FYIs and Referrals: Information for ParentsFYIs and Referrals: What are they, what happens when my child receives one, and what should I do if my child brings one home?
What are they?
At Bellview we use FYIs and Referrals to let parents/guardians know that their child has not been safe, respectful, and/or responsible in some way. FYIs are usually given for minor behaviors such as running in the hallway or yelling inside the building; referrals are given for major behaviors such as hitting, overt defiance, or safety issues, and/or when a minor behavior has occurred several times with repeated warnings.
What happens when my child receives one of these forms?
In addition to what you will find on the forms themselves, there are many “behind the scenes” aspects that go into writing FYIs/Referrals at Bellview. The process for writing either one of these begins with a conversation between staff and the student(s); the student(s) is encouraged to describe what happened in their own words and review other possible choices that can be made in similar situations in the future. Once the forms have been completed, your child should bring a copy home that needs to be reviewed, signed, and returned to the school the next (school) day. This procedure not only ensures accurate documentation on our end, but also provides a means of communication amongst all integral team members!
What should I do if my child brings one of these forms home?
My first, and top, suggestion for how to respond if your child brings a FYI or Referral home is to ask them what happened and listen with the intention of understanding. Listening with the intention of understanding helps you help your child! It strengthens your relationship, increases their sense of security, and makes this type of experience one of growth and learning, rather than simply punitive/disciplinary.
My next suggestion is to ask them specifically about their perspective, as well as the perspective of the other person/people involved (students and/or staff).
• If they aren’t yet familiar with the concept of perspective, this would be a great opportunity to teach them a little bit about it. I tell students that we are each born with a very special camera lens that no one else in the world will ever have; everything we see and experience throughout our lives will be seen through that lens. This means, there will be times…many, many times when other people see things differently than we do – and that isn’t just “okay” but incredibly important!
Once you’ve heard (in your child’s own words) what happened and walked them through the process of perspective taking, my next suggestion would be to have a conversation about the harm that was done (hurt feelings, broken possession, stolen item, etc.) and what they can do to repair that harm (heartfelt apology, fixing/replacing item, returning stolen item, etc.).
(This comes directly from the process of Restorative Justice – for more information on RJ see http://www.resolvecenter.org/pg19.cfm#Restorative_Justice_Schools.)
Natural consequences can also be an effective tool in these types of situations. (Natural Consequences: experiences that naturally follow a behavior. For example: if you climb a tall tree and fall out - that is a natural consequence, if you are unkind to a friend and they don’t want to play with you anymore – that is a natural consequence, if you are running in the hall and fall down, that is a natural consequence.) The “catch”, however, is there should always be a conversation attached to this type of consequence, so your kiddo is better able to understand the reasoning and purpose behind it (learning, changing behavior, personal growth, accountability, etc.)
What if I want to know more?
If you have any questions about Bellview’s FYI/Referral procedure (or anything pertaining to the development, wellbeing, and success of your child), please feel free to contact our Child Development Specialist and School Counselor – Michelle Bolinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-482-1310 Ext. 4139.