Even though we tried two private schools, there is another that we are looking at now. It is a very small, secular private school. The 5th and 6th grades are combined and have a total of 10 kids. The rest of the school is like that. They advertise themselves as being a school for both the academically gifted and the academically challenged, as well as the average kid. Their application includes request for previous IEP information, so they obviously are familiar with the special needs kid. Whether they could handle a bipolar child, we don't know. We went to see the school and met the principal and some teachers, but the big interview and entrance testing is next week. Caroline always does better in small classrooms having a very controlled environment, which is why we may give this a go (if she gets in). Our big fears about putting her in the public middle school ED class, although small, is that we are guessing she would not like being in a classroom with other "emotionally disturbed" kids because she is quickly upset and distracted by excess noise, outbursts, etc. Her behavior in class at the public school last year was great, so we know she can handle a mainstream classroom, but we don't know if the shock of going from homeschooling to hundreds of kids would be too much, with all of her social fears.
This is so hard, having to guess what might work. We know we have to be in the right district in case this private school thing doesn't pan out, but I hate to see her asked to leave another private school because of an indiscretion on her part. Public schools can't kick you out for being bipolar--they can only expell you if you bring a weapon to school, or sell/do drugs, which we hope would never be the case with her. She doesn't lash out at other kids physically--she just gets mad and yells, maybe stomps out of the classroom, but seldom.
I hate that ED label, and we have tried to avoid it. Why can't they call it "emotionally challenged." ED sounds so harsh. Who wants to be labeled ED, when as an adult they would simply be called manic-depressive, or having a mental illness, something less condemning. Life is just not fair to these kids. But who said life was supposed to be fair, I know, but I still want it to be.