BEYOND FRUSTRATED WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ohio, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Ohio

    Ohio New Member

    I requested an MFE for my difficult child. I wanted to determine whether or not he has a disability. The school refused to provide my son with an MFE, because they do not suspect a disability. Now, the school treats me like a social pariah. I have the distinct feeling that I am not welcome in the school, because I am referred to the principal for a meeting when I enter the building. The teacher refuses to face me, or communicate, and has even acted rudely towards me. I am not even going to go there, but I have a feeling the principal has advised her not to speak with me. I told the prinicpal that if the teacher will not communicate with us, then I want my difficult child to be assigned another teacher. I asked her what the process of class reassignment is, and she will not address my questions. She keeps talking about setting up a meeting. I don't understand why she can't just tell me what the process is, or send me an e-mail. My husband, and I, are both working professionals and do not have the time to meet with her all of the time. Get this, I was in a meeting with the principal, and she wanted to set up another meeting to address my concerns. I don't mind meeting with the woman, if something would be resolved; however, she just keeps trying to manipulate us, evade our questions, and so forth.

    by the way, to the school, it doesn't matter if he has an official diagnosis. If they think he is OK, then he doesn't need testing. The school board has the same philosophy, and a due process hearing is a waste of time. In the meantime, I am no longer able to participate in my difficult child's educational experiences, because I am unwanted in the school. Any advice?
     
  2. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Find a good lawyer who specializes in this area. That is what I had to do. I put it off a year, and now wish I'd taken this advice from the very beginning. Sorry you're going through this, and I hope it gets better. by the way, having the lawyer on my side I got EVERYTHING I wanted for my son, and more.
     
  3. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I say...pull out all the stops. I, too, found that letting it go only puts difficult children in danger of not getting the education they need. We ended up not having to have a lawyer, but we had to be rather ugly and a wee bit threatening to get what was due our child.

    Be a warrior mom!!!!!!
     
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I would start with the Administration office. My difficult child's elementary school was pulling similar - but not as extreme - things with me. When I contacted the Student Services Director in the Admin office, it got things turned around.

    Of course, it also helped that they were putting 2 levies on the ballot and were wanting to make nice with everyone to get the votes.

    Another time, my daughter had been injured one morning in school and they wouldn't call me. Everytime she went to the office, they told her to go back to class. They finally called me around 1pm - she had been injured around 8:30. Turns out she had a concussion. That also scared them a bit - cause they had one :censored2: off mom to deal with.

    ETA: I would post this also on the SpEd Board and get Martie and Sheila's advice.
     
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    First off, definitely post over in the Special Education 101 forum. I don't believe an school district can just flat out refuse to do an initial evaluation (I'm assuming that's what an MFE is - different states have different terms). At the very *least* they must notify you in writing, advise you of your rights, and I think (but am not positive) that if they *do* refuse an evaluation *they* are the ones that must request due process, but I could be wrong on that one. You've provided them with a diagnosis, they are aware now. How can they say he doesn't have a disability, with that information, if they don't evaluate? If you didn't send this request in writing, do it now, certified. Let them refuse you in writing.

    Is your son getting any services in school related to speech? I'm really surprised that with a diagnosis of developmental delay (which is kind of a catch all with younger kiddos, in my experience), they refused. Hopefully it's simply a case of them hoping you don't know what you're doing. Aren't they in for a surprise!

    I would make sure that all future communication with the school takes place in writing, sent certified mail. If you get caught in a phone conversation (it happens), then document it immediately and send it to the person involved in the conversation as a "letter of understanding" to document what was said. If they disagree, they can respond *in writing*. Unfortunately it sounds like you may need a paper trail.

    As far as communication with the teacher, since you're not getting any, I would request (again, certified mail) the written district policy on communication with teachers and complaint resolution as well as the chain of command. In the meantime, keep your cool (I know it can be hard sometimes), keep trying, and document your efforts.

    If you want to stick with a class reassignment request, send it in writing to principal, certified.

    As far as feeling like a pariah and not feeling welcome... warrior moms have armor for a reason. :warrior: You're not involved in the school to make friends. You're there to make sure your son receives an appropriate education. Absolutely, it can be intimidating but remember why you're there. In my early days of dealing with Special Education and other school issues, I seriously used to take a picture of whichever kid it was I was working on at the time to the meetings. That way, no matter how outnumbered or intimidated I felt, I could keep my eye on the ball.
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree about posting this on Special Education. Sounds like you are getting the right royal runaround treatment.

    For future reference, brush up on meeting procedure. If you are in a meeting with someone and they request a meeting with you, you reply to them with, "We are meeting now. Please address this now or give me a reason why you cannot."

    It is possible that the principal wanted to refer the matter to a subsequent meeting because he needed to get information he did not currently have, to answer your question/resolve the issue. But if nothing else, he should use the time while you are there with him, to gather your side of the story and hopefully speed up the information gathering process. For example, you are talking with the principal about the circumstances surrounding your child's injury. The principal, quite rightly in most cases, needs to get more than just your side of the story before he rules that there is a problem. After all, most times the parents' side of the story is based on what the child has told them. In order to be fair, the principal needs to interview others so he can get a more balanced perspective (which may thoroughly support the child's story, or it may not). The principal then is in a better position to make an informed decision.

    But even if this is what he is doing, he still should take all the details from you, so he knows what questions to ask other people.

    As for the teacher refusing to communicate with you - this is just unworkable. If this can't be fixed then the child should be moved.

    As for not being permitted at school functions where parents are generally welcome - I would be getting legal advice, because this sort of thing could only happen if you have a reputation as someone undesirable in some way, to be present at the school. You need this sorted out legally, so you can either clear your name or resolve whatever the issue is.

    If the problems is merely you asking for your child to be assessed, then something is wrong somewhere. If you maybe got a little heated in your firm request, and the school staff have chosen to view your behaviour as threatening (and you felt it was not) this would need a qualified third person to sort out (hence - legal representation, again).

    Also be aware - it costs the education system to assess a child and it also costs them to have to put measures in place. A child who is gifted and learning disabled needs help at both ends of the learning spectrum - a double cost. A deliberately hamfisted assessment would average out the sub-scores and declare such a child to not need any help - "she's doing fine in some subjects, better than you would expect for a child with only an average IQ; she's not hampered in any way nor is she gifted, as you thought."
    Such assessments seem to be common in our Aussie system and from what I read, also in some of your education systems in the US.

    At the risk of offending people by using an evolution metaphor, assessing this way by education systems is selected for positively; it is more successful within the system, such assessors are rewarded by the system with more success professionally. The corollary of this, is that parents who complain about this and who can be effectively silenced, are selected against. We are sent into oblivion where they can get away with it, because we are challenging them on their turf. You need to recruit another, stronger species (a lawyer) in a symbiotic relationship, to help increase your chance of educational success.
    Just be careful - some symbiotic relationships can easily turn parasitic!

    Marg
     
  7. Ohio

    Ohio New Member

    I am reposting in the Special Education. section, and I will be including a new post.
     
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