School Meeting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kjs, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I attended a meeting at school with all his teachers, Program director and principal.

    English: Of the first 5 days of school he was removed from this class, or part of it 4 days. I was not aware of this. I looked at the Program Director and said, "isn't it written on the IEP that I be notified and it be recorded of any class removal?" She said it was stated if he was sent to the office. I said any class removal. So, I asked where he went? to the hallway. And....
    NONE of his teachers were aware he had an IEP!!!
    I was concerned about this and asked when we wrote the IEP if ALL of his teachers this year would be aware of the IEP. I asked when we had a meeting prior to the start of school, I was told YES. SO,,NONE of his teachers knew.

    Second. One of the teachers made a comment that has been bouncing around in my head. I want to reply, but don't know exactly how. I would appreciate any advice.

    Teacher stated that "they" are happily surprised with difficult child. They saw him in the office last year and they are surprised with him. (he is doing good most of the time) They, meaning house teachers, or academic teachers.

    I am not happy with that statement. So they are saying they already had judged him. They had a predetermined impression of difficult child before he ever entered their classrooms. They did not KNOW why he was in the office. I am sure they heard him raise his voice, but they do not know the situation (many of which were not his fault, and any adult would be upset when put in that situation). I want to address this with the teachers, but not quite sure what to say. When they feel this way about him he is not starting a fresh year, he is starting in a hole and having to dig himself out.

    Teachers were not aware of his anxiety. Used him for an example which of course set him off. (one reason for removal).

    should I be addressing this?
     
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Address it along with the failure of the school to inform the teachers of the IEP. This isn't the teachers fault, it's the school.

    But I would say, "If you had been made aware of and read the IEP, you should not have been surprised."

    It's too late now, but I would have asked, "Surprised... HOW? Please define 'surprised' in context of this student. You concern me."

    But do not be too concerned about any such pre-judging. Don't read too much into it, you have much more important things to deal with. People can have pre-conceived ideas but still not let it affect their dealings with that person. Give them credit - for now.

    I would have much greater concerns - how can they meet his needs when they have no idea of them?
    Why were you given an assurance (I hope you got it in writing - if so, go over their heads, way over) that all teachers would be made aware of the IEP, when clearly this didn't happen? And how do they propose to fix this major oversight?

    I'd be calling another meeting, at which I would be handing over to each teacher a list of your requirements. If the school objects to this, tell them it's your way of assuring yourself that your requests, one way or another, WILL be made known to his teachers, because the school's record on this hasn't been too good, has it?
    In your list of requirements, you put, "Please acquaint yourself with his IEP. Any questions, call me."
    Also put, "Please call me if he is asked to leave ANY class."
    And anything else you want there. I would also be requesting for copies of any assignments set, to be posted home to you. If he produces them to you before the mail beats home the teacher's copy, give him a bonus.

    How does this school expect to do its job, with this boy? And is it any wonder he's not coping? I would be really wondering about a lot of the problems he has reported, as well as a lot of the problems they have reported to you.

    There is also a serious misconception among teaching staff (educators generally) that a very bright student who is achieving a pass rate is doing fine and needs no help, no support and no intervention. That is so wrong. It's how difficult child 3 stagnated academically for the first five years of his schooling. he learnt more at home than he ever learnt at school.

    I also want to ask - where was husband in all this? I seem to recall a year or so ago, he agreed to take on all the fretting over difficult child's schooling. He should have at least been there with you. How else will he ever understand, if he doesn't expose himself to what's going on?

    Marg
     
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kjs,

    I had a similar experience yesterday with difficult child's middle school. I called and said that I had a 6th grader with an IEP and I would like to speak to someone about setting up a meeting to review his IEP. The chairman of Special Education called me back. She didn't even know difficult child had a 1:1, didn't know he had an IEP, and didn't realize his IEP called for collaborative.

    Needless to say we have an emergency IEP meeting called for early next week to review some of the items in his IEP elem vs middle school.

    Needless to say I was not happy. I did not realize it was my place to inform the school he had an IEP.

    As far as the teacher prejudging your son. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Obviously you had a teacher in the meeting who just said out loud what all teachers do. Teachers talk to each other and share stories about their students all the time. Most teachers know what they are getting from the previous year because they have been filled in by a teacher or administrator when it comes to our difficult children. This teacher shouldn't have made the statement but I don't believe it's of too much concern. Not that it shouldn't upset you a little. Just my opinion.

    Sharon
     
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kjs,

    I'm glad the teachers finally know he has an IEP. That part is concerning for me for next year as my guy will be headed off to middle school. As it is I'm concerned with the work they have been sending my guy this year it is way above his capabilities.

    I agree with not being upset about the prejudging. I teach in a small school and often know which students I'm getting-doesn't mean I'm prejudging. Plus, at least with my difficult child I want them to know about him ahead of time so they are better ready to work with him from the get go.
     
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Count me in as letting the pre judging slide. That is borrowing trouble. Pick your battles, and right now, your battle is that his IEP is not being followed.

    And yeah, where is his wonderful father during all this?
     
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Well, to address the questions here. husband - he just walked in another room when I blew up Monday night, prior to the school meeting. He showed no concern about the meeting and never even asked me what happened. I addressed difficult child about some things that were said. Such as...a child with a unique name..difficult child decided to give that child his own name. Carl. So he has been calling him Carl, and the student doesn't like that and is quite upset. I talked to difficult child about that and don't think it will happen again.

    I tried to set up a meeting with all his teachers prior to school, but they denied the meeting saying they were to busy and would meet after school started. I met only with program director (of spec. ed). She told me the teachers would be notified of the IEP. This is two years in a row that I found out the teachers did not know he had an IEP.

    difficult child does meet with the social worker on Tuesday's, he likes her and does open up to her. They are working on some goal setting and social skills.

    difficult child originally wanted nothing to do with the Special Education teacher.
    Monday night he expressed interest in seeing him. He is new to the school, has never personally seen difficult child in action. I am sure he has heard stories though. He was in the meeting on Tuesday. Every one of difficult child's teachers denied my request to send progress reports regarding missing work, grades for the week. (this has been done for all students every other week for two years. A computerized report with all assignments, and points/grades for each one. Missing, incomplete, excused..what ever the case)
    Teachers also didn't want to comply with notifying me when difficult child is removed. This is on his IEP. The solution that we came up with was the Special Education teachers request. All teachers send him the progress report each week and he will send it to me. that way I won't be getting 6 different emails. Removal from class, they notify him and he notifies me.
    He met with difficult child on Wednesday. difficult child really enjoyed himself and looks forward to next Wednesday already so he can meet again.

    I hate to see difficult child starting out having to prove himself. he should have a fresh start. That causes him a lot of grief, which carries over to home.

    He wrote a wonderful poem..and a paper. The poem had a line where his brother left him. The paper was all about the day we brough easy child to college...The day my brother left me.(that was the last line)
    He told me it was the saddest day of his life. This was 6 years ago!
     
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Is it possible that the teachers refused the meeting and refused to cooperate with other things, because they didn't realise this is a special needs student, with an IEP? It still doesn't augur well, though.

    Good news about difficult child wanting to see the Special Education teacher. I'm so glad he's involved, I think (hope) difficult child will be glad of him.

    As for husband - it sounds to me like he is just hurting a bit too much over this and finds it easier to deny the problem because the reality is just too hard for him to deal with. He's not coping and this is not a good coping strategy. Poor man - and he is missing so much, in terms of really being able to help (and enjoy) his son on true terms.

    Some men just don't like to let any emotion show, for them it's easier to turn those emotions off (or at least try to). But it's all there, deep down. Not healthy. And I suspect if you tried to tell him that, he would get sarcastic and dismissive, so don't bother unless by some miracle you think you can reach him.

    I would be checking up on your rights, re getting cooperation and communication requests met by the teachers. Unless a miracle happens, I think difficult child is going to have a more difficult year than he should.

    Here's hoping I'm wrong, and today's meeting has been a solid wake-up call for them all.

    Marg
     
  8. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Kjs,

    in my humble opinion, you've been given great advice. The only thing I can think of to add is maybe trying to find someone to support you and go with you to school meetings.

    In my state there are free services available to help parents deal with school problems. Although all of the agencies that provide free help to parents have good intentions, it isn't easy finding someone who really has the time to help. I've found that it takes lots of networking and hard work to find someone in one of these agencies who not only has the time to help you, but also shares your opinions concerning what is best for your difficult child.

    I was very lucky to find a great agency to help me. It was well worth the time and frustration it took finding such wonderful people. I was also lucky because we have a new SPED director who really does have the children's best interests at heart.

    However, even with our new SPED director, I NEVER would have gotten as far as I did without additional help. To me, it really sounds as though you need someone in your area to support you in getting what you need from the school district. You shouldn't have to do this alone!!! Although this bb is a tremendous source of support, knowledge, and comfort, we can't be with you physically as you're going through all of this.

    I understand the pain you're going through. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping your difficult child gets everything he needs and deserves!!! WFEN
     
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Based on what I've read from your threads, your school district has more than one non-compliance issue. Following up meetings such as this with a Letter of Understanding is a good idea as a matter of practice, and it's also a good way to document the school district's non-compliance problems if you have need of the info in the future. Just state the facts and agreements, be unemotional, do not cite statutes -- just a letter that's similar to when minutes of a meeting are taken.

    When a child is first deemed eligible for an IEP, and the IEP is written, the school district has a certain amount of time to implement the IEP. That's not your child's case because this isn't the initial IEP.

    § 300.323 When IEPs must be in effect.
    (a) General. At the beginning of each
    school year, each public agency must
    have in effect, for each child with a
    disability within its jurisdiction, an IEP,
    as defined in § 300.320.

    The regs allow some latitude to school districts as far as giving teachers copies of IEPs. It's not required by federal law, but teachers and other school district personnel still have the responsibility of fully implementing the IEP. If I were a teacher, I wouldn't want to rely on other personnel to tell me my IEP responsibilities on a per child basis. However, whether administration gives copies of IEPs to teachers or not, they have access to it.

    Accessibility of Child’s IEP to Teachers
    and Others (§ 300.323(d))
    (d) Accessibility of child’s IEP to
    teachers and others. Each public agency
    must ensure that—
    (1) The child’s IEP is accessible to
    each regular education teacher, special
    education teacher, related services
    provider, and any other service provider
    who is responsible for its
    implementation; and
    (2) Each teacher and provider
    described in paragraph (d)(1) of this
    section is informed of—
    (i) His or her specific responsibilities
    related to implementing the child’s IEP;
    and
    (ii) The specific accommodations,
    modifications, and supports that must
    be provided for the child in accordance
    with the IEP.

    When something destabilizes my son early in the year, it's a very, very long year for parents and school personnel. In a school district such as yours, particularly when the school district has a track record of not getting pertinent info to the teachers timely, I'd make copies of the IEP and distribute them myself. It's not the parent's responsibility, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    And just so you know:

    A new § 300.530(e)(3), has been
    added to provide that, if the LEA [school district], the
    parent, and members of the child’s IEP
    Team determine that the child’s
    behavior was the direct result of the
    LEA’s failure to implement the child’s
    IEP, the LEA must take immediate steps
    to remedy those deficiencies.

    Hope it's smooth sailing from here on.
     
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Great suggestions, Sheila.
    Kjs, you need to do this. You can do it gently, simply by sending a follow-up letter to the school listing your own understanding of the meeting's outcomes. It's good practice to do this after every meeting and needn't in any way be taken by the school as you telling them what to do - I used to start my letters off this way:

    Dear [whoever - usually the principal],
    Thank you for organising the meeting the other day [give date]. It is a pity the class teachers were not also present, their input would have been very useful.
    [note: this isn't criticising anybody for not turning up - it leaves it to someone else to ask why they weren't there. This is a very neutral way or officially logging their absence.]

    Just to make sure I have got this right - at the meeting, we decided on the following course of action: [then put in what you recall you all agreed on].

    If I have not got this correct, please let me know in writing by return mail - in writing, to make sure I fully understand and have a written record of doing so. As you can imagine, life is busy when raising a child like difficult child. I love him but he is a lot of work. I need these written reminders to help me keep everything organised.
    [This is not making excuses, it's defusing any objection the school might have, to putting it in writing. They HATE to put things in writing because it locks them in to doing what they promised, or facing the consequences. Schools would prefer we leave things 'loose' which also leaves them wiggle room to evade responsibility when they SNAFU.]

    [The next bit is Sheila's bit - it can be included in this letter, or sent as a separate letter].
    Following the meeting I do have some ongoing concerns: there are strict protocols for a school's management of a student who has an IEP already in place. Since the teachers say they had no knowledge of the IEP, this would indicate that these protocols are not being followed, even at a basic level.
    [You then list the regulations being bent, broken or tortured].

    I will require another follow-up meeting in [list number of weeks - make it fairly soon] at which time I expect these problems will have been rectified and we will see considerable improvement.

    Throughout this year we will need to meet regularly in order to expedite communication and support regarding difficult child and to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. He is a very bright child but has difficulties in other areas with classroom work and this is going to need ongoing involvement of the Learning Team. [never forget you are an important part of the Learning team]

    Thank you for your support in this matter. I look forward to the date of the next meeting.

    Yours sincerely,

    Kjs & husband [if husband is prepared to at least support you from afar - it looks better having an apparent united front - scares the pants off the school]

    [and then the piéce de resistance - ]

    cc School District
    psychiatrist/specialist/whoever
    anybody else you feel needs to be kept informed on a professional level

    And make sure you send those copies.

    By having the "cc:..." at the end, the school KNOWS that others are watching, often from above. They now HAVE to act.

    One possible reaction may be to try to justify (fast) their inaction/SNAFU. Have courage. That's why you never say anything that simply isn't true. Never exaggerate. Simply the facts, ma'am.
    If you can stand firm in the (fairly unlikely) even they try to weasel out of responsibility, the eventual outcome is, you get what you should have got in the beginning - vigilance, support and prompt feedback.

    And if they do begin to bog down in "We didn't realise, we never knew, someone didn't forward the paperwork..." etc, don't feel guilty at all, simply change the subject back to, "Now, now, that's all in the past. How are you going to make sure it doesn't happen in the future? Let's move on and work together from here..."
    which makes you look magnanimous as well as the person in charge, calling the shots.

    End result should be - school is now putting in the effort they should have right at the start. difficult child is probably still being as difficult child as ever, but at least he has more chance now. And if the school tries the, "How can we support a kid who refuses to be supported?" throw it right back at them with, "No wonder he doesn't want the support - the way it has been in the past. he is scared of victimisation through being made to seem different. You are not doing your job right, if accepting this help makes difficult child feel unsafe."

    You will feel scared and shaky - it does give a sense of instability, to be sitting on top of the heap. But don't crawl back down - hold on for the ride, for difficult child's sake. Also for your own - this is a really useful learning experience for your own workplace and for later in life.

    This site is a fabulous resource. I haven't got the local knowledge of the rules in the US, so I can't help much there. All I can point to are basic human rights stuff (such as no victimisation on the basis of disability; every child has the right to feel safe; etc). Sheila's got the specific knowledge I haven't. The Special Education forum also has specifics. Collectively, we can all work to help you feel more confident and pull this off.

    You've caught them with their pants down. You could take advantage of this to give them a walloping on their bare behind, or you could take advantage of this to ensure your son is properly cared for, not the mishmash mess they've made of things so far.

    And remember, I did this for years and I'm STILL good friends with the individuals at the school as well as the school, collectively. A kid was cheeking me in Tuesday's lunchtime class so I ejected him back to the playground. I wasn't going to do anything more, but a teacher saw it and dragged the kid to t he principal, who gave the kid a solid talking to.
    I'm not on the payroll; if I stopped what I do, the school would barely notice. They don't have to be nice to me, not after some of the things I made them face about themselves.
    But I did it politely (and firmly) and they respect me. I value that and thank them for it.

    It really is like using "Explosive Child" methods on an organisation!

    Kjs, go for it. You have a heaven-sent opportunity to work the system as it is meant to be worked, all for the benefit of your son. Go for it and you might even find yourself enjoying it. I hope so.

    Marg
     
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