I Could Spit Nails Right Now ***Updated AGAIN**

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Stella Johnson, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    I just got a letter from difficult child's school today. They are moving her sped class AGAIN. Letter says the school she is at will be at "capacity" with the regular ed students. So, when all else fails dump the sped students somewhere else.

    difficult child has had her class moved every year since Kindergarten she is now in 4th grade. Next year is her last year in elementary. She begged me just a few weeks ago not to let her get moved again from this school. She loves it there. She is even on student council. The kids accept her and dont' shun her like in the past.

    I called the Director of Sped just now. She explained the "capacity" crap. There are only 4 kids in her class and they are the only ones affected by this. :grrr: They can't spare room for 4 kids???????????????????????????????? :nonono:

    After I calm down I am going to write letters to the entire board, sped dept, and the school. I have had it up to my eyeballs with this crap.

    OK, guys give me all the ideas you have on what to put in the letter. I am also going to the next school board meeting. I am going to rip them a new one. :nonono:

  2. Loris

    Loris New Member

    Unfamiliar territory to me, so I hope someone can help. I don't blame you one little bit, this has to hard on both of you.
  3. Just keep swimming

    Just keep swimming New Member

    What is written in her IEP? Maybe a "no move unless it is an appropriate improvement move for difficult child allowed"!!

    I am steaming for you! It takes our kids long enough to transition and then they just move them, near the end of the year? Let one of the Reg Ed kids move, they would handle the disruption better than a difficult child ever could.

    Sorry, no great ideas this morning, had a MORNING myself!! UGH!!

  4. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I agree, what the frick!!! Talk about potential triggers!!! She is getting close to hormone time!!! probably bonding, feeling comfortable there... and they want to do this to the kids that need stability the most!!!


    Sending hugs and some extra strength!!! :warrior:

    I can't believe I have to deal with this cr@p soon!!!
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    If you can, and if all possible, get in touch with the parents of her classmates. There's more strength in numbers. Please, stay calm. Get their opinions too.

    Then, write the Principal and School Board. Get the sigs of all the parents I would accentuate the "pushing out, or aside" aspect.

    However, in th end, unless specifically forbidden by the law in your state, there is really not much more you can do.

    Fight the good fight.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Steph, sweetie - I wish you a lot of luck. I was astonishingly unsuccessful in stopping this cr*p with- Boo. I even filed a complaint with- OCR when his "class" was moved to an administration building - not a school, an administration building. How the heck you can have FAPE in LRE in an admin bldg is beyond me, but OCR in its infinite wisdom decided that this wasn't discrimination. Where, I ask, are the *non* sped kids that are being shuffled around like chess pieces? They're not. The only reason our kids are moved around is *because* they're disabled.

    My 18 year old senior is currently attending "school" in a junior high (yep, junior high) 20 miles away from our home, passing at least *5* high schools in the process, because this junior high was the only building in the south suburbs that had "space". Even the admin bldg kicked them out. His FAPE in LRE consists of getting bused to a HS on Mon morning for "library time", bused back to Jr. high for hygiene, then bused *back* to HS for lunch, then bused back to Jr high for the rest of the day. Whooppeee, one lunch a week with- high school students. Aren't we lucky??? I cannot figure out how this qualifies as anything more than a phenomenal waste of time but... at this point, I've completely given up. My son has a disability and is absolutely *forbidden* from attending anything remotely approaching an age appropriate school, apparently. I only have unkind thoughts that I think frequently about the state of sped in IL. :wink:

    by the way - the "reason" this garbage is allowed is really unbeatable if you're the school district. Placement isn't a place, its the program. So if the *program* moves from here to Timbuktu, that's actually not a change in placement. Based on how it works in IL, if the child breathes the same air as non sped students once a week, that's FAPE in LRE.

    I feel your anger and hope you are a better advocate for your kiddo than I've been for mine. Quite frankly, it bites!
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't understand the capacity thing. In our district kids are always in their home school unless behaviorally they need some alternative and that is almost never.

    I hope you are able to get them to listen. I remember when difficult child was in first grade and got his first IEP. They wanted to move his classroom. We said no way-downtown said yep he's moving. We wrote to the head of spec. ed and cc'd the superintendent. In the end we ended up with a meeting and he wasn't moved.
  8. Irene_J

    Irene_J New Member

    Hi--I'm upset right along with you. If your difficult child loves that school, there is a success right there. It's so hard to get our difficult children to transition or do anything new.

    Instead of just writing the school board, I would contact the special education department of your state's department of education. I found mine (New Jersey) incredibly helpful. Their agenda was to advance special education, not to cut back. They gave me strategies on how do deal with my particular school board. Go to your state's website and they will have the phone number, if you don't already have it.

    Let your school know you have contacted the Department of Education, Special Education. I didn't always succeed, but I achieved more victories than losses.

    Also, if your difficult child sees a therapist, have him/her write a letter about how disruptive this would be to your difficult child's progress.

    It's amazing to me how many times schools can be obstacles to our children's success. I had an adversarial relationship with my difficult child's CST until they learned I would come to each meeting knowing my rights and the facts (even if the facts were not in my difficult children favor). Finding a comfort level in school is a huge hurdle for some of our difficult children and changing this should not be taken lightly.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Steph, this is so sad for difficult child. You must be so disgusted in the school right now. How can they not get that the Special Education group is the least capable of the transition to another place.

    I hope someone listens to you.
  10. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Just Keep Swimming,
    I am going to try to have something written into her IEP. I'm sick of this all.

    She has already hit "hormone time". Aunt Flow came a few weeks ago. :slap:

    I am going to contact the other parents hopefull this week.

    It astonishes me the way they throw these kids around. I've had it up to my eyeballs now. They will wish I was working again... just means I have more time to give em ##$%. :biggrin:

    Here they have different programs in different schools. difficult child has only been at her home school one year since she was 5.

    good idea. I am going to contact the state as well.

  11. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Here is a copy of the letter I sent out. I sent it to a few Senators that have helped me in the past, the Texas Education Agency, two advocacy groups, the school board, the school board trustees, teachers, principals, and the news media. :smile:
    I bleeped out all identifying information.

    To Whom It May Concern,

    My name is Stephanie #$%^. My daughter, Sabrina currently attends #$%^ Elementary in *()_% ISD. She is part of the Functional Academics program which is part of the Special Education Department.

    Since Kindergarten my child’s school has changed EVERY single year due to the FISD moving her special education classes. Every year I hear the same excuse given that the school they are in is “at capacity”. So essentially, they are saying that the regular education students need more room and take priority over Special Education needs.

    The Special Education students are the one group of students that should have the most consistency and stability to be successful in the school careers. Yet ISD has never recognized this. Studies have proven over and over again that these kids need this. It isn’t just keeping the same teacher, but also it is having the same school, surroundings, and peers.

    The Special Education students in ##### are treated as second class citizens. Every time someone decides they need more room, they are moved to another campus. I am sure some regular education students have felt the growing pains of ISD but NONE of them have been moved every single year by the school district.

    I thought I would give everyone a little background on my daughter’s journey through the Special Education department.

    Sabrina started in Kindergarten at $$$$ Elementary. The staff there was completely unequipped to handle a child with special needs. The counselor there had no clue how to deal with special needs children and caused more rages and conduct problems. The principal, Martha &&&&&&, made things even worse. Her only answer to everything was to suspend my child. She was suspended 3 times and sent home for half days countless numbers of times just the first semester of Kindergarten.

    At that point I had an independent evaluation done at Children’s at my own cost since the school was not helping. She was tested for every learning disability, seizure disorder, autism etc. She was stabilized on medication there. When she was released from there after 3 weeks, she was put into the BAU.

    #######, a former BAU teacher, was the most amazing teacher for Sabrina. The only problem was that at that time the most convenient place for these small children to be was at the SOC. The SOC is the “Student Opportunity Center”. They were in the same building with teenagers that were on the verge of expulsion. While the teacher and the principal there were wonderful, this was no place for small children to be. But again, this was the most convenient place to put them for ####. No regard for what is appropriate for the children or least restrictive.

    Next, the BAU class was transferred her 1st grade year to %%%%. This was the same nightmare as it was when she was in Kindergarten and first started school. Mrs. &&&&& and her team made it quite clear that the BAU was not welcome in her school. I could write a novel on all the issues at this school.

    In 2nd grade her class was transferred to *****. At R**** my daughter did wonderfully. She was almost completely mainstreamed with all the supports in place and the wonderful staff there. At the last minute when the class was moving there, they needed another regular education room so the BAU was put into a storage room instead of a classroom. The room had one door and no windows. I was very unhappy when I saw this but since the staff was so accepting and supporting, I let it go even though once again, special education took a back seat to regular education children by taking their classroom. How many regular education classrooms are in storage closets in ISD? I have a feeling that none of them are.

    I tried to fight the move from $$$$$ at the end of her 2nd grade year but $$$$$$ made it very clear that no one would listen and there was nothing I could do.

    In 3rd grade the BAU was moved to ***** Elementary. At ***** by the middle of the year they had students put into the class that were very aggressive and violent. My daughter came home terrified and in tears because of what she saw in her classroom. I opted to try the Functional Academics class. This meant another move to (((((((( Elementary to Mrs K's room.

    Mrs S was wonderful but &&&&& Elementary is completely incompetent when it comes to educating special children. My daughter was coming home with art projects every day. I thought it was strange that I never saw homework or work that was done in the classroom. It turned out that her regular education teacher had her sitting at the back of the room coloring and using construction paper all day long with no formal instruction at all. She never once read my daughter’s IEP. She “assumed” that she was in her class for socialization only. My daughter is NOT mentally retarded. When I asked her why she was in the back of the room, I was told it was because she had other students to attend to that needed attention. An emergency ARD was called and the problem was solved to the best of their ability. She moved her to the front of the class but never helped with Sabrina’s assignments. It is the regular education teacher’s duty to modify and give Sabrina her assignments for class. She never did this. &&&&& did all of this for her since she refused and commented that she didn’t know what to do.

    Now we are in her 4th grade year. Sabrina has flourished in ***** Elementary. The teachers are wonderful with Sabrina. At the beginning of the year the teachers explained that Sabrina has special issues and made her peers much more comfortable with her. Sabrina for the first time has regular education friends. Everyone is so accepting and supportive at *****. Sabrina was elected to Student Council this year and is also in Safety Patrol. Her social skills have improved greatly because of all the support and encouragement she has received at ******.

    I received a letter stating that ISD wants to move her once again this time to **** Elementary. While I have heard great things about ***** Elementary I do not think this is in the best interest of the students that are in the Functional Academics class. These kids need stability and consistency. ISD is NOT providing this by bouncing the children from school to school every year that they think the school is “at capacity”.

    I spoke with the Director of Special Education today. I spoke with her about my concerns and frustrations with this issue. She spoke with Mr. Wehmeyer and they are willing to look into accommodating Sabrina at &&&&& next year using the Resource room as her Special Education Support. For this, I am grateful but this isn’t just about staying at Corbell. This is an issue that &&&&&& ISD needs to address and be made aware of what they are doing to these special students.

    It astounds me that a district with so many resources can not find a permanent placement for these classrooms. Why are they always the first to go when it comes to rezoning or capacity issues? My daughter’s Functional Academics classroom only has 4 students in it currently. These 4 children take up so much room that &&&&& Elementary can’t possibly keep them? If this is a school construction problem, why hasn’t this been remedied? There have been several new schools built each year but they are built exactly the same. No thought is ever put into special education student placement until the school has a large number of children… and then it is always the same answer. Move the whole classroom.

    I have sent emails to the Superintendent in the past since I am told he is the one who makes the final decisions on this type of issue but have never received a response from him. I have received a few responses from other school trustees. Why is it that the final decision maker can not respond to this?

    I will be attending the next school board meeting. I am copying a friend at the Dallas Morning news and I will be sending this to NBC5.I also posted my concerns on the community message board. Below this letter I am copying some of the responses from other local residents about this issue. I am also contacting the parents of other Special Education students for their input as well. The Texas Education Agency will also be contacted since it is clear that ISD is in need of serious help in the Special Education Department and zoning issues. The continued disregard for the well being of children with special needs in this district need to be brought to light and a resolution needs to be found.

    Thank you,
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Stella, this is a really good letter. The only fault I can find with it is that it is too long. Where possible, you should keep your letter to a page or less, so it is easy to read (remember, education authorities collectively must be treated as if they are learning disabled and Special Needs - KISS principle).

    You could add her history of being moved around as a point-form appendix to your letter.

    However, in this case, I do think the extra information presented in this way is useful. Just prepare another version of this, with her history as an appendix, and the 'meat' of your letter in one page. Something like,

    "Dear sir or madam,
    I am writing to protest that my Special Needs daughter and her class are about to be moved YET AGAIN, on the alleged grounds of the school being "at capacity".
    She has been moved every year of her schooling so far, for this reason and other reasons due to the failure of the education system to adequately meet her needs. She is finally settled and happy and now we're told she is to be moved again, so close to the end of her school year? There are four students involved who will be affected; probably the four in the school who can LEAST cope with such a move.

    For your added information, I have attached a detailed history of the moves in her schooling to date, so you can see just how serious is this situation.

    Please reconsider this move. Or if students MUST move, please ensure that it is students MORE capable of making the move, not those who have already been seriously disadvantaged, on top of the bad hand of cards that life has already dealt them.

    I would like to meet with you and any other education personnel involved in this decision to explain my daughter's case further.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ms Johnson

    cc: [put in here who you want to also send copies to. Include your local congressman and anyone at the top of your education system, way above school district level. Basically, kick ar*e.]

    What you've already written is very good, but you need to send out more. And for people with less of an interest in your daughter's case, if it goes over the page they won't be bothered to read it. A good letter should begin by stating what you are annoyed about; WHY it is bothering you and what you want them to do. I always finish by asking for a face to face meeting on the topic because it makes them realise I'm not just another letter writer, I'm someone who's rolling up my sleeves and getting on with the job.
    And the cc at the end - when they know who else is getting a copy of this letter they also know how much stirring you're prepared to do/have already done.
    Your letter does meet those criteria I listed, apart from the length.

    And I'm like you in that respect also - it's easy to plan a short letter for someone else, but I tend to write long letters too!

    Good luck. I sure hope you get results - the kids in your school district will thank you.

  13. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Thanks Margeurite,
    Great advice. It is hard to keep it short when you have been through this for sooooo long. But you are right. I do need a condensed version. :smile:

  14. Just keep swimming

    Just keep swimming New Member

    Good for you Steph! I think you did a great job. I pray that this will open the school district's and public's eyes with what is going on with the special needs programs.

    Hugs of luck,
  15. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to say that, even though the letter contains a lot of correct information, there seems to also be a slant of mentioning names from the past that have done things wrong. I think all that should be left out.

    My opinion would be to make the letter a few paragraphs (fitting on one page) that stress how many times your daughter has been moved and how important stabilty is to those with special needs. I do like the part about the closet though.

    Good job.

  16. AK0603

    AK0603 New Member

    Good luck please let us know what happens.
  17. mightymouse

    mightymouse Trying to save the day.


    Have you talked with an attorney? I can't imagine that one could not prove some sort of discrimination with all of this cr@p!!! Maybe a letter from an attorney would wake them up. I would seriously consider it. At least find one who deals with spec. ed. issues and go for an initial consultation. I know one who specializes in this type of thing and the first thing he always does is take it to the media. The schools hate that.
  18. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member


    Well, they gave me two options for difficult child for next year.

    The principal at her current school said he would love to have her back again next year. He said they will follow her current program by using the Resource class and the Behavioral class that is staying there.


    She can go to the new school with her current Functional Academics teacher. The catch to that is that currently all of FA is together from K-5th grade. Next year it will be split. Her current teacher will have K-2nd grade and a new teacher will have 3-5th. So, difficult child wouldn't keep the same teacher.

    Most of difficult child's friends are mainstream kids with the exception of the twins that are in her FA class currently.

    At her current school she is in Student Council and Safety Patrol. She helps kids get in and out of the car at the begining and end of school and holds the door open. difficult child is very popular this year and for the first time has lots of friends. Socially she has come so far this year. Her reading is getting much better too thanks to the FA teacher she has.

    I'm torn. I think the FA room that is moving is better for her academically but her current school has been so accepting of her.

    I'm not finished fighting over the constant classroom jumbling and moving. I am going to the school board meeting on the 21st.
    I had a meeting with the assistant superintendant and the Director of Special Education yesterday. Their reasoning for all the moves were that the schools are filling up and losing space and the school board thinks these classes are mobile basicly. :nonono: I still hate it.

    I told them that all the Special Education programs need their own permanent homes. All the schools here are new and still building. If they are still building, they need dedicated wings of the school for Special Education that are ONLY for them. Period. If the reg ed kids need more room, add on to the school but stop taking from Special Education.

    We live in a very fast growing area of Dallas. It has quadrupled since we moved here when difficult child was 3. I know there are growing pains but there has to be a better way. Just seems no one has made them figure out a solution. I plan on doing that.