but come on! She's literally right out of the hospital for suicidal ideation. All the teachers had just gotten a note asking them to censor assignments. They don't make her write Tweety's Eulogy, but this is ok?! There's only 13 kids in this class. It's not like they didn't know.
We had so many issues over the years with triggering, inappropriate school assignments: