My Sons Principal

Updated on March 19, 2010
M.R. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
19 answers

~I do not live in Beverly Hills, I'm in Calgary AB Canada- its the only zip code I know~
Mother of 3 boys, my eldest son is 8 1/2. Gr. 3 He has very dry skin and has a bad case of Eczema, especially on his legs. We have seen dermatologists and many doctors. We have used a VERY LARGE variety of creams and ointments. We have finally found a cream that is just absolutely fantastic, I will recommend it to all. Here is where my first problem starts. My son scratches his legs and scratches to the point where they bleed. He only scratches at home at night in bed, I believe he does it then because no one is around to see and if he does it at school a student may see and he is very self conscious. The itching feeling that he has is the scabs forming over the new skin. We have told him that cream will make the itching go away because he hates and fights about putting the cream on, it is applied daily after a lot of arguing. He is bathing and soaking with baby oil (Johnson Johnson) every other night and in between he showers. After the bath or shower we apply the medicated cream and we put on a type of galaxal based cream to seal it in- as per the doctors recommendations. I have tried everything, and I’m NOT about to strap him to his bed at night with oven mitts. I'm at a loss, I can't make him understand the repercussions of what he is doing. The scratching has to stop. Help!
That was my first problem.
The second problem is that today was the second time in 6 months that his principal has called Social Services. I don't believe that she is looking out for my son so much anymore, but more that she has something against me. That may sound nutty but she was my guidance counsellor 20 years ago-(I'm 27) and she didn't like me then either. When she calls me -which is frequent- to talk about my sons skin issues, she talks down to me. She does not address me by my last name like she does with other parents. We are not friends I find it inappropriate and have made mention to her several times. She calls about once a month or so asking me to let the school to apply this cream to my sons legs, which I will NOT allow. He is bothered and uncomfortable with this as it is. EVERYDAY AT HOME is just fine, I don't want him to feel singled out. The first time she called Social Services, they arrive at my door roughly 2 hours after I told her this was none of her business. Now the second time (-today-) is almost 1 year to the date after the first call. The file is held open for 1 year. The "assessor" told me when he came in that if they hadn't received a phone call they would have closed the file next week. She is a school principal, she would know how long these files stay open for. Am I being paranoid? I can't run the risk of this woman making such a fuss that she calls a third time. I am very worried that if a third call is made they will take my son. Please any advice would be great.

~Maybe I'm being a little dramatic by saying they will remove my son but honestly how many time can Social Services be called before they take some sort of action? I don't want to find out.
~I have left messages for the area superintendent to call me, just waiting for the call back
~To address one of the responses: When I said to the principal that "it was none of her business", let me clarify. Here is a breakdown of the conversation we had.
P: can you sign forms to lets us apply cream?
M: No
P: is there something we can do to help your son?
M: No, at this point there is nothing you can do
The following - I'm not kidding this is what she said with the most condescending attitude that would give Hugh Laurie a run for his money-
P: Well...M., what is it that YOU can do to help your son
M: it's none of your business
-this is why I said she talks down to me and is disrespectful, maybe my response to her was “bitchy” but I'm sure someone can understand my frustration
also I am not paranoid about social services, I was referring to the principal and her attitude towards me.

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So What Happened?

Well Social Services was back last Friday to talk to my husband as well, (-because they need to meet with all directly responsible for the child-) at the end of our conversation he told us that he has
NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN. He is recommending to his superiors that AGAIN the file be closed. I find it interesting that “the school” deemed it necessary to contact S.S. again when after the first call a year ago there had been no follow up appointments or surprise visits. I think part of the problem we are having is that “the school” is not focusing on the fact that my sons skin has improved but they are focusing on the problem still being there. As we explained to “the school” after their first call to S.S., this is going to be a continuing condition we are going to have to deal with, it will never completely go away.
I am having our doctor write a letter stating that we are following all medical options etc. I will be coping this to S.S. and the school. I will have the school sign and date MY copy, stating that they have read and received a copy. Just in case by some freak accident the schools copy goes missing from my sons file. I did contact the school board superintendent for my area, we spoke briefly and I have yet to receive a call back at this point however I am not finished with “the school“.
We will be changing schools come the new school year. If in the event his “previous school” should make any inquiries regarding my son or make any personal appearances, we WILL be pressing charges. The same goes should the school call Social Services for a third time before the end of this school year.
Thank you to everyone for all your helpful advice. Should I feel the need to write “My Sons Principal Part 2” I will be back again for your help.

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

My kid would have been out of that school yesterday. She is out of line. Homeschool if you have to. My child would not have attended again after the first cal to SS.

Can you give him benedryl to ease the itching?

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answers from Minneapolis on


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answers from Austin on

I am going to play devils advocate.

If there was a child in my daughters class that was always scratching and bleeding, I would not be pleased. I would wonder why he was still suffering with this situation? I would want the child to ALWAYS wash his hands very well with a disinfectant before touching anything other children would be touching. EVERY TIME. This would include desks, chairs, books, papers, pencils, cafeteria line, play equipment, gym equipment.

I would wonder why on earth the parents would not allow a school nurse to apply any type of medication this child would need as necessary?

It sounds like you are already very stressed about your sons condition. It must be terrible seeing your child suffer.

I suggest you come up with a plan and work WITH the principal. You will need to be respectful, clear and have a good plan that you can present, rather than just saying no and "none of your business". It is her business. She is there to make sure that All of the children are safe.

What is the school allowed to do when your son is so obviously in discomfort during the day?
How can you reassure the district, the Principal and the parents that your child really is getting the help he needsand that the other children are going to be safe?

Suggestions. The school should call you when your sons legs are bleeding so you can go up to school and deal with it..
The school must call before they apply the cream to your son.
They pull your child out of class so he can apply the creams.
Your doctor will send the school nurse instructions on how to treat your son while at school.

This is not all about you. Your son needs to be able to feel like his mom is not always so negative about his school. He needs to feel like this health issue is not his fault and causing his mother to be freaking out about his school.

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answers from Lakeland on

I am so sorry M. about this issue you are having with the school. I am a school administrator in Florida of a special school for Traumatic Brain Injured children. I understand why the principal may have done this the first time (laws and other school related issues). I don't know special ed law in Canada but if I were you I would become very proactive and get my pediatrician involved. I would also document what it is that you do for treatment. Next, I would get in touch with the school boards local special education coordinator and I would ask her about a meeting to discuss if your son needs a educational plan that addresses "other health impairments." This does not mean he needs special services but it does help the school understand your childs health issues and it would help them get off your back. Frankly, I think your childs principal is insensitive and this is a little silly. For your safety document any conversations, get your pediatrician involved letters to the school and call the special ed. coordinator. I hope this helps. If I can help in any other way just drop me a line and I will do my best.

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answers from Portland on

First problem; I'm an extremely itchy person, too, and I would never be able to tolerate an oil that has any perfume in it. Is your baby oil scented? If so, you might try two or three unscented oils to see if they work better. Olive oil is fantastic (just a teaspoon floating on the bathwater, or even less patted over his wet skin after bathing, will do it). If that doesn't work, you might try jojoba oil, or sweet olive oil.

Another anti-itch cream that is almost immediately effective for me is available in many natural food stores. Look for a tube of FLORASONE CREAM (made by Boercke and Tafel, which makes a whole line of amazingly effective creams and gels for a variety of problems). The half-dozen people I've convinced to try this cream have all been really excited by the results they've gotten.

On the communication with your son's principal, it sounds like the problems really originate from both directions. You are uncomfortable about her, and she could be uncomfortable about you. It seems you could usefully address this "elephant in the room" so that perhaps you can find some mutual respect.

There's a great set of techniques that can help you with this difficulty called Non Violent Communication (or NVC). You can google many sites that offer the basic explanation, coaching, examples, books and classes. My husband and I find the process helpful in a variety of situations.

I find myself puzzled about something you wrote: If you tell the principal that the physical welfare of one of her students is "none of her business,"
I think that may be inaccurate if his itching distracts him or other students during class, or perhaps makes him the target of teasing.

If you indeed tell her to butt out that bluntly (that's my gentle way of saying "rudely"), I could see where that would only increase her concern, or at least increase her ego reaction to your attitude. What if you were to soften your response and let her know you hear her concern, and hope she will listen to yours?

I can't see why Social Services would be interested in removing your son if eczema is the only problem. Your "paranoia" suggests to me that there is possibly a lot more going on here, like a generally antagonistic relationship with the agency, the principal, or other authority figures. Are you giving them any other reasons to think you're harming or neglecting your son's welfare? If that's the case, and I'm not saying it necessarily is, then you may have some serious soul-searching to do. An antagonistic stance against the world isn't good for your emotional health, or your son's.

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answers from Huntsville on

I'm a little confused about the Social Services. What is she telling them when she calls?

And if they show up looking for evidence of what she is reporting, but find everything fine, then how can they remove your son?

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answers from Chicago on

Kids typically give parents a hard time about everything, but maybe he wouldn't give the nurse a hard time. I am shocked that the Principal called you instead of the nurse. But more importantly you were contacted for a reason & that needs to be addressed. Is it because he was a distraction to the teacher or the students? I volunteer at my sons school & if I noticed a child severely scratching himself to the point of bleeding & with open sores, I would be concerned & report it to the school for health & sanitation reasons for the child & the other children. These are just some reasonable reasons that you may have been approached. So now you have to be proactive, as this is a public school, so maybe you can call the nurse & start off fresh. Call and say I want to work with the school for my sons sake but my concern is he will feel singled out & I don't want anyone else applying the cream unless he ask's for help. Perhaps he can go during lunch period as this is in the middle of the day. It just sounds like you and the principal started off with bad attitudes towards each other & now it's out of control.

BTW we call our school Principal by her first name, so just do the same.

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answers from New London on

I would make a call to the superintendent for a meeting to discuss these matters.

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answers from Los Angeles on

well i am guessing that they don't know the story behind how your son does not like having the cream applied..i know you want to protect him but..i would let them have a go at it so they can see that that is're not explaining it to her so she doesn't know why you're being so short with her.
About the eczema..i had that as a teen..the only thing that helped me was tetracycline but he's too young that could ruin his you have a filter on your shower? i put one on mine and it softer on the skin...
sorry you're going through all this..i would tell her why..but i would let the school put the cream on him...i would let them do that with my own son...sometimes kids cooperate better with other people than their own parents.

good luck


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answers from New York on

I would get your doctor to send a letter to school to keep in the file about your son's condition and the treatment that he is receiving. It isn't appropriate for the principal to call you about this issue. Principals should have more important things to deal with, this is an issue for the nurse. If the principal calls you by your first name, then you should call her by hers. I work in education, you pay the principal's salary and you are not a bad girl who was sent to her office, you are a parent of a student and should be spoken to with respect. I would complain to the superintendent of schools. Good luck

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answers from Los Angeles on

Wow, M.. I know someone with an almost identical scenario on both topics, only it was her daughter with the rash. The only difference is the woman I know was committing major insurance fraud and I used to help her with transportation because she claimed she couldn't drive because of dyslexia, which didn't make sense. When I asked too many questions she slandered me at church where I learned who my real friends were and then she and her family suddenly disappeared into the night, never to be heard from again.
I'm sorry for your kids. Please see a dermatologist rather than alternative things.


answers from Chicago on

I think you are definetly right about this principle that she is against you. Isn't it funny as we parents pick up on something like this. It happened to me with my son when he was in 7th grade. I didn't know his teacher but she constantly picked on him and then would phone me. It got to the point that I answered the phone one time and I said "you don't like my son" she said I didn't say that. I said "no" only because you can't. She never called again. The following year he won an award for Most Improved Student.
I would go above this principals' head and speak to your board of Education and let them know how you feel. Hopefully they can help you out. She obviously knew the year was up and away it went again. I feel so bad for you. Don't fear that your child will be taken away, this is the least they want to do, but they will check out a report which is just what your sons' principal is doing. Good luck and again get in touch with the Board of Ed and ask them what can be done. Hopefully next year she will get a transfer to another school. That would be



answers from Los Angeles on

Try to keep all emotion out of it when you converse with her. Speak only of your son and your participation in his education. Do not bring up historical issues between you and her...
I see no problem with allowing the school to apply the cream but if you're set against it, keep the prescription and doctor's recommendation on hand. If possible, scan them both so they can be emailed upon request. That way you have medical proof that you're doing all you can for your son, per the doctor's orders.
Once child services witnesses the proof (over and over again), what more can they do? At some point her calls will be filed as fraudulent, etc...



answers from Seattle on

Definitely call the superintendent. The superintendent is her boss and should address your concerns about her as your son's principal. Also, if you have not expressed your concerns to the principal via email (or written form that you kept a copy of), I would strongly suggest doing that BEFORE getting the superintendent involved. That way, you have proof that you have brought these things up with her before. If you tell the principal that the rash, etc on your son's legs is caused by a medical condition that is being treated, that is all you need to say. It is none of her business what the condition even is! The doctor did not tell you to apply the cream at school, then you shouldn't and they have no business even knowing about it.

...and if all of that gets you nowhere, you could always tell her off using some choice language outside the presence of your son and explain in a rude fashion that it is not okay to treat you the way that she has may not solve any problems, but by that point, the problem sounds as if it may be unsolveable anyway and it might make you feel a lot better. lol j/k...perhaps flooding her with emails nicely requesting she refer to you by your title rather than by your first name on a daily (or hourly) basis, along with your other concerns, would send a better message?



answers from New York on

I can feel you are frustrated, hence, your response to the principal. you need to have back-up proof about your son's condition. in fact, why don't you allow the school to try put the creme on your son, and maybe they'll experience what you're experiencing. your son needs to have that creme applied. i can't understand why will you not find a way to apply the creme on your son. he is old enough to know he cannot go to school scratching and itching. it makes people uncomfortable. they have to address issues like that if they're occurring in school property.
the SS coming to your house, nothing you can do about it. when a call is made, they will show up. try to work with the school, as i assume, even if you transfer schools, your son's file with go with you guys and new principal will have access to that, and pay attention to your son more so than anyone else.
try find a way to work with the school. obviously your son has a medical issue that needs addressing.



answers from San Diego on

I get where you're coming from:

- You've bent over backwards taking your kiddo to doctors and specialists
- Kiddo is *extremely* resistant to having the meds applied, and more often than not it's currently a traumatic event to get the meds applied on him correctly.

- Even if you were inclined for his meds to be applied during the school day it sounds like there are a SERIES of meds that need to be applied. So you would not only have to get duplicates to be kept at school... but knowing that they'd be applied *correctly* and in the right *order/amounts/doseages* is dubious... AND the whole thing isn't a walk in the park... so it would be creating a traumatic event for him to link to school.

- A school ADMINISTRATOR (not even a health professional) is suddenly calling you up with the "answer" that multiple doctors have struggled over... and is furthermore (adding insult to injury) being condescending to you, implying bad or negligent parenting to your son.

Ugh. I would be furious.




answers from Los Angeles on

HI M.,

Yikes, it's always scary when social services is involved! You've gotten some great advice so far; I would also encourage you to take a note from your doctor into the school, so that they are aware that your son is being having his medical issues treated appropriately.

On another front, I saw an article in the LA times several months ago that suggested that some plain bleach added to the bathwater really can help reduce the itchiness associated with eczema. I think it was about a cup or so, but be sure to check with your son's doctor. Maybe that can help him be more comfortable until the creams really kick in.

Best of luck!


answers from Fayetteville on

ok, I understand exactly what you are going though. I have a sister who is now 17 years old and has suffered with server Eczema all her life and still does. She had a hard time wanting to put the cream on as well and it took some time but finally we did it. (for you son you can also try soaking him in Aveeno Bath oats, it really helps the skin and helps the itch go away.) As for strapping your son to the bed with oven mitts I don't think you need to do that. Maybe that's why the principal called Social services assuming that's what your son told someone or maybe her. but my family and I have delt with Social Services all our lives because of my mom's "lack of parenting"
That principal has no right or proof atm to prove anything. My advice about that is to make mention of it at a PTA meeting or go to the superintendent yourself. Other wise my other opinion would be to move your son to a different school where that woman has no contact with him what so ever. Just make sure if she does try anything with legal make sure you have your paper work and anything else you need. I wish you luck and I hope your son feels better soon. :)


answers from New York on

First I think that you should document everything to protect yourself and your son. Second, get a parent advocate (I think someone below gave you a link) An advocate knows your legal rights and will make sure the school is doing what they are suppose to do and it will also show the principal that she cannot get away with bullying you. Advocates are often free or on a sliding scale basis.

Have you asked your son's pediatrician if there is an antihistamine that he can take that will help control the itching and help him feel more comfortable?

Good Luck

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