DEAR ABBY: As a special education teacher, I have a request for parents of special education students. When you enroll your child at a new school, please inform the school that your child is a special education student.
Many parents follow the urging of their children and don't notify the new school, and this does a great disservice to their children. Schools face consequences for not identifying and servicing special education students correctly. If you and your child are adamant that he or she not be given the extra services for special education students, inform the school and provide documentation that you don't want these services for your child. Please do not leave your children to suffer the frustration of an incorrect educational placement. The schools will work with you and your child to find the best educational option for your child. -- SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, OKLAHOMA CITY
DEAR TEACHER: I can understand the reluctance of parents not wanting their children to be "labeled." I also understand that children can be cruel, and unwilling to accept children they perceive as "different."
However, the truth remains that not all children are able to learn in the same way. Some children need specialized help because of visual or auditory challenges in order to grasp and absorb their lessons. If they do not get it, they fall further and further behind, become the butt of ridicule among their classmates, become depressed and disruptive, and suffer from low self-esteem from which they may never recover.
I hope that parents of learning-disabled children will take your message to heart, and that your letter will convince them to do what is right for their children -- which, sadly, is often not the "easiest" thing to do.
DEAR ABBY: I am 21, and my sister "Callie" is 23. I'm having a problem with her boyfriend, "Jared." When he comes to our house, he constantly belittles me. He calls me names and makes degrading comments about my intelligence, my weight, and just about anything else you can think of.
Callie is present when Jared makes the majority of the comments, but says nothing. I have told him in no uncertain terms that I don't appreciate the way he speaks to me, and it has reached the point that I don't want to be in the same room with them.
I feel Callie should be the one to tell him he's out of line, but she refuses. She says I'm being "too sensitive," and I should accept Jared because he's a part of her life.
I don't feel I should have to force myself to be polite to someone who obviously has no consideration for my feelings. My family is planning a trip in a few weeks, and I know Callie will want to bring Jared. I don't want to go if he's going to be there, but I don't want to look like the bad guy. What's the best way to tell my family I won't be able to attend the outing this year? -- HURT IN SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
DEAR HURT: You should be entitled to be treated with respect while you're under your own roof. Your sister's boyfriend is a verbal abuser and a bully, and her self-esteem must be very low if she allows him to pick on you without protest.
Rather than telling your folks that you don't want to go on vacation if Jared is there, enlighten them about how he treats you and how it makes you feel. (He may be trying to make you so uncomfortable that you give him lots of alone time with your sister.) It goes without saying that if Jared can't act like a gentleman when he's at your house, he should not accompany your family on vacation.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600