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Some advice for handling challenging situations

New York Teacher

Our school system has many policies and procedures in place to help educators do the right thing for their students. But as a new teacher, you are bound to encounter situations with students that are challenging to navigate. Hopefully, you have a trusted colleague or administrator to whom you can turn for support. If you find yourself in one of the following situations, here is some guidance for making a plan of action.

If you have reason to suspect that a student is being neglected or abused, remember that you are a mandated reporter. You must call the New York State Central Register (SCR) for Child Abuse and Maltreatment at 1-800-635-1522. Your call is con dential, but it cannot be made anonymously. You must provide SCR with the name and contact information for any other staff members who have direct knowledge about the allegations. Both Child Protective Services officials and school employees are prohibited from disclosing the reporter’s name or confirming that the school led the report. SCR will provide you with a call ID number, which you must share with your principal no later than the end of the school day.

If a student’s behavior is significantly disruptive or a student poses a danger to himself or others, you have the right to have the student removed from the classroom. Your school should have a procedure in place for student removal and a special location (known as a SAVE room) where students can be sent if they are removed from the classroom. Your school should also have a crisis intervention team whose members are trained to help students in crisis. Ask your chapter leader to walk you through your school’s plan.

If you believe one of your students is in need of special education services, you can submit a Request for Initial Referral to your principal. You must explain your reasons for requesting the referral; describe any intervention services, programs or instructional methodologies you have tried; and describe the extent of your contact with the student’s parents or guardian. Your school may have a team of educators who meet regularly to discuss students who are academically at risk. The team may suggest strategies for you to try or develop a plan for working with your student. If your principal agrees with your referral, he or she will initiate the process for obtaining parental consent.

If you believe one of your students is not receiving the services he or she is entitled to for special education or English language learners, the UFT can work with you to help resolve the issue. File a confidential special education complaint or an English language learner complaint.

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