I am a special education teacher’s aide. For 9 years, I worked at the elementary level and then was transferred to the middle school level. Unfortunately, the head of the special education department can transfer teacher aides & teaching assistants (and on rare occasion, teachers) to a different building within the district at any time (seniority only plays a role in the case of layoffs) and we’re powerless against that. I suffer from severe anxiety
issues, therefore change is very difficult for me. Fortunately, I found that for me, working with special needs middle school students is far less stressful than working with special needs elementary school students, which made for a smooth transition.
I suffer from depression as well as anxiety, but since being assigned to the middle school 3 years ago, those issues have decreased significantly (immensely more than they did
with medication & counseling). The transfer turned out to be a God send for me. I’ve found that working with the middle school students is a great fit for me! My mental health has improved tremendously and I’m happier now, than I’ve been in a long time. The transfer was a God send! It really helped pull me out of my depression and greatly enriched my life. I’ve built many strong relationships there... stronger than most of my other relationships. I feel that I finally found where I belong. My place of employment has become like a 2nd home to me and I actually look forward to going into work more than I look forward to my vacation days!
Since being transferred to the middle school, I had been assigned to work one on one with a young girl with multiple disabilities. I had built a very strong bond with her. This past late February, she passed away very unexpectedly. I was devastated and overwhelmed with grief. I don’t have any children of my own, so my students are especially dear to me... especially this young girl whom I worked so closely with, as she was like the daughter I never had. My colleagues were (and continue to be) extremely instrumental in helping cope with the heartache of losing her, which still freshly exists within me (I've been dreaming of her a lot lately too). I don’t how I’d be functioning without the support of my colleagues who knew/worked with her for the last 3 years of her life as I did.
Though I will not be transferred for the rest of this school year, I’m petrified of being transferred in the new school year. Being assigned to the middle school had a huge positive impact on my life. It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Moreover, several fond memories of my former student dwell within that building. I am now overwhelmed with anxiety about those things being taken from me. I can’t sleep, I’m shaky, I’m having trouble staying focused, my stomach is in knots, etc. I’m intensely fearful of falling back into that enduring, deep state of depression.
I know someone who isn’t able to work because of her social anxiety issues and is receiving financial help from the government because of that. I know someone else who was able to get out of jury duty because of her anxiety issues. So... my question is... Have you ever heard of people being legally released from certain obligations because of their mental health issues? If so, do you think that it’s possible for me to obtain legal documentation that will prevent the head of the special education dept. from transferring me to a different building within the district due to my severe anxiety/depression issues, in order to prevent them from worsening?