Analyzing a Students Behavior

Ellie is 7-years-old and recently relocated to Boise, Idaho from Sacramento, California. Ellie was born in Sacramento and is the biological daughter of her parents, Sam and Diane. Ellie’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Jackson, is concerned. Since the beginning of
the academic year (late August), Ellie has exhibited behavior that has been concerning. It is now late May and school will soon be over for the summer break. Mrs. Jackson is relieved; she simply cannot take Ellie in class one more minute.
From the onset of the academic year, Ellie has been consistently hostile and argumentative. In fact, during the first week of class, Mrs. Jackson quickly discovered that Ellie will often lose her temper. During a reading lesson, Ellie refused to follow Mrs.
Jackson’s direction to refrain from talking to her table mates. Mrs. Jackson couldn’t believe her ears when, after asking Ellie to remain quiet, Ellie responded “I won’t and you can’t make me!” Ellie just continued to talk – as if Mrs. Jackson hadn’t said a word. When Mrs. Jackson, again, informed Ellie of her expectation, Ellie started shouting: “No, I WON’T be quiet!” and slammed her hand against the table.
The above behavior has quickly become the norm for Ellie. Over the last 8 months – multiple times a week – Ellie will refuse to follow the rules of the classroom and will lose her temper (verbally). Mrs. Jackson notes that Ellie is often verbally argumentative with peers and will easily become annoyed at the slightest provocation – again, multiple
times a week. One of Ellie’s peers, Clayton, has become the scapegoat for Ellie’s misbehavior. On one occasion, Mrs. Jackson turned her back to the class and Ellie, who constantly and purposely aggravates her peers, began to blow on the back of the neck of the student in front of her. When the student complained, Ellie reported that it was Clayton, not she, who was the aggressor. Ellie instigates this sort of thing at least daily (and has since the beginning of the academic year) – purposely annoy her peers and then blame someone else.
The fact that Ellie will constantly argue with Mrs. Jackson and defy all established rules has become increasingly problematic. In fact, the parents of other children have voiced concern that Ellie’s behavior is adversely impacting their child’s education and have requested that Ellie be removed from the classroom. There is concern that Ellie is falling behind in her own schoolwork. Ellie is a bright girl; she is naturally very intelligent, but Mrs. Jackson is concerned that her academic progress will be inhibited.
Mrs. Jackson genuinely cares for Ellie, but she is unsure what to do. Limit-setting doesn’t work and Ellie is often placed with a teacher’s aide in order to provide more structure. The aide, however, is spending more time with Ellie individually which takes her away from the other children whom she is also supposed to support.
Ellie’s parents have been called into several meetings with Mrs. Jackson and the school principal. Ellie’s parents insist that Ellie doesn’t act out at home – they have never seen any such behavior. They are good parents and they demonstrate much affection toward Ellie. There is no evidence of abuse or neglect. A review of past records indicates Ellie did not display the aforementioned behavior while in Sacramento. Ellie has a clean bill of physical health from her pediatrician.

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