Can school retain student being evaluated for special services?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by marianna37, May 28, 2008.

  1. marianna37

    marianna37 marianna37

    My son is currently an eighth grade student. He is Bipolar I, ADHD, Conduct Disorder and Diabetic. He is in the process of being evaluated for special services as requested by myself. The district has till July 6th to finish evaluation. I believe, however, they are getting it done this week. Matthew was arrested at school last Wednesday for possession of marajuana and is being detained for two weeks in the juvenile detention center. We go to court on June 5th. Today the school called and wanted to set up a meeting to discuss our "options" for next school year. They said Matthew failed his TAKS tests. He is currently not even enrolled at the school because they made me withdraw him. The first 3 weeks of the new school year he has to attend the alternative school site according to the Assistant Principal. I just feel that they are wanting to retain him in 8th grade and that this is an improper decision on their part. Oh, also Matthew missed a huge amount of school due to his diabetes and BiPolar (BP) this year. They considered him truant and he was put in a truancy program with probation for 3 months. He did skip school on some days (probably about 5-7 days) but mostly out for health reasons.
    Is it appropriate for Matt to be retained? I don't feel this will benefit him and will only further diminish his motivation to attend school.

    Kind Regards,
    Marianna
     
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If he qualifies for an IEP, the team will make that decision. It sounds like the school is railroading you.

    If you could clarify a few things it would be easier to give suggestions:

    1. Why did the school have you withdraw him?
    2. When did you inform the school that he had diabetes? BiPolar (BP)/conduct disorder?
    3. Who put him in the truancy program? the school or a court?
    4. How did this year's TAKS scores compare to last years?
    5. Is this a unified district or will be change to a high school district if he moves to 9th grade?
     
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't think I would comply with this- at least right now. My guess is that they are really looking for a different placement and taking these steps to "motivate" you. I would tell them that I couldn't make any decision until after the evaluations are finished. Really- how can they or anyone determine what is in the best interest of this kid before they finish evaluating everything? It may be that he has needed Special Education services for some time and I think (not positive) that the school holds some responsibility if there were red flags and they never even suggested an evaluation for "at-risk" or Special Education needs.
     
  4. marianna37

    marianna37 marianna37

    Hi. To try and answer questions...
    1. I think for him to attend the DAEP school or those days would be absences.
    2. They have had copies of his diagnoses on file for one year.
    3. The court put him in the truancy program after the school filed on us.
    4. This years scores were much worse than last years but I haven't seen them yet. That was the impression I got from the teacher I spoke with on the phone today.
    5. This is all one district.

    I sent an email today to the principal and diagnostician letting them know that I would be declining a meeting until the test results and reports are written and I have had a chance to review them. The more I think about it the more I feel like they were trying to pull something "slick" on me and catch me off guard.

    Anyway, thank you for your reply and any suggestions.

    Kind Regards,
    Marianna
     
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OOK, then I would shoot off some correspondence to the director of Special Education for the district. Sheila and Marite might have better input for this- but that is what I would do. There is clearly a problem- hang in there. Others here can help more than me.
     
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Hello,

    Basically, your school district is violating the law and your difficult child's rights. You need to self-educate very quickly in my opinion to stop this from happening.

    Here is the Getting started thread form the Archives of Special Education on this board. I just checked the links and they work.

    http://www.conductdisorders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=456

    In sending any letter to your school district you should send it by certified mail. You also need to set up a very good filing system to "build your paper trail."

    There is a wealth of information in the Archives and most of the titles are self explanatory.

    I know this seems like a daunting task, but if you do not advocate for your difficult child, who will?

    Martie
     
  7. TheOnlyMe

    TheOnlyMe Relentless Warrior Mom

    BIG HUGS 2 U today {{{{{{{{{{Marianna37}}}}}}}}}}}} as you go to get your son!!!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers and everything happens for a reason and I hope that atty does his JOB!!!
     
  8. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    Living in Texas, you know that the state passed a law, which went into effect this year, stating that students must pass both their 8th grade reading and math TAKS to be promoted to 9th grade. Did your son pass both of these tests? He can still be promoted, if he failed the science and history, but he must pass the math and reading. In addition, he must attend school for a certain amount of days per semester to receive credit for his courses. Because he has been labeled truant, I doubt he attended the required amount of time, even before you withdrew him from school. Students in the state of Texas can attend summer school for classes with excessive absences, but he can only attend one summer school class, so if he is missing credits across the curriculum, he will be unable to make up those credits. Was he failing his required classes (English, math, history, science), as well? If he was failing as well, then you have no grounds for promotion. He has failed to meet promotion standards in three regards--TAKS, attendance, and grades. When you take all of this into account, along with his drug possession, you are in a very serious situation, and I strongly, very strongly, advise that you hire an advocate to navigate all of this. I live in the Houston area, and I recommend that you contact J***** Kilpatrick because he's been an advocate forever. He is familiar with all the districts in this area and the law firms representing the districts. He also is a wonderful resource for outside evaluations because he's familiar with all the top evaluators in the area. For a situation as serious as yours, you need someone like Jimmy to help you. I will warn you, however, that he's tough, really tough, not only with schools but with parents, too. He's probably going to want to know exactly what you have done to get your child to school and exactly why your child has missed so many days of school.
     
  9. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    I was thinking about your situation last night, when a friend of my son's, who is attending summer school (he's in eighth grade, as your son is), said that students could take four classes in summer school. I thought to myself, hmm, don't think so. I went to my son's school website and checked, and it says that a student can take two classes. Also, I read that there was a TAKS Camp to help students who had failed the TAKS, which led my mind in another direction and made me wonder about something you stated in your post. You said the school would not share the TAKS scores with you. I don't know why that didn't strike me as odd before. You should have received the results quite quickly, so your son could prepare to re-take the tests. He's given three opportunities to pass both the reading and math TAKS. If he failed either of those tests, he should be in TAKS prep courses to help him pass his retakes. Was this option ever given to him? Did his withdrawing from school and/or being busted keep him from being able to attend the prep courses and take the retakes?
     
  10. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    O.K. I did a quick search. Your son still has the opportunity to re-take both the math and reading tests. The third re-take for 8th grade reading is 7/2 and the third re-take for 8th grade math is 7/1. He should be able to attend TAKS prep courses in June, so he can prepare himself for the tests. Your initial need for an advocate may be to call one, such as Jimmy, and figure out how to get your son into the prep classes, considering he's been sent to alternative school. Also, I would think the alternative school he is attending in the fall would have to have TAKS prep courses? You need to try and find this out right away because in my son's district, TAKS prep starts next week, on Wednesday, I believe.
     
  11. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    My difficult child is in a social development class...will be in 7th next year. He has been taking a modified TAKS called TEKS. I don't like the TAKS anyway....what a waste, but it is what it is for now. He missed one day of school this year, he goes to therapy and takes medications, his grades are ALL A's and B's.....but he's failed the TEKS over and over. He just cannot take tests...cannot focus, period. He's been promoted anyway. Those TAKS are NOT the be all, end all. But it takes a fight in his ARD meeting with his IEP. We also live in the Houston area.

    All I can say is.....FIGHT! (It's never-ending.)
     
  12. marianna37

    marianna37 marianna37

    Hi. At this point we have absolutely nothing to lose so Matt will work through some on line curriculum for math and language arts this summer. He can take the Taks Math on July 2. Hopefully the district will accept his work and admit him to 9th grade in the fall. Otherwise he will either have to attend 8th grade again or do school at home. He has zero motivation to be in school and if he will do the required work online with a good attitude then we will proceed to do that and he can rejoin his friends for 10th grade. He has several friends who do their work online for a variety of reasons. I'm not sure he will actually put the work in but I want to give him the chance to try. I know we cannot go through another school year like this past one.
     
  13. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    Reading your post, it sounds to me like Matt failed both 8th grade language arts and math, failed the 8th grade math TAKS, and passed the 8th grade language arts TAKS? If this is correct, I am concerned about his failing both 8th grade math and the 8th grade math TAKS. It sounds to me like he may be seriously behind in math, so doing the on-line curriculum could be quite challenging and frustrating to him, unless he has some support from a tutor or a parent.

    Did he soundly pass the reading TAKS? Anytime I hear that a child has failed the math TAKS, I want to know how well the child reads because the entire math TAKS is word problems. If a child has difficulty reading, then that, of course, will impair the child's ability to pass the test. Because Matt will be doing on-line classes, it is very important that he can read well.
     
  14. marianna37

    marianna37 marianna37

    Hi, Matt reads exceptionally well. He is always in the 98th percentile and is commended on that. He started out in pre ap algebra I this year and was lost from the get go. He missed 2 months during his pysch hospital stay, many days from sickness, and a few days from truancy. We did move him to level algebra but didn't see improvement. The online curriculum has extensive tutoring videos to get more competency in the concepts presented. I think he would do all right if his motivation is there. Our biggest challenge right now is the "attitude" and the sense of entitlement. I'm also trying to step back more and not be a "helicopter mom". I want him to feel ownership of his issues and to develop inner resources and competency of his own. My advocate has been an invaluable source of information and support as we began the process of having Matt evaluated for Special Education. She has been awesome! If it wasn't for her I would still be trying to be "nice" and letting the school tell me what they would and would not do. ("Oh, we don't offer anything for Bipolar or Adhd children. Oh, he is so smart and capable of doing the work. Oh, he has conduct disorder so we don't have to serve him...")
     
  15. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    General education level math for eighth grade is pre-algebra, so all an eighth-grade student has to know to pass the math TAKS is pre-algebra. In order for your son to be in algebra in the eighth grade, he has to have taken pre-algebra in the seventh grade, meaning he's considered to be in advanced math, by taking algebra in eighth. Because he was accepted into pre-AP algebra, he should have done very well in pre-algebra in seventh. At my son's school, he would have had to have made commended performance on his seventh-grade math TAKS AND made an A in pre-algebra in seventh grade, in order to be placed in pre-AP algebra in eighth. Did your son do this well in math in seventh grade? If so, it sounds to me like he just choked on the math TAKS or was depressed that day or wasn't feeling well...something. He should have been able to pass the math TAKS easily.
     
  16. marianna37

    marianna37 marianna37

    Actually in my post I said Algebra and I should have said pre algebra. The point of what I was saying wasn't to receive a lecture on how math works at your son's school. It was more about sharing how our family have experienced the special education process as being a very unfriendly place for parents of special needs children regardless of their diagnosis. This site was highly recommended to me by my advocate as a place for support and to gain knowledge from others experiences. We are not in a stable time right now and I was just trying to follow up on any avenue that might be helpful for our son. It is so difficult to decide what is the best thing for him (and for us also) for the next school year. I know we can't have another one like we just came through. So anyhow...

    Kind Regards

    Marianna37
     
  17. reallytrying

    reallytrying New Member

    I believe that once he qualifies, any decision has to be an ARD committee decision. You do not have to agree to something you aren't comfortable with. I am in Texas as well (and teach SpEd.) and the promotion or retaining of a student in SpEd. is not just the school's decision. There really are some protections and rights you are allowed once a student qualifies.

    Also, just because a student fails the TAKS, or classwork, it doesn't mean that he can't do the work--it may mean that he needs some accommodations like additional time to complete work, small group or individual administration of tests, frequent breaks, and so on). There is a TAKS-A (TAKS-Accommodated) that is on level, but has fewer questions, different font, and more space--just a "friendlier" version of the TAKS. I think TAKS stinks too--there is no "standard child".

    Once the diagnostician's report comes back, you should be able to read over it before the meeting. Also, I believe that your son may be allowed to work at home to avoid failing classwork if he is sick.

    Also, you can request counseling services from the school. Our district has school psychologists and behavior support people. We even have Behavior Support Classrooms for kids who have attendance and emotional issues. Hopefully he will qualify because there are so many protections offered--and be sure to read the "procedural safeguards" and any materials the school sends home--especially the time lines and any info on suspension of Sp. needs students, because it is different.
     
  18. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Hi marianna

    One thing you may need to know is that the second the school district received your request for evaluation for Special Education, the citation "Protections for Children Not Yet Eligible for Special Education" went into effect. It's a provision of IDEA protecting students behavior-wise. There's a thread about it in the Sp Ed Archives.

    There are 3 incidents that trumps this however. One pertains to drugs being at school. In these instances, the school district cannot expel a student but they can move them to an alternative education campus for up to 45 days.

    A good parent friendly website regarding sp ed is www.wrightslaw.com .

    It is true that failing the TAKS in 8th grade can retain a student. However, there is a caveat. A team can override the automatic retention. If you feel strongly that your child is capable of doing the work, I'd ask to be a member of the decision team.

    It's common that by the time parents find this forum, they've had less than pleasant experiences trying to get their child appropriate supports in school, so we can empathize with you.

    Welcome to the site.
     
  19. momtoagreatkid

    momtoagreatkid New Member

    "It is true that failing the TAKS in 8th grade can retain a student. However, there is a caveat. A team can override the automatic retention. If you feel strongly that your child is capable of doing the work, I'd ask to be a member of the decision team."

    Exactly. This is the reason I asked about his being placed in pre-AP and questioned his grades in class and on the TAKS last year. It was not to lecture you, but to help you come up with a counter-argument. I fought my son's school district like a dog to get him an IEP, and I've fought them like a dog since--for specialized instruction, AT, being able to use the AT in school and not just at home, etc. And one thing I've learned over the years is that being ready for the argument the school presents can be extraordinarily helpful. My advocate and I communicate extensively before IEP meetings, preparing arguments and counter-arguments. LOL! His transition to high school IEP meeting was four hours long, but I got most of what I wanted. Ugh! It was absolutely exhausting.

    Soooo...My reason for asking about the pre-AP placement was that I was thinking your counter-argument would be that your son completed the eighth-grade math curriculum in seventh grade and proved by his grades and his TAKS score last year that he understood the curriculum. Also, a large plummet in scores would prove how seriously his medical issues had effected him this year, which would strongly support his receiving an IEP.

    I mean, honestly, I can't believe the school is fighting with you about giving your son an IEP. And when you're dealing with unreasonable schools, as your son's appears to be, the arguments become endless. I'm really sorry that you and your son are going through this, but I'm very happy that the two of you have found a good advocate. That can make all the difference in the world. I won't walk into my son's school without my advocate with me. Sometimes, my advocate doesn't even say anything, and I do all the talking. Sometimes, she does all the talking, and I don't say anything. But the two of us together can usually come up with a solution, and when the school sees her, it is much less likely to try and pull the kind of things it initially did, when I was trying to get my son an IEP.

    Good luck. And, by the way, cyber summer school sounds cool! I don't think we have that in our district. My son has two friends in summer school, who are computer nuts, like he is, and they are going to the school to take their classes. I know both of them would much rather take cyber classes, so, if we had it, they most likely would be taking it! I think cyber school is a great option for teenagers.
     
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