IEP nightmare

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by ukup, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. ukup

    ukup New Member

    Our issue is surprisingly convoluted, I'll try to provide a short version - we sure could use your help! My son's ex-girlfriend is harassing him, and manipulating other students to do the same. My son has an IEP for behavior issues due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has come a long way and was progressing very well until recently.

    He admitted to the school police liaison that he told a student to leave him alone "or else" he'd "beat the student up". They are both 15. It didn't happen on school property, so nothing was done. A few days later my son was called into the principal's office and asked if he had threatened "a student". Thinking it was the same situation, he said yes. The principal later told me he was asking about another student, who reported "a friend of a friend said a friend of (my son) said" he was going to beat him up in school.

    The principal refused to acknowledge that my son answered a misleading question and scheduled a Manifestation Determination. The police liaison said he was surprised the school was acting, all involved (including the girl's mother) know the girl has been lying and the police did not act. The school refuses to release the name of the student who supposedly made the report. They also refused to provide a written suspension notice or any documentation about this incident. They say there is no documentation.

    At the Manifestation hearing I asked for a postponement to wait for the completed police report. I was told State Law forbid rescheduling, that we had to reach a determination that day. The IEP had some surprising mistakes I asked to be corrected, they said we could "revisit that" another time. The IEP even claimed my son had attended school in a Juvenile Mental Hospital, which is not true. Since then the IEP was updated to "it appears he may have never attended at" a mental hospital. These records will follow him!

    He was sent to an alternative school. We were supposed to have an IEP review prior to the start of the second semester to determine placement at that time. They waited until after the start of the semester to ask if we knew where he should be attending, because they had him attending both the high school and the alternative location. They finally scheduled an IEP but the delay meant he missed another week of school. In addition to the week when he was suspending, for something that never happened.

    I designated my mother to speak for me at the IEP review. The principal and other team members were quite rude and said they didn't want to talk to her. They had already made it clear that they prefer me because I "always agree with them", which is why I wanted my mother to represent my son. The updated IEP we were given was 90% wrong. We had to fight to get it corrected before making a decision on placement. A temporary IEP was agreed to so he can attend school but the majority of the meeting was spent either trying to ignore my mother and trying to convince me to move my son to another school. I had to move out of state for work, my son cannot deal with change due to the PTSD and is living with my parents. His therapist agrees this is best for him for now, he will spend vacations with me so he can get used to our new home. In the meantime the school is trying to get rid of him. They won't do anything to stop the harassment from the girl and her friends. I've had to put him on a anxiety drug that isn't even recommended for kids. We requested documentation under the Open Records act, the school just will not cooperate. I apologize for the length of this, but due to what I have been told by different teachers, administration and the police liaison I have to wonder if there was even a "report" by a student, or if the school is just trying to get rid of a problem the easiest way. It's easier to take one student out than to address a whole gang.

    Any suggestions? Our next IEP is next week, I was promised "if there are mistakes" we will "correct it line by line" and then update it. Based on my experience so far, I find it difficult to believe that.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    Glad you found us... sorry you had to.

    I'm not a specialist on US laws... others on the board have more experience, you'll get more answers tomorrow.
    But ... have you looked at the Wrightslaw website?

    A lot of us find that the answers provided by schools in such situations are often incorrect, misleading and/or self-serving. You need to find your own answers.

    It also helps to have an advocate - somebody who really knows the system.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Wow. If there is no "documentation" of the one incident and they did not send a notice of suspension, your son was not suspended. Federal law stipulates that parents MUST be given written documentation of suspensions. It has to tell why and when the suspension is to occur.

    If the IEP is incorrect, you need to specify what is wrong with it on the approval form they are supposed to have you sign before they can implement it. Can you give you mom legal "powers" to deal with the school on your son's behalf? That way they HAVE to include her and listen to her and SHE can act as "parent" legally. You might want to consult a lawyer about that, at least I would.

    Definitely make them correct EVERY mistake and object to the wording and EVERYTHING else they have wrong. With the example you gave about the Juvenile whatever and the way they changed the wording, ask them for their written proof he ever attended there. Do NOT sign ANYTHING at the meeting. If they try to talk you into it or con you into it, tell them you will sign AFTER you have the FINAL copy and have had a chance to read through it THOROUGHLY.

    Did they determine his behavior during the non-existant incident was a manifestation of his disability? If they did, "request a complete Functional Behavioral Assessment" in writing AT that IEP meeting. If it was, they need to do an FBA and come up with a Positive Behavior plan to address the "on-going behavior issues" AT that school.

    It sounds like you are up against the same type of situation I was in last year and Buddy is going through NOW. If you get a chance, read through some of those posts. Also, please DO check out WrightsLaw. It is a whole website that tells you most everything you want to know about Special Education law. I would also highly recommend you find an advocate to go to the meeting with you AND your mom. You can call your state Department of Education and ask them for names of advocates. You need one ASAP!!
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, so sorry you are in this battle... I can tell you that sadly, yes I too am in a fight. One advantage I have is that I called the Disability Law Center (division of legal aid) and they took his case right way. They wont usually defend criminal issues but this obviously is not! If you have that...ours drives to literally every corner of the state. If you can not find an advocate there, then call your state dept of ed and ask how you can get an advocate..and that it is an emergency. Along with that, ask for the oversight dept. for Special Education. You can lodge a complaint. I did that on behalf of my son years ago and they did an investigation and despite one of the investigators being married to the principal of the school my son was at (yeah I am really a lucky person, you think I could win the lottery?? ) we prevailed and the entire district was sanctioned. My son left because it was a district our home district contracted with (and stopped).

    They made huge legal errors and violated his civil rights (which after all is what this is all about in the first place... all of the educational rights for kids with special needs).... and you have a case...clearly.

    I am shocked he got in that much trouble for something verbal. Just really poor investigative work on the principals behalf.... they should fully get both sides and it would have been clear he was not even talking about the same issue. I dont know how he was doing before that but in our case, they are just plain sick of my son and want him out. His anxiety is rising which then makes his behavioral control worse.

    Can you file a restraining order on the girl? And even if you dont find a lawyer or advocate in time... tell them you are not going to sign anything until you have your legal advocate look over the paper work with you . If they ask you who you just say that is privileged information. None of it makes sense and I know how that feels.

    Are you being given opportunities to go to see placements? I am visiting places and will veto anywhere where he will be exposed to kids who are more sophisticated than he is (he is quite delayed and imitative and will follow anyone anywhere). Is your son vulnerable to that kind of thing? Some alternative schools are wonderful some are really rough.

    I know it is a lot of work, but start making calls in the morning... I spent all day until 3 on the phone today. I go thru it daily lately... it is so tiring and frustrating. HUGS and sympathy to you and your son. IT does sound like they are trying to intimidate you out of the school. If this is wrong for your son fight it. Let us know what you find out from an advocate....
  5. ukup

    ukup New Member

    Thank you all for your help and support! It helps to know we are not alone. I was able to find a Disability Rights in Wisconsin that offers advocacy, we have faxed them our story and are waiting to hear back.

    I have considered filing a restraining order on this girl, I hate to do that but it appears I may have no choice. She is troubled, but I have to protect my own. We had another incident today. The school promised they would assure that my son not be placed with this girl. We understand it is a big school and he will run into her in the hallways, and he has. He handled it as told, just ignore her and walk away. Today the school accidentally placed him in a room with the girl for testing. He turned around and walked out when he realized it and was in total panic when his grandparents got there to pick him up. The principal apologized, said the kids were assigned by alphabetical order to the testing rooms and they didn't notice they would be together. Then they said why do we want to keep him in the school if he can't handle seeing her. They try to turn every situation either into his fault, our fault or a reason to remove him from the school. It would be so much easier to do that, for us. But it's important for him to feel empowered to protect himself, and to never again be a victim and run.

    I will definitely keep you all posted, and again I'm glad to have found you!
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Glad you faxed the info... follow up with calls, these places have NO money and really sometimes just need reminders even though they are pretty passionate once they have your case... at least that is how I and another friend are experiencing it.

    I didn't hear for maybe five weeks and they told me two... so I called daily for three days (i had done everything by the book for intake so??) and once they gave me the advocates direct line, she has called me daily since! Always returns my calls with in a couple of hours. I hope you get connected with someone like that....everyone is different but this sounds really like something they would respond to.

    yeah, hard to know how they will handle the school thing with a restraining order but at least she would have to stay away....Good for him following directions to stay away. My sister was harrassed so badly by a girl with so many problems...she fell in love with my sister, would stand outside of my mom's window at night threatening to hurt my sister etc.... just awful. My mom and sister had to move out of the city! (I have to say my mom was not much of a warrior mom in some ways..she had a lot on her own plate, though I love her SOOO much, she just has a hard time standing up).... So I hope you can find a way to stop this girl.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I would have asked "Why do you insist on allowing a BULLY and her entourage to continue targeting my son? By allowing that, you're just as guilty as she is. Have you ever been abused? Can you imagine a rape victim HAVING to constantly worry about seeing her rapist because those in authority WOULDN'T do anything? My son lives with THAT level of anxiety so I'm proud of him for coming here every day!"

    I hate administrators like that. THEY need to experience that level of fear before they can understand but come on.....a little compassion and an ATTEMPT at understanding is not too much to ask!!! This irritates me. Glad you're getting an advocate. This CANNOT continue.

    {{{{HUGS}}}} to you and your family.
  8. ukup

    ukup New Member

    I am blessed to have found all of you! What a relief to have someone to listen, give a hug and advice!

    We have another IEP meeting this week. I feel they are trying to make me give up by confusing me. When the meeting was set last week, I asked for copies of all materials that will be used at the meeting to ensure Austin is fairly represented. They said there aren't any, because they don't go in with preconceived notions.

    So then I was specific. I have copies of all testing materials, but asked for copies of all informal assessment notes, observation and anecdotal notes taken in order to measure his progress. I assume they exist because the last IEP said that is how they will measure his progress. The district's response was "
    This is a reminder that you were sent all the materials contained in Austin's files prior to winter break. There is no additional information available. Any additional information needed to calculate goals for Austin will be shared at the IEP meeting." The information they sent was testing results from years ago. Nothing that is useful now.
    The school continues to ask why we don't just send him to another school, "since he is so unhappy here". The school was doing testing last week, and put him in a room with that girl! Instead of exploding (as he would have done years ago), he quietly walked out, went to the office to call home. I could hear several people surrounding him, telling him he can't leave (which scares and escalates someone with PTSD). I told him don't say a word, walk out and wait for me in front. I went in to see the principal, who brought the guidance counselor. They both asked if he should be in school, since he's bound to see her. I made them admit that he handles everything she does well, and that they promised they would never put him in the position they put him in. They finally apologized and said the teacher who assigned which students would test together didn't know the situation, and scheduled them alphabetically. They promised to notify the entire staff that the girl must be kept away from Austin, as they should have done in the first place.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OK, now I am so mad for you! You have the legal right to see all records that more than one adult has laid eyes on. BY LAW. (teachers can have private files for themselves to remember what they are doing, take informal notes etc... not to be used as record keeping, but if they share with anyone, they must share with you....) You can go in and demand to see any of the records and you can make copies right there and then. IF there are any forms or papers missing from his Special Education file then you can call the state dept of ed and make a complaint and ask to have them audited.

    I would not go into an IEP with these people alone... I sure hope you have an advocate to go with you....if you can't find one to formally go bring a couple of note takers with you! You can invite anyone to the meeting.

    so sorry for all this mess... they truly are acting like bullies....

    Can you go above them to the sp ed director??? or is that who is doing this?

  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Wow. Poor kid. I would say if they talk about anything that was "documented" but you don't have copies of, tell them you "specifically requested ALL information that is going to be shared at the IEP meeting BEFORE the meeting and I was told there wasn't any so where did this info come from? It wasn't here a week ago."

    As for the girl, xexplain to them that if anything like that happens again, you will call a lawyer. He suffers from PTSD and you don't have the right to tell him he can't leave. He is not a prisoner and whether he leaves or not is YOUR decision. Explain to them that your son did EXACTLY what you told him to do in this type of situation.

    I still think you need to get an advocate involved. This school is going to keep doing these types of things to force you to move him. If your son is as unhappy there as they say, you might want to consider moving him. If he likes it there (except this girl), then fight with everything you've got. It really is your call....and you might want to have a heart to heart with him and see what HE thinks.
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would look at getting a restraining order against her. I think you need some outside authority that makes it clear to the school that SHE is the issue.
  12. ukup

    ukup New Member

    The Special Education director was at our last meeting, at which I said my mother would be speaking for me. He was 20 minutes late and we waited for him, then through the entire meeting he accused my mother of wasting their time because she insisted on resolving mistakes. He even "invited her to leave" the meeting! (she didn't). He agreed to have someone there to take minutes at our next meeting, which has been changed to 2/20. Now we're told they are not required to provide someone to take minutes, and they will not be doing so. My mother will attend instead of me. I am pregnant with twins and my doctor has ordered me to bed rest and to avoid stress. Ha!

    I'm not sure about getting a restraining order, because Austin sent the girl a message on Facebook telling her to leave him alone. The school said it may be difficult to get one because he contacted her.

    The reason he has PTSD is due to severe abuse by his biological father, who his mother left some time ago. He has been out of the picture (he's in hiding, he owes over $50,000 in back support). Even though he didn't know what is happening at school and so has not requested information, the school has now sent him all the information, including the fact that he is living with his grandparents, and the contact information for my parents and even for Austin's great-grandmother for some reason. She is 75 and afraid that he now knows her new address. The school has no address for him, but does have an email. The school was very good, before this issue, and bent over backwards to protect us from the abuser. I feel they are pulling out all the stops to just get rid of us. Austin has been unable to eat or sleep again, since his father called him at my mother's house. He is losing weight, his anxiety level is high even though he is taking an anti-anxiety drug usually only used on adults. Yet, they refuse to give us even a written suspension notice. Am I being paranoid, or are they just trying to scare us away? If so, why are they doing this?!
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    WHAT??????????? Please tell me there is a court order against this father? Does he have visitation or is he banned from visitation? Was the father's information put on registration forms? OMW this has the makings of a lawsuit all over it! If the Father isn't on the registration forms, it is ILLEGAL for the school to contact him. It is ILLEGAL for the school to contact or transmit personal information to anyone not on registration forms. If such things were allowed, the Foster care system would be an even bigger mess than it is now. (No this is no relation to you but think about it. Courts place kids in foster care and then school deals with the parents kids were taken from instead? I think not. Just like your situation now.)

    Please call back and/or fax the ppl you contacted last week and give them all this new information.

    AND they cannot refuse to talk to your mom if you invite her to be part of the team.

    AND one trick my advocate taught me is to clear your entire day, and when they try to wrap up the meeting before anything is satisfactorily settled you let them know you are available ALL day. NO RUSH.

    And if they won't take minutes, there are wonderful little devices called voice recorders. Place it right in the middle of the table.

    AND if you can't be there physically, they can conference you in via phone or even video skype.

    BS! They are just blowing more smoke at you because they know nothing about restraining orders. You go and talk to the police department about them. Unfortunately it may be difficult for you to get one because they attend the same school, but NOT because he sent a message asking to be left alone. You can, however, get that "not in the same room" provision put into his IEP.

    So sorry for you all that you have to deal with this KOI.

    by the way you can and should sign guardianship papers for your Mom. This in no way infringes or limits your rights as a parent. It just gives her rights to make decisions for him which are reserved strictly for parents - school and medical decisions. If there's an emergency, you want her to be able to get him the care he needs without having to track you down.
  14. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I am getting the same idea you are and I am so sorry. I know how it feels to be in their line of fire and I know how it feels to watch your son struggle with all this. My son and I just went through a similar situation (minus the abusive father stuff) with the school. I watched my son go into a DEEP depression because of them.

    Is there any way to press charges against the school for providing OTHER people's contact information to biodad? I would SERIOUSLY check in to THAT even being legal.

    You REALLY need to get an advocate or a disability lawyer that has experience dealing with schools. I'm not sure what state you're in so I don't know if you have such a thing in your area but thought I'd throw the idea out there. Do NOT let your mom go to the meeting alone. They will eat her up and use her EVERY word and action against all of you. Get her some "back up".

    I am sorry you are going through all this. We are here any time you need us and know that we will all help in any way we can.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you all.
  15. ukup

    ukup New Member

    We had the IEP meeting today, I participated via telephone, and my parents recorded the meeting. We had requested they have someone to take minutes, but the refused. We were able to get a good IEP for Austin - if it is written the way we agreed. They agreed to remove all contact information and deny having notified biodad, of course. My concern is that they refused to honor their promise to correct the information in the Manifestation Determination and the temporary IEP completed last month. They said now that we have a new one it's not necessary, and once they are written they are never changed. After we all agreed on the new IEP they all got up and left the room and left my parents sitting there, still wanting to complete the corrections. I am challenging that decision to the superintendent, since all IEP's are used for any meetings for my son. Is there anything else I should do? Big hugs to all of you!
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You may need legal advice on how to correct erroneous data on public record... I'm sure there is a way.
  17. culturanta

    culturanta Member

    I am not an attorney but it seems to me without proper documentation of the original incident which led to the manifestation hearing, the school had no right to even hold a hearing. Your son should never have been suspended to begin with, and he certainly should not have received an interim placement given that the school ultimately did not prove wrongdoing on his behalf.

    It seems to me that you certainly have a case against the school given that your son's educational rights were violated - grossly so. Have you checked with an attorney?
  18. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Actually, barring a court order to the contrary, it would be illegal for the school to block a legal parent from obtaining any/all information about their child. Now, if mom did not put dad on the forms, he'd have to show the school that he is dad but that is easy enough with his id and matching it to the birth certificate.

    It is the same for children in foster care. Their parents do have the right to all information on their child including participating in IEPs and parent-teacher conferences. Generally, that would be viewed as a positive action on the part of the parents. They may have (temporarily) lost some decision making rights but not their rights to be informed and participate. (Again, barring a case-specific court order to the contrary.)
  19. ukup

    ukup New Member

    Another update. We're still trying to get the IEP information corrected. We tried at the 1st meeting, and were told it could be "revisted" at the next meeting. At that meeting we were promised we would correct it "line by line" at the next meeting by an associate principal who filled in for an administrator. At the following meeting, we were told because we had now completed the new IEP, we weren't going to correct the previous one but that any response I wanted to provide would be attached. I don't want to create a 'they said/we said' file, I just want the truth to be reported. The IEP team refused and simply walked out of the meeting.

    I asked the superintendent to intercede, she said she would have her Director of Student Services (who has refused to help from the start) or the associate principal contact me. I received emails from the Special Education teacher who facilitated the meeting saying we will not correct the mistakes, another from the associate principal saying they should have corrected the mistakes at the last meeting. Both the teacher and principal forwarded the emails to the Director of Student Services, who represents the district at IEP meetings. She replied to all of us and told me not to contact any more staff members, to just contact her and informed staff not to talk to me any more. She made it clear she will not correct Austin's records.

    I went to the school board meeting last night and had to wait a long time for an opportunity to speak. There was a room full of parents there to voice concerns about lost trust with the school system, being ignored, let down and lied to. When I spoke the superintendent finally agreed to meet with me sometime next week. I also suggested to the room full of parents that we form out own committee, they seemed to agree it was a good idea.

    Is the DOSS really allowed to forbid staff to talk to me?
  20. keista

    keista New Member

    Possibly. Don't know the heirarchy, but since they are school employees, if there is a problem, they can be told to keep mum. HOWEVER if any of these staff members are your difficult child's teachers and they take that directive literally, then there could be another problem since a parent should always be able to communicate and get feedback from the teachers.

    on the other hand, the DOSS can't keep you from talking to anyone. You want to keep emailing or cc'ing staff, to keep them in the loop, then do it. DOSS has zero control over your communications.