Are ALL schools this way?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Along with other stressors that I wonh't get into yet, I went to difficult child's first IEP at this mainstream high school today. This is in the same school district as he was in before but he's never been in mainstream high school before. First, we had this meeting within 2 days of his 30 day requirement from enrollment. Now they told me they would invite 2 people from the Department of Juvenile Justice school because these people had offered and I requested it. Not only did they not send a notice of the meeting to anyone, they provided it to me at the meeting today with a date of 9 days ago on it, and it doesn't even list these other two people from the other school. Then, she took it upon herself to eliminate all but 2 of the accommodations that had been listed in the IEP difficult child came in with, saying they were "middle school-ish". She says difficult child is to tell her what he wants as a transition plan and I have nothing to do with that at all. (I realize he gets a lot of input in this but I should be there to make sure he's not coerced and have some input, too, correct??) The only thing she wanted listed as a goal was self-monitoring behavior and she wanted difficult child to carry a checklist to every class and mark off daily whether or not he went to class on time, finished his homework, stayed on task, etc. I told her there was no way that was going to fly. Then she told me we were within 2 days of the deadline so I needed to sign it. I told her I'd be happy to sign an extension. She told me she didn't have an extension form printed out. I told her we needed to make some changes, she typed like she was typing them in the computer. She told me to take the first IEP form hoome and sign it and return it by Friday, THEN she would print me a copy with today's changes and difficult child's transition goals added. She didn't even print out what she changed today for me. Now, what gets me about this is that ALL school's difficult child has been in have gone through this exact same scenario almost like it's a written transcript thinking I'm going to sign whatever IEP they already have ready to hand to me. Also, she had the package from the Department of Juvenile Justice school district and hadn't even read their recommendations until I pushed that point and she read them at todays's meeting and said some were therapist issues and they were a mainstream high school, not a therapist. So I asked if difficult child had been sent out of class for behavior problems since being there or if ANY teacher had a complaint about his behavior in class and she said no. And his grades are good and he came in there with good grades.

    Do all school district's try this with parents or is it just a standard method in this school district?

    Oh- and the general ed teacher- she wasn't even one of difficult child's teachers so she was permitted to leave after 5 mins.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Well, I've never had an IEP kiddo in mainstream HS so.. I don't know.

    Guess it really depends on how much trouble you want to borrow. What accommodations do you think he needs for HS? Does the proposed IEP meet them?

    As far as transition goals, sounds about par for the course. My oldest's goal is to live independently. Excuse me while I howl with- laughter - he's a nonverbal quadriplegic, living in a state that provides no supportive services for the severely disabled unless they're living in institutions. And thank you's transition goals were to go to college. Transition goals have zip to do with- reality and they *are* based on the student's desires, although I think since it's part of the IEP it's supposed to at least involve the parent. To be honest, I quit caring about IEPs once my kids hit HS because they are, in my experience, not worth the paper they're written on.

    If you feel like slaying a dragon, you could contest this. You didn't receive 10 day notice of the mtg. People who the school district agreed to invite, weren't. No *team* determined what would be on the IEP, it was unilateral decisions made by school district. And so sorry that there's only 2 days left to comply with- the 30-day rule, but... sounds like an administrative problem within the school district. You'd be happy to attend a real IEP mtg, with appropriate staff from various agencies, once you've received your 10-day notice. And you'd be happy to sign the completed new IEP once you've had a chance to review it.

    in my humble opinion - if you think difficult child can succeed with- what they've done, I wouldn't fight this.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This is exactly what I will do, just like I've done with the three other schools time and time again until they figured out that I wasn't there just to sign whatever IEP they had written and printed out and put in my face. I just can't believe they all have tried this, saying the same excuses for each issue- you have to saign because the deadline is here, all he has is a behavior problem, we don't give that type of accommodation, I'll give you a written ciopy with changes AFTER you sign it. Yeah sure you will and NO I won't sign this.

    And he's going for the advanced diploma - she has him listed for standard. He's taking biology but she has him listed to take the standardized test for earth science.
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    is he already 18? (then yea, your difficult child has way more imput than you do, sigh)

    but i wouldnt sign anything. they would be lucky they got me to sign that i "attended" such a debacle.

    while sue's points are very valid, an IEP still is a legal document, and by law, has to be implemented....i've never heard of he's "just a behavior problem"...if he needs services, he needs them. and quite frankly, if he has an IEP and not a 504, he must need something.

    first you need some goals, advanced college track or not. (any behavior can most certainly impact education, so thats baloney that he's just a "behavior problem"), and then you need to identify modifications and accomodations that your difficult child needs (small group testing, extra testing time, whatever it is you are fighting for) and the related services he needs to accomplish such (inschool counselling, peer group counselling, or whatever). and to comment on lets remove these because they are "middle school goals"....well, thats flat out absurd. has your difficult child accomplished such goals? (and if not, the school has some responsibility in that!).....i'm going out on a limb to guess some of these were organizationally related, but if your difficult child hasnt mastered it, then its still an appropriate goal....quite frankly, some of those organization goals *should* be a big focus for any difficult child, of any kinda need to have some organizational skills to manage life.

    your school district violated federal law six ways to sunday....i'd suggest you hightail it over to a spEd forum (there's one here isnt there?) with people who are good with the very specifics of law and pick their brain...for starters, prior written notice does not mean a paper with an incorrect date on it :)

    you may choose not to fight, and thats your right. in fact, i hear both of you loud and clear--i'm tired too--my husband constantly marvels at the literal incompetence i deal with in the school district on a regular basis. but you *do* want to help your difficult child, even if he doesnt want it. and if he's college bound, an IEP can make it easier to get accomodations for things like the SAT testing (if he needs it) and be helpful to pass on to his colleges office of disabilities to make it easier to get any other modifications/accomodations he needs there.

    (transition goals, like sue points out, arent always reality based, even though good ones should be, and as budgets change and services are cut it can be very difficult to do an realistic planning for life after grad/21....but they too can still be useful if done correctly, and if one of your difficult child's goals are to attend college, somewhere in the breakdown should be what he needs to do, what the school needs to do, and what services are needed to accomplish that goal---it can be enlightening to see what that path looks like, even for your difficult child. and it just might identify some untapped resource to get to that ivy league school..maybe your voc rehab can provide a service--and i dont mean teaching him some random skill like barbering or food service, LOL, maybe there is an agency that can find your difficult child a mentor thats an alumni from his college of choice---ok, lousy examples, but i just cant think of a great one now!. in YOUR case, i'd put money on the fact YOUR difficult child might have some interesting insights on what he needs to get to where he wants, and i think i'd really listen to what he has to say, and consider what the school district can do to help him make it happen)

    but i'm not convinced that letting your school district off the hook *now* is a great idea---take what you can from them while he's still a gets a lot harder to fill their needs after they graduate!
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He's 15 and was in middle school in this school district before going to Department of Juvenile Justice last year but went into high school while there so now that he's released, he's in a mainstream high school. She had removed accommodations, not goals, listed in his previous IEP (he's been on one for 4 years now) because she said they were middle schoolish. The only goal she had was self-monitoring behavior and it was to be monitored by making him carry and complete that checklist every day for the next year to get him to a point where he everything he wasa supposed to do, included completing the checklist, 100% of the time. That was it. The two accommodations she left in were sitting in close proximity to teacher and breaks to seee a designated person when stressed. I was surprised after I saw everything else that she even left that part in. She says we need to do a FBA and there WILL be a behavior contract. That's when I asked if he's had any complaints about him from teachers and she said no- he's behaving fine in class. Never mind about the anxiety and perfectionism- they are therapist issues. Well, they effect performance in school and if/when they aren't dealt with appropriately thru his IEP, they turn into behavior problems.

    I know they violated- that was my issue- every time he starts in a new school the people try this and I was wondering if it's typical or just this area we're located- our school district and even our state.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    These things seem to be par for the course in many many school district's across the country. It is wrong. It is illegal. It is hurting kids. But it saves $$ and effort on the school's part cause for every warrior mom like us there are a whole bunch of parents who just don't have a clue and don't want to make waves or don't care. When Wiz was in 5th grade I brought in something for each class party, for his birthday I made a cake, etc... just like I did for other years. The teacher had 8 years of teaching sp ed and I was the FIRST parent who brought a cake in for her child's birthday. I just wanted to cry for all the kids with no birthday cakes. This teacher spent her own money on cake and a nice present for each child on their birthday cause often they didn't get either at home.

    Parents who know their rights and are willing to fight for their kids are rare. Involved parents are infinitely more rare in high school, esp iwth kids like ours. Often parents are burned out or have been so abused by their child that they refuse to do IEPs etc....

    So schools get VERY lax and careless and decide what they will and won't do based on convenience and NOT on the law. I also recommend going to the sp ed forum and getting all the pointers you can.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'll try what has worked in the past- I refuse to sign until WE develop an IEP TOGETHER and they don't just pick the things from difficult child's record and evaluation's that leads to an IEP that is convenient for them and if they buck that approach, we can have another meeting and call in higher ups from the school district. So far they have all figured out after a while that it is more inconvenient and a bbigger PITA to have IEP meetings with me and higher ups from the school district continuously than it is to hammer out one that addresses difficult child's needs.
  8. jal

    jal Member


    I'm sorry this is one more thing for you to have to worry about.

    We personally have never been asked to sign an IEP. Once we set a verbal date with the school district for the next meeting we always receive a letter with-the date of the meeting and a guide book with-our rights. We have an IEP on Monday and I received a lovely letter thanking us from the Dir. of Pupil Services with another copy of our current IEP and the changes made last time in preparation for this meeting. (I also was given a copy of the IEP after the last meeting - mailed). My son currently is not mainstream due to his educational placement, but even so this is handled by the school district that covers mainstream and even when he was mainstream we always got documentation way ahead of time (also with-a pamphlet of our rights). Like I said we have NEVER, EVER been asked to sign an IEP.

    We live in an area that I think is lucky to have a smaller teacher to student ratio and (I think) a smaller group of kids that need special assistance/IEP's. I think that has made a huge difference. If I was in a larger area I would have probably had to fight like h#ll for the accommodations my son receives. It was a bit tough cracking the ceiling to get in (we started before K), but once we did, we've been so fortunate to receive nothing but the best of services and cooperation. Also, I think we were lucky to get in before the financial crisis hit. If we didn't - I don't know that he'd have access to what he has.

    I really think here I am in the minority for people that have had positive experiences with their school district's.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  9. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    My difficult child is only 7, so I don't have any HS experience, but this was our experience with difficult child's first IEP. The first school district person we dealt with acted like we were criminals for knowing our rights and demanding that proper procedures be followed. I remember that in one of the books I read about IEPs, there was a list of passive aggressive behaviors to watch for in school district representatives. Our school district person managed to deploy nearly all of the tactics on the list..."I just can't believe you think that is necessary...I've never had anyone ask for that before...I don't know why you think this isn't legal..." She was awful. husband and I fought back and we now have a great IEP (It helps that husband is an attorney).

    I think you should fight this. If you go along with it now, what happens if you need changes later??? I think it is better to set yourself up now as a warrior mom who won't take it from the school district.

    My blood boils every time I hear a story like this.
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I guess I am fortunate because my IEP experiences have all been good - there have been issues, but they have been resolved.

    k, the deadline issue is theirs, not yours. Don't sign anything. One issue I believe is important for parents as they go into an IEP meeting is to research first. I use the wrightslaw website as well as ldonline to look up accoms and mods prior to the meeting. I bring a list of things I believe will be beneficial and I type everything up I wish to discuss (and bring an extra copy to provide to the team chair) and request my notes are made part of the meeting notes. That way my concerns are always listed whether we change them or keep them.

    There were definitely some things that were removed from difficult child's last IEP since it was written to be used in high school. There are certain things, like some testing mods for example, that are not allowed in high school in our state. So often an IEP is changed once the student transitions to middle or high school. Additionally, by 14 a transition plan must be started according to law. difficult child was also invited to attend part of our last IEP meeting for the first time. It is a good thing for them to begin attending in middle school because eventually they will be their own advocate and understanding what is going on takes time.

    I think you got caught in the "oh, we have to get this done quickly" trap and they thought they could just get it done. Insofar as the advanced diploma goes, how would the team know he was going for it? Had he spoken with his guidance counselor about it previously?

    You do exactly what you are talking about and request a REAL IEP meeting!

    Been a few days since we heard from you and was wondering how things were going on the home front.

  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Sharon and all. Things are up in the air on the homefront- I'll update that part more within a few days. I think you are exactly right about them trying to hurry and throw something together to meet a deadline- the CM at school said she'd been out since the middle of last week and the week before that, they were out for spring break. As far as the advanced diploma- they all knew it- it was in difficult child's file from the Department of Juvenile Justice school district and it was brought up and noted by this current principal at the hearing we had to go to for difficult child to be accepted back into this school district and placement determined and the principal said he qualified. (He might not actually get thru it but if he wants it and it motivates him and he qualifies, he should have the opportunity just like anyone else.) . Also, the CM had another meeting with difficult child and me and some person who would be at the new high school currently under construction that he should attend next year, unless he chooses to stay in JROTC. So bascily, this CM dropped the ball and tried to throw something together and since difficult child is currently in trouble, she thought she could keep it all focused on a behavior problem. However, I don't think that can fly with me- especially with the documentation that there are other things going on with him and NO teachers have complained about his behavior in class and him having squat for a transition plan. And- I made it clear to them today that this wasn't about difficult child not being held accountable for what he does wrong or not being punished- but the IEP isn't there to be a punishment- it is there to help him and support him and assist in the areas that he needs to learn more in. She just blew me away with the stupid idea that difficult child's only goal would be maintaining a chart for himself that he arrived at class on time, stayed on task, and did his homework 100% of the time, then looked at the administrator- who was the only person there besides me and said "that's all I could think of". Well, I can think of more.
  12. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    with all the talk the last few months of your difficult child coming home, I've lost focus as to what difficult child's diagnosis's are.

    As I was reading your reply above and the CM's thought to the IEP purpose vs your thought of his IEP purpose, I realize that I don't' remember why difficult child has an IEP. Does he have any lds? Has his IEP always been more behavior generated? How is he classified for qualification?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I honestly don't remember......chalk it up to female midlife issues - don't like that "m" word!