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  1. #1
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    Default Protect yourselves from ignorant Mandated reporters and DCFS

    My daughter has mongolian spots on her back.

    On her second day of preschool, the school called DCFS without ever talking to us. The accusation was completely baseless and case has been marked "unfounded", it's been extremely difficult emotionally to deal with this. It took couple of letters to the school board president and superintendent of school before we even got a forced apology. The principal, nurse and the teachers(s) were clueless in this case.

    Mandated reporters need to take some caution. Calling DCFS should not be considered lightly. While DCFS may help some families, they have also ruined many.

    We have gotten questions from couple of people about the spots but never in my wildest dreams did I think a school would call DCFS without ever talking to us since Mongolian spots are common about certain ethic groups. They had no other circumstantial evidence. They forgot that while they are mandated, conveniently forgot about "reasonable" suspicion aspect of the law.

    If your child has birthmarks or bruises from accidents, we as parents need to take caution and protect ourselves and be proactive. My wife and I will not be able to look at any teachers and administrators the same way again. Emotional scars be with us for years.

  2. #2
    karstmama's Avatar
    karstmama is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    mongolian spots are totally normal and i'm shocked that these people act like they've never seen them!

    so sorry for your hassles & the fear you had to go through.
    mama to j karst, former 25 weeker, 12/06

  3. #3
    WatchingThemGrow is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Welcome to the boards! I have to admit that I did not know what they are, and that I would have wondered also. And I have over a decade of teaching experience. So sorry they jumped to conclusions and put you on the defensive on day 2. Not cool. I wonder if they recently had a situation involving a child that was in danger and that prompted them to call.

    I wouldn't distrust all teachers from here on out. I think I would mention it to the director the next school you're in, though. Would that be something to mention on the preschool health forms?

  4. #4
    KrisM is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    How awful for you.

    My question - why does a preschool see a child's back? I'm pretty sure my kids' backs have never been exposed to a preschool teacher. That seems odd to me.

    I did have to Google to see what Mongolian Spots are. I hope they've never seen them either.
    Kris

    Mom to:
    DS1 4/2004
    DD 6/2006
    DS2 7/2008

  5. #5
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    Sadly, I've heard of this happening before. I'm so sorry this happened to you.
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
    6/08 - Preemies no more!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisM View Post
    How awful for you.

    My question - why does a preschool see a child's back? I'm pretty sure my kids' backs have never been exposed to a preschool teacher. That seems odd to me.
    They're often on the lower back or buttocks. So a shirt riding up would expose them, or if the child isn't potty trained they'd be easily seen.
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
    6/08 - Preemies no more!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisM View Post
    How awful for you.

    My question - why does a preschool see a child's back? I'm pretty sure my kids' backs have never been exposed to a preschool teacher. That seems odd to me.

    I did have to Google to see what Mongolian Spots are. I hope they've never seen them either.
    She needed to be changed from an bathroom incident. Teacher-assistant brought it up to the teacher, teacher took her to the nurse and the principal and they reported.

    2nd day of school. This is parent paid preschool program.

    my "Ignorant" remark is not about knowledge of the mongolian spots but their knee-jerk reaction to call DCFS and wash their hands. When I went to talk to the principal about it, he would only say he was following a mandate and didn't feel he did anything wrong. He couldn't even say "I am sorry you had to go through that." I approached him very reasonably which is why I was so shocked at the reaction.

    Also the nurse saw her as well. My daughter has been seen my several nurses and doctors over her short life but none of them ever raised an issue with the spot because they knew what it was right away.

    I wouldn't distrust all teachers/administrators but we will definitely not assume that all of them would exercise reasonable judgement.

    Only evidence they had was what they thought was a bruise. I think most people would not immediately jump to conclusion and call DCFS. DCFS does not come over to have a cup of tea with you. They go through your house and I have to tell you what she told us after she didn't find anything. She found a smoke detector that she thought wasn't working "Just because it has batteries, it doesn't mean it's working". I tested it when I rushed home from work and it works fine.

  8. #8
    KrisM is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Ah, okay. That makes sense. Now, I'm not sure that my kids' backs havne't been seen .

    Even if they thought it was something to report, I can't believe there wasn't an apology after the fact. That is just wrong.

    I'm sorry you had to deal with this. Will you keep her there or find another school?
    Kris

    Mom to:
    DS1 4/2004
    DD 6/2006
    DS2 7/2008

  9. #9
    hellokitty is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I worry about it too. We live in an area where there aren't very many asians. All 3 of my boys have mongolian spots (btw, nice username, I like it!), and they are not just on their butts, but spread up their backs too. I have always made sure it was well documented by the pediatrician that my kids have mongolian spots, out of fear that some day some idiot would call social services on us. The only time so far I've had an issue is when I was with some mom friends and DS2 got hurt. I lifted up his shirt to look at the spot that he was pointing to and one of my friends was freaking out saying, "OMG, look he has bruises all over his lower back!" She's a social worker, btw. I calmly pointed out to her that they were mongolian spots and immediately she realized her mistake and stopped freaking out. You would think that in this day in age, ppl wouldn't blink an eye at the sight/mention of mongolian spots, esp a school nurse, but I can see how it can still happen if you live in an area that is non-diverse or ignorant about mongolian spots.

    I took an african american patient once (I'm an RN, but at the time I was still a nursing student) to the ER and the stupid ER doc did not know what mongolian spots were (and he was not some dinosaur doc, but a young one fresh out of school). The patient, the nurse who was my preceptor and myself were all disgusted at his ignorance. I think our disgust made him turn a few shades of red, b/c we thought he was an idiot for not knowing something basic like this, when he of all ppl should know this info. I don't blame you for not wanting to trust the school again. I think schools in general tend to over-react in cases like this and calling DCFS. I have a friend who got DCFS called on her in the district that she was a TEACHER at!!! Her son had GI issues, and basically had a really bad bathroom accident at school. The school accused her of medical neglect, and called DCFS on her. She was livid that, "one of her own" would first call DCFS, before asking her for an explanation. It was all sorted out when she had them contact her son's GI specialist, but still. She said it stung really bad to be accused of something so horrible that could have easily been avoided if they would have just COMMUNICATED with her, instead of jumping the gun and pointing fingers.
    Mom to a LEGO master, LEGO apprentice,
    DUPLO kid & LEGO eating goat dog

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  10. #10
    ehf is offline Silver level (200+ posts)
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    I'm sorry you had to deal with this. I'm sure it was emotionally wrenching and makes you distrust your daycare providers.

    Just so you know, most states/districts have gotten pretty crazy about mandated reporting. As a teacher, I was required to take a "training" that said: I am personally liable for NOT reporting; I am NOT ALLOWED to investigate, including talking to parents, before reporting suspicions; and that I am not supposed to make a "best guess," but instead report any possible suspicion of any kind of physical harm without talking to the kid or parents at all.

    It's a frightening training. I am glad you complained to your school; they need to hear it. I would ALSO complain to your congressman. And any other body you can get ahold of...difference is, I wouldn't complain about the judgment call, but about the air of suspicion that the "mandatory reporters" are being subjected to along with the parents.

    Just so you know (and not this is my own b!tch), here are the trainings that I went through on ONE day of faculty meetings before school:

    -Food and insect allergies and epipen training
    -mandated reporter training
    -concussion training
    -IEP review (I'm part-time. Of my 70 students (60% time), 18 have IEPS
    -504 review (another 10 kids)
    -training on the projection system for my hearing impaired kids
    -training on closed captioning to make sure my notes on the board and any audiovisual materials are hearing-impaired compatible
    -differentiated instruction discussion (I've taken many classes; this was a review)
    -"habits of mind" discussion
    -EMI training (diversity training)

    Now, the last three are sort of common sense, and much of the first 7 are too, but as of 3 years ago, we had two days to prepare classrooms, design/tweak curriculum, and discuss students before school started. Now we take all these trainings.

    As a parent who has had to deal with the consequences of the crappy "mandated reporter" training, I would question it---just as much as the teachers.

    Good luck!

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