May 25, 2023

 So much TO SAY. Trying bullet points to keep this post manageable:  

* Don't devil's advocate ME.  The principal escalated our complaint to HR, because Mr. Ego's alleged behavior violated the bullying/harassment code. Coach and I met with the HR woman, who I will nickname Henrietta, at the district via zoom. 

No pics 'go' with this post, but I cut the roses
 off the stems when they died and floated them
 in a bowl of water. So pretty. There
 were from Lad on Mom's Day.

Henrietta:  I have your email/complaint. (then she described the investigation  process). Ernie, can you come into my office to share other notes? It seems like you have additional info. 

*this after I mentioned that in a Family Feud game designed to review for the AP exam, Mr. Ego named categories:  'Hillary's a bitch' and 'F*** America'.  

I brought pages of notes when I met with Henrietta on Tuesday, May 16th. She asked to copy them. I agreed to email her bullet points, because my copy included illegible chicken scratch. 

In our meeting, she countered my examples, which I found frustrating. Is that what is done when one gathers information? It seemed like she might be trying to discourage us. 

 Me:  Ego said "We lost games because Reg was a selfish player."


Me:  Go watch film. Look at his stats. Ask his teammates. Explain how he was voted all conference. *besides:  not the point, you don't say that in a classroom AFTER the season. 


Me:  Most kids don't want to come forward because they are intimidated. *insert example of an intimated girl student*


Me:  Because she can see what he is capable of in the classroom. *smoke pouring from my ears*


Me:  Ego has laid off of Reg, since the AD told him to leave b-ball stuff out of the classroom. But just a few days ago he told a freshman kid:  you don't seem to be focusing in class, you know - I won't play you on varsity someday if you can't focus. *my point:  he has learned nothing, same old crap.

Henrietta:  Well, if he's being nice to Reg now, then why pursue the complaint? You got what you wanted. 

Me:  Our goal is to keep him from bullying other students, not just Reg. 


Henrietta (after I detail remarks he made in class):  Have you considered that he is being sarcastic? (as if that would be acceptable?)

Me:  Nothing he said could be misconstrued as sarcasm. He is blatantly mean. I can take this to the next level.

Henrietta:  You can choose to do that.

Me:  I'm well aware of what my options are. Thanks for your time. 

*these are only a few examples of her devil's advocate crap


A few days later when I forwarded her my bullet points detailing all of the nonsense, I  explained that I found her approach alarming- as if she wanted us to choose not to pursue the investigation. I copied the principal on my email.

She responded by saying that this was now a formal investigation (which I thought might suck more because it would take longer) and that she did not suggest, or propose, or argue ANYTHING. "That was false." 

So, I lied? 

Mini and Ed both laughed - ACTUALLY, SHE DID PROPOSE AND SUGGEST SEVERAL THINGS. Mini thought I should respond and add a footnote with a definition of propose and suggest. 

I didn't do that, but apples are not falling far from trees in this tale, my friends. 

I left the principal a message Friday:  why did Henrietta elevate this to a formal investigation vs informal. Was I being scolded for pointing out how off base she was? Also, I wanted to be sure that the team understood that they were not to interview Reg unless Coach and I were present. 

The principal returned my call a few days later - his mother is sick and is out of state. He impressed me during out conversation. He said HE opted to move it to a formal investigation, because during the process they felt it was necessary to be thorough. And, yes, he agreed, Coach and I should be present when Reg is interviewed. 

Unrelated, but fun pic. While I was sorting all the dishes, etc. from Uncle's house that is being stored in my folks' basement, i snapped a pic of my dad's train set. Pretty cool, huh? It isn't currently working. My tots would've loved to see it work. 

* How much?  Footnotes to our LONG, EXCESSIVELY boring ordeal. We were charged $3,500 for my ER visit on Halloween. How? The insurance company sent a printout of our health insurance expenses in '22.

We spent $29,500 or something silly. S.I.L.L.Y. And yet, we hadn't met our out of pocket, or our family deductible, or our something-or-other, so the $3,500 was legit. *insert sounds of me choking*

Coach and I realized, about 6 weeks into '23 -so too late to make any changes to the plan he selected, that somewhere along the line, our insurance changed. Same Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO, but now with new and improved loopholes so they can rip us off more. Coach says he always chooses the middle of the road plan, so no clue how we ended up in the ditch.

I filed paperwork with the hospital calling FOUL blaming our insurance. Could we please not owe? I got a letter last month. They've cancelled our $3,500 debt. Phew. 


I was relieved that we, the good guys, won out in bullet number 2, and my fingers are crossed that we prevail in bullet number 1. Do you know a Henrietta type? Has your insurance played a Jedi mind trick on you or your bank account?  Know anyone who collects Lionel trains?

I thought I'd get to share the many adventures, complete with plot twists, of my trip to Texas by utilizing bullet points. Alas, no. Tune in Tuesday next week (Monday is a holiday) for the Texas tale. 


mbmom11 said...

Congratulations on your insurance win! It stinks you had to appeal it, but it's great that you did.
I cannot believe that woman's questions. What if he's selfish?!? Really? Even if he's the world's worst ball hog( which I am sure he's not) what does that have to do with the classroom? And jerks always try to excuse their bad behavior by saying " just sarcastic" or " can't you take a joke". I admire your restraint at not going nuclear on her.
I dealt with a bit of school issue this week, and after years of being pleased and grateful for the services they give my one child, I forcefully pointed out a massive disparity between what they offer at 5th grade for special needs kids and typical kids. ( they were stunned a bit- usually I'm really happy and never complain.). I was a bit surprised myself. But we all have some points we cannot compromise on. Even if nothing I said makes a difference, they now know I'm watching. And hopefully, even if your complaint isn't dealt with fairly, maybe other parents will take notice and be alert, and the district won't put up with too many conflicts over Ego.

Beth Cotell said...

It does sound as if Henrietta was trying to get you to see that things are better and you should just move on. The principal seems at this point, like he might actually care. Perhaps he would like to fire this guy himself...

So glad you fought the insurance company and won!!!

Ally Bean said...

...if he's being nice to Reg now, then why pursue the complaint? You got what you wanted.

That is a sad, sad thing to say. HR Henrietta isn't addressing the real problem and trying to pawn you off. I'm shaking my head in disbelief while rooting you on from afar.

As for fighting the insurance company and winning, yay!

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Thank GOODNESS you were able to get the $3500 waived.

But the basketball coach stuff... omg. I cannot believe how combative the HR person is being!!!! So glad it seems like the principal is in your corner.

Jenny in WV said...

It seems like the principal actually cares and is interested in doing the right thing. Henrietta, not so much!
Insurance companies are a pain! I'm glad you were able to get the $3,500 waived! I only recently realized that a cleaning and check-up at the dentist counted against the annual maximum they will pay, was not expecting to pay for a cleaning on top of what the insurance didn't pay for a root canal!

I had a Lionel train when I was a kid. It's in a closet now at my parents house, but I think the track needs to be replaced after being kept in the basement for several years. Someday I'd like to set it up around the Christmas tree, but otherwise model railroading is not a hobby I want to pursue.

Nance said...

HOORAY for your insurance win. We've found that if you actually pursue and fight for yourself against insurance, you can usually prevail in some way. That you got the whole debt cleared is awesome.

The HR person is buck-passing and trying to mitigate damage. Schools hate any whiff of scandal or mess, and each individual wants to keep her/his name clear of it. Like insurance companies, they simply hope you'll be frustrated and resigned and just Go Away.

Again, sarcasm has NO PLACE in the classroom or locker room as a weapon against students, period. And having documentation of this guy's behaviour with OTHER students is valuable. It shows a continuing pattern of destructive behaviour.

Educators are de facto role models and custodial adults while students are in their care. If your son showed signs of abuse from home, this guy would be legally bound as a mandated reporter to notify the proper authorities. That's how strong his role is as a classroom teacher and coach. For him to act as an abuser is a violation of that role.

Hang in there. Stay calm and organized. And breathe.

Nicole said...

I have said it before and I'll say it again, the US health insurance system is absolutely baffling and ridiculous to me. I can't believe the costs! I'm glad you won.
Hoping things go well at the school.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - I don't think I made the medical bill completley clear - I did NOT win against the insurance company, but I was able to convince the hospital to waive the charges. Same impact on my bank account, but not as amazing if I would've been able to convince the insurance company that they were wrong. And for what we pay, 30K is WRONG - regardless of what anyone says.

I'm sorry that you had to tackle issues at your school recently. I have a neighbor who is constantly threatening to bring her educational lawyer into the mix at the school, and sometimes she does have him handle things. I did reach out to a lawyer she uses (got the # thru a mutual friend because I didn't want to engage with her in that arena, she's a lot). He gave us some good advice, but basically it blows my mind to think that such a lawyer type is necessary. It frustrates me that schools aren't always open to handling things properly. Ugh.

I'm bracing for no action, because Ego does have a fan club following and those kids who appreciate it when he pushes the envelope will probably hurt the investigation because they don't find him offensive/don't want to get him in trouble. At the very least, the school should have a letter in his file/watch him closer.

Ernie said...

Beth - A friend told me that it sounded like from the 1st and 2nd meeting I had with her - the union got to her. I think she'd like this to go away and there might be some pressure to that end. It was hard for me not to ask her to step into the parking lot, so we could handle things from there. ;) Her email response was ridiculous.

I didn't beat the insurance company, but the hospital DID waive everything, so that does feel like a win. We'd paid SO much for all of Reg's epilepsy issues and ER visit - there's no way I should've owed a dime by late October. What on earth?

Ernie said...

Ally - I agree. YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED. What now? Did you read ANY of the emails we sent - there are countless students impacted by him and his offensive approach, yet he won't be fired. Not a snowball's chance in hell. But maybe he won't be allowed to coach anymore. Coach was like SO IF A CRIMINAL DOES SOMETHING ONE DAY, BUT THEN DECIDES TO BE NICE THE NEXT DAY - ALL IS FINE? JUSTICE ISN'T NECESSARY? I included that in my email and that was one part she didn't respond to.

The insurnace company remains ridiculous - but the hosptial took pity on us, after I spent DAYS and HOURS of my time sending copies of tax returns and other financial documents to prove that we don't have an unlimited cash supply at our disposal.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - Yes, getting that amount waived was HUGE. I'm assuming the hospital is driven mad by insurance and the nonsense and debt that they cause.

I do feel like the principal sees this situation fairly clearly. He admitted on the phone that he wasn't pleased with how the AD and the history dept chair had 'handled' it. I was like I KNOW, RIGHT? TOTALLY LACKING IN RESPONSE. My opinion of him has shifted. He won't get to decide Ego's fate, but he is conducting the interviews of students and teammates.

Ernie said...

Jenny - The principal assured me that he considers this issue as if it was happening to one of his 3 daughters. That is the right approach. This is someone's child. Well, it just so happens to be MY child and Ego should be kicking himself for EVER messing with me or my family. Have I mentioned that when Ego made fun of Reg for benchwarming, Lad told me he wanted to wait in the school parking lot for Ego to walk to his car? My response: get in line behind me.

We have home movies of each of us opening a new Lionel train car. My sisters and I wore underwhelmed facial expressions, obviously. Dad, the collector, had found a way to collect more and 'count' it as a gift, I guess. Transparent, Dad. I think we have little cousin's train in a box in my basement, because I had so many boys but Coach never bothered to set it up. I really would like my dad's train to run again. It would be so fun for the toddlers over at my house to take a field trip there to watch it run.

Ernie said...

Nance- Well, insurance compamy did not fold, but the hospital did agree to waive our expenses, probably because they recognize the difficulty insured folks deal with.

You raise an excellent point. If Ego suspected that Reg was coming from an abusive home, he'd be compelled to report it. Here we are - tables reversed. I do hope that they say he can't coach anymore, at the very least. He is a menace. The fact that he continues to intimidate b-ball players in the classroom (honor students who don't have discipline issues and don't require him to threaten them as motivation) is a perfect example of what his problem is.

After speaking to the principal, I feel more calm. Honestly, the trip to Texas in the middle of all of this, while an emotional draining experience, was a welcome break.

Pat Birnie said...

Reading about Henrietta was making steam come out of MY ears! Sounds like you have an ally with the principal though. When I hear these medical charge $ my jaw drops. I cannot fathom having to worry about paying whenever you have a medical issue. So happy you won this one!

Kari said...

After reading your issues with the school and your issues with insurance, then Nicole's comment, I think the solution is simple: move to Canada. ALL OF US. 😊

Kara said...

Your school has an HR problem and an AD problem.

We just got a new principal at the high school. He came from our STEM high school that doesn't have sports. I am not sure why he was assigned to us, but I think it was because the football coach and AD screwed over the school last year and made kids miss summer training camps due to their ineptitude. Anyways, it was refreshing to have awards nights that weren't focused on a football team and celebrated athletes and scholars equally.

Ernie said...

Nicole - It is baffling to me and I live here. The whole system is broken, as are many other systems in the US. I'm glad the hospital chose to let us off the hook.

If nothing else, we've shed light on a situation that needed to be recognized. Reg seems to have weathered the storm and is recognizing how creepy it is that Ego is now disgustingly sweet to him. Weirdo. I still hope he isn't allowed to coach anymore.

Ernie said...

Pat - The zoom we had with her was informative and she seemed to be open minded to all of our issues. Then I met her in person and I was like WHAT IS HAPPENING? I did not hesitate to let her know how offensive I found our meeting to be, and she didn't care for that at all. I was relieved when the principal explained that he wanted a formal investigation. It is our hope that that means enough info has been unveiled that they are taking it seriously.

Medical costs are postively disgraceful in the US. I have vowed to never ever go to the ER again, for myself. Not worth it. Thank goodness the hospital recognized that this was too much for us.

Ernie said...

Kari - I love this idea. Very funny. Coach texted me recently that his company is hiring a manager in AZ and also in Greenville, SC - a place we've visited and we've loved. I was like THAT MIGHT BE THE WAY AROUND HORRIBLE NIEGHBORS AND HORRIBLE SCHOOL CRAP. We'd be stuck with the same insurance and our high school kids might be kind of ticked at us. Still, tempting.

Ernie said...

Kara - I agree 100%. Unforunately the AD crosses paths with me fairly frequently since my kids play sports. I've heard from other parents recently. He's lazy and not terribly bright. A friend of mine was on the committee or board when he was hired. She said he didn't get her vote. She also said that they gave him tenure WAY premature of when he should've been eligible. Why? Just, WHY? He has only been at the school about 5 or 6 years maybe. He's worthless.

Hooray for a new principal at your school with a new focus.

Bijoux said...

I'd be fuming after that meeting. Collecting information does NOT mean making counterpoints! Unacceptable! And yeah, I've been basically told I was a liar at an IEP meeting. Unreal, but that's their only way to defend themselves.

Busy Bee Suz said...

$29,000 and you still didn't meet your deductible? WTH?
Henrietta sounds like a trip that I don't want to take. I'm actually glad that it was escalated....the higher the better to get Ego OUT OF THE SCHOOLS!

The roses are amazing!! I have a friend who I've known since HS and he is fascinated by trains...he goes to Train Conventions. Who knew there was such a thing? I think your Dad needs to get it working because your littles would love seeing it in action.

I hope your are feeling better! XO

Ernie said...

Bijoux - I drove away feeling like WHAT JUST HAPPENED? AM I CRAZY? I feel exactly the same way - it wasn't her job to raise counterpoints or to be combative. What on earth was that? I'm sure it ticked her off that I included the principal when I emailed her back a few days later calling her out on everything. I found it interesting that she defended her 'I didn't suggest, aruge, or propose anything' with her paraphrased statements that were suggestions and proposals. She neglected to bring up some of the points that I made - what's up Henrietta? Can't defend these other suggestions or proposals that you made? I will lose my mind if they don't remove him as coach.

Ernie said...

Suz - Honestly the insurance company rep who I spoke with the first time was SO confused by how this worked, she sort of told me to investigate on my own - I was pointing out that we shouldn't have individual and family and out of pocket totals that count separately. Makes zero sense. We have a 5K individual deductible and then a 10k family deductible and then another amount that I can't even recall now, but another high amount for out of pocket. Why? No idea. I'm hopeful that this might help Reg get the Evans Scholarship because it has been a financial hardship for sure and there is no end in sight because we have the same insurnace currenlty and I had an endoscopy and a SIBO test and pricey antibiotics that required insurance approval and I don't think they worked. Plus Reg has had more EEGs and a million doc visits.

I didn't mind it being escalated but if you read the email it is written like it was a punishment to make it formal and I worried that that would somehow make it harder on us. The principal assured me that it was not bc of something I did.

I've never felt this way, but I want a magic wand that allows me to walk through the school and point at Henrietta, the AD, and Ego and say YOU'RE FIRED, SO ARE YOU AND SO ARE YOU.

Dad mentioned what the train needs - tracks to be rewired or something. I want to see if I can find a person to do this thing. Hello google. It would be cool to get the train up and running.