Suspended for 5 days - now at 11 total

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Mickey2255, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    One step forward, two steps back. difficult child was suspended for 5 days this afternoon after being "held" in the office for almost 4 hours before they called me. Sigh. They weren't too happy that Dad was already on his way to pick him up so they had to deal with him instead of me. I'm not nearly as intimidating at 5'1" compared to his 6'2".

    So this puts us at 11 full days of suspension plus days spent in the office. Isn't the rule that half days in the office count as full days of suspension for the purpose of education? I'm frustrated beyond belief and can't even think straight. Can anyone point me in the right direction before I have to call in sick tomorrow to dig through all my Wright's Law books, etc.? Earlier in the year they told me that if he exceeded 10 days again this year they would expel him. I know they can't do that - he has an IEP in place for OHI and this was very clearly a manifestation of his ADHD/ODD.

    Get this - it all started because he couldn't use the computer because HE WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION!!! No Sh*t Sherlock! He's ADHD and it was 11:30 a.m. when he was due for his next dose of ritalin.

    Ah - I just remembered - we need a manifestation determination meeting - right?

    Thanks in advance - I'm just a very weary warrior tonight.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Sorry this happenned- hang in there ! Make sure you are prepared and have everything documemted fro the manifestation hearing. If it doesn't have an outcome that helps difficult child, you can go above their heads and go to an attny if you need to. You might want to
    "tactfully" mention that you are taking these steps around the time of the hearing.

    Others will have more advice- in the meantime- I feel your pain!!
  3. Calista

    Calista New Member

    Here's a little of Wright's Law about suspensions. It sounds to me like your difficult child is not a danger to self or others. They are required by law to educate him in a setting where he can learn with accomodations that allow him to follow the rules and regs of the school. Clearly, they are not doing that. Equally clearly, they are consequenting him for behaviors that are a manifestation of his disability. Don't forget LRE and FAPE. Also, after a suspension they have to provide a B-mod plan and I would also request a Functional Behavior Assessment.

    After a child is removed from his or her current placement for more than 10 cumulative school days in a school year, services must be provided to the extent required under Sec. 300.121(d), which concerns the provision of FAPE for children suspended or expelled from school.

    If the child's parents do not agree to a change of placement, school authorities can unilaterally remove a child with a disability from the child's regular placement for up to 45 days at a time if the child has brought a weapon to school or to a school function, or knowingly possessed or used illegal drugs or sold or solicited the sale of controlled substances while at school or a school function. Sec. 300.520(a)(2).

    In addition, if school officials believe that a child with a disability is substantially likely to injure self or others in the child's regular placement, they can ask an impartial hearing officer to order that the child be removed to an interim alternative educational setting for a period of up to 45 days. Sec. 300.521. If at the end of an interim alternative educational placement of up to 45 days, school officials believe that it would be dangerous to return the child to the regular placement because the child would be substantially likely to injure self or others in that placement, they can ask an impartial hearing officer to order that the child remain in an interim alternative educational setting for an additional 45 days. Sec. 300.526(c). If necessary, school officials can also request subsequent extensions of these interim alternative educational settings for up to 45 days at a time if school officials continue to believe that the child would be substantially likely to injure self or others if returned to his or her regular placement. Sec. 300.526(c)(4).

  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator


    No, that can't expel him, and and yes -- Manifestation Hearing.

    Whoa! Brings back some nightmare days for me. You might want to talk to difficult child's doctor about the medication. The problem we had with-two doses per day is that a stimulant is fast in and fast out. What we experienced is the wane that -- works for a couple of hours and then starts to fade before the next dose was due at lunch. Then it takes 30 to 45 minutes to get back into the bloodstream after the lunch dose. So, in essence, the medication was most effective between 8:00 and 10:00 am then from about 1:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. Just a thought....
  5. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Ditto, Sheila. The stims for difficult child are absolutely necessary or he'd never learn a thing, but you better catch him while they are working their best. Up-down, Up-down...that's what I don't like about them, but we need a few hours a day or he would never have even learned to read. He takes the max of stims to be able to even attend classes. By evening when they are gone, he's jumping on the furniture (at TWELVE!), won't sit to eat dinner, terrorizes the dogs, etc. Arg!

    Michelle, I'd say your difficult child isn't learning a thing sitting in the office. The elementary "office" always afforded my difficult child with a lovely empty room with a desk along with his backpack full of work for him to do. In my estimation, he was being deprived of education.....the other students in his class weren't being "self-taught", so what was he missing from the teacher. I hear your frustration and anger....been there done that. Get out your warrior gear, you may need it.
  6. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Does he have a BIP in his IEP. If not, (or if it is not being followed) that will be the outcome of the Manifestation Determination.

    The school district is ALWAYS obligated to provide FAPE, except they get ten days of suspension to try to "manage" behavior "normally." This ticks me off becuase research indicates that suspension does not change behavior, except sometimes for the first suspension of a non-difficult child. It definitely does nothing for frequent fliers except increase the drop out rate.

    Insist on FAPE, put everything in writing and SEND IT CERTIFIED.

    I believe Calista correctly identified the applicable section in law, so I won't repeat it.

    Time to be an even bigger :warrior: than you have been to date.

  7. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    While I do thank you all very much for your input and help, it appears it's for naught. I found out today they are planning to expel him. I'm supposed to get the letter from the school's attorney by Monday at the latest. I'm just appalled and amazed that they can expel a 10 year old with documented ADHD/ODD, an IEP, and a BIP. The manifestation meeting is scheduled for next week - depending on the availability of the advocate to go with me. No way am I going to that one alone!

    Another advocate recommended telling them we won't go to due process if they expunge the expulsion from his record so we won't have so much trouble getting him into another school next year (we are planning on home schooling for the remainder of this year since they are going to be providing homebound services and we need to work on the damage they have now done to his psyche. I'm trying very hard to look at this as a blessing in disguise but it's not easy.

    We also have a 10 year old easy child daughter in the school (charter school). We have two trains of thought. Pull her out because we can't trust them to educate her any more than we could trust them with difficult child. OR leave her there so I can walk in that school with my head held high and give them evil looks and wreck havoc and destruction behind the scenes by telling every single parent what they have done to my son. We are leaning towards option 1 because #2 might just be too much work and I don't have that kind of evil in my heart. Though I HAVE offered to be interviewed for a newspaper article and won't hold back at ALL.

    As always, any and all advice is appreciated! I'm swimming blind with this home school stuff. Oddly enough, I do have a degree in Elem Ed but never actually taught after graduation which was a very, very long time ago! As of right now, hubby will do the majority of the teaching just because he's self-employed and can swing it much easier than I could.

    Thanks in advance. It's been a rough couple of days...

  8. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member horrid. My difficult child was never expelled and they even beat him up emotionally without it. Your poor difficult they not realize, or care, that he is A LITTLE BOY??? You need to get your armour on NOW!
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My difficult child went through something similar last year. They first said they were putting him on long-term suspension for too many violations of code of conduct- then they realized that they couldn't really because the violations were more disruptions- nothing violent, dangerous, etc. and he's on an IEP for disruptive behavior/emotional disturbance and he had no BIP in place. So, then they called it a change in placement and put him on homebound- but no homebound teacher actually ever showed up. They called a few times and arranged a time, but seemed to never actually make it to the house. So, I filed an appeal and spoke with a spec. Ed attny.

    Based on this experience, I would suggest getting a behavior record of your difficult child for the school year so far, scrutinize it- ask yourself these questions- was any of it violent or dangerous? Were these incidents a manifestation of his disability? When a violation occurred was a BIP in place and if so, was it modified to help prevent more occurrences? Is there anything your difficult child needs to assist in getting a FAPE that can only be gotten by attending school, and can't be gotten by homebound placement.

    If your answers are no, yes, no, yes, I would check into an appeal and an attny, if you can get one right away. You need to do it quickly if your school district has a 10 day limit for appealing (which they might not have told you about).

    Even if the answers aren't those listed above, as long as difficult child is not violent/dangerous, our school district keeps many in a mainstream school who violate the rules multiple times a day- much less in a school year. I haven't figured this one out yet, but I think it might be worth looking into- read the school district's or the state's policy on this.

    Good luck!!

    by the way- this didn't get my difficult child back in right away- he missed a quarter of school last year. But, they didn't put up too much of a fuss when I showed up with him to start this school year and I noticed that even though I have some IEP complaints, whenever I complain to the principal about something, she does seem to do something about it rather quickly!! At least in our state, I could have sued them royally! Oh yeah- document every phone call and meeting with the homebound teacher- apparently they don't like the job and at least here, it's not uncommon for them not to show up. You have a case right there if they don't!! And then, take the offensive and start writing letters asking how they are going to make up for the education that they didn't provide your difficult child- mentioning that they surely don't expect him to take the year over when it was them that didn't provide the education. The basis being- if he's not violent/dangerous or committed a felony, I think it is against the law to expel him if he's on an IEP for something behavior related. Now, if the homebound teacher shows up and is wonderful it's a different story, then you need to go back to whether or not they had a right to put him on homebound in the first place- was everything possible tried in the school first?
  10. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    We do have a horrible IEP but at least it does have some weak behavior goals. We also have a BIP that we had just met on last week to update because he'd been having so many more incidents since school started and the BIP was written last spring. The revisions were not yet completed and I had concerns that even much of what was in the old BIP wasn't being done. Like the psychologist told us - it looks decent but it doesn't matter if it's not being used.

    So here's the history: 16 acts of aggression towards other students since the beginning of THIS year. 90% of them were when other children "pushed his button" by teasing or taunting him. One dared him to hit him because of his reputation. Several times it's been girls. His one saving grace is that he ALWAYS warns people he's getting ready to blow. Most of the time he will actually say, "You are making me angry". If it goes too fast he "growls" and glares - I don't think he can get the words out. A SMART person would run like hell. A SMART teacher would get him the heck out of Dodge! I won't say he's easy to calm down all the time but I've never had him get aggressive if I've caught him at that stage. And you have to bring him ALL the way down because if you stop too soon he'll still go after whoever made him angry.

    Apparently the Special Education director tried convincing the Executive Director (principal) to try a one on one aid with him instead of expulsion and she refused. She's had enough. Wouldn't even consider bringing in a behavior specialist or providing additional training. The attorney they have hired is known for going for the juggler. If we do end up in due process I'm going to try getting him excused - I have a business relationship with his wife. Not sure it would work but I can try.

    The sad thing is that my son is very sweet and loving and almost everyone adores him from the first meeting. Many cannot even imagine he has such rages - they've never seen it. My babysitter feels perfectly safe with him in the house with her 1 year old. Even his little sister isn't afraid of him - though she certainly knows how to play the game! His acts of aggression are never random - someone HAS to push his button to set him off. Then once it's pushed, his "bubble" or personal space gets very big so you had better not get in his face to try talking to him! I've repeatedly told the school this stuff - we don't have it at home - how hard is it to protect him and the other children around him? He's 4 ft tall and 75 lbs - he can't do THAT much damage to anyone - he doesn't even have good muscle tone since he has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).

    I'm just shaking my head and doing a whole lot of sighing right now. I'm glad this is such a lovely, safe place to vent with people who actually understand. I meet with a wonderful advocate tomorrow and will show up in full battle gear ready to plan our strategy.

    Thanks for reading and helping!
  11. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    PLEASE let us know what your advocate has to offer. It will be interesting to get a perspective from someone who isn't living it.

    Good luck!!!
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Our difficult child 1 is an aspie. He was thrown out of 3 preschools because he'd jump in someones face if they pushed his buttons a certain way. finally, after 8.5 years it was explained to us that quite a few aspie's, kids with autism, bipolar have an enhanced "fight or flight mode".

    And it only took the Professionals 5 years to give us "explainable terminology!" ugh!

    Maybe this description would help when trying to formulate things for him.

  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, Michelle! I don’t want to encourage you to do something you aren’t comfortable with or that could cause problems for you or the rest of your family. But, if it were me I would appeal it. Martie and Sheila have much more expertise on this than I do and could offer more suggestions.

    My suggestion would be to call an attorney referral place and get in contact with a Special Education attny and tell him what’s going on. Then, write an appeal letter (yourself) and send it certified mail to whomever made this decision about putting your difficult child on homebound (disciplinary officer maybe??). Copy (and make sure these people are listed at the bottom of the letter as being copied so everyone knows who’s looking at this) the principal, the superintendent of the school system, the director of Special Education for the school system, your district rep for the school system, and the attny- with Esq. after the attny’s name. List reasons for the appeal-

    1) The BIP was being modified and there had not been time to implement the new one before this decision was made.

    2) Adequate supervision has not been given since other students are provoking things verbally and if difficult child is warning people, then there is ample time for intervention and prevention if adequate supervision is given.

    3) difficult child needs opportunity and supports to learn to take a different action when he sees the “trigger” and he tries to let people know that he’s about to snap. (I think this shows that he is able to see the trouble coming but just needs help learning coping skills.) Have they tried social skills classses?

    4) There was no specialist on board to help determine how much of difficult child’s actions are a manifestation of his disability or to help come up with strategies to accommodate difficult child’s needs. It’s a completely unacceptable answer for the principal to decide she’s/he’s not going to try anymore- and I think it’s against the law to refuse to let a specialist get on board. In any case, they obviously didn’t try everything reasonable to keep difficult child in the school if they weren’t even willing to explore the advice of a specialist. – This point could actually be a two-parter if they are trying to expel him based on behavior not being a manifestation- since they need a specialist to determine that- especially if you disagree. (Don’t sign if you disagree.) The principal is not qualified to determine this and isn’t qualified to be a behavioral specialist for difficult child’s specific needs. (I worded it in mine that I knew principal was busy running school and I couldn’t expect principal to spend all this time dealing with my difficult child, so they needed to get someone in there who could deal with it.) Not having someone available is not justification for taking away difficult child’s education in the least restrictive environment.

    5) And, if difficult child absolutely cannot have educational needs met in mainstream school, then they are supposed to explore assigning difficult child to a different school, that can meet his needs. (That is less restrictive than homebound.) Don’t let them stick difficult child in a school where there is no real therapeutic help and kids are just getting more and more uncontrollable (these are the ones the school district have a contract with and are less expensive usually)- do some looking around and find a good one (no matter what it cost), that you like and think could help your difficult child, then tell school district that here’s the acceptable school that could help difficult child if all avenues are explored in mainstream and fail and that you will understand should it come to that, but you will expect them to pay for difficult child to attend such-a-such school.

    If the school district does a turn around, you haven’t spent big bucks on an attny- if they keep pushing things, you can choose then whether or not to drop the appeal.

    You can still (and I definitely would) keep the advocate on board and proceed with the things as they are now. Also, I told school district that if there was a particaular day that they saw difficult child getting uncontrollable, then call me to come pick him up and I'd take him home for a day or two, if this was resulting from his disability. (The same as when a kid might need to come home for a while if they were symptomaic with a physical disability.) But, I didn't want them keeping him there if it was a day where they were just going to give him mutiple write-ups.

    This is just my $0.02- and might not be the right answer for you, I understand. If you want to pursue it though, remember there is probably a short (maybe 10 day) time limit for getting an appeal in. Of course, if you think home-schooling is best for difficult child, then you’re ok as is!

    Good luck!
  14. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Sorry for delays in replying, but I have a hand problem that interfers with-typing.

    With school district's like this one, usually, you give them enough rope and they will hang themselves. I find it very difficult to believe that a school district would allow an attorney to reduced expelling an IEP child to writing. But that will greatly be in your advantage if it happens/happened.

    If the school district can not educate your child in the present placement, then a more restrictive placement may be required -- like a theraputic day school at school district expense.

    If I received such a letter from the school district under the circumstances you've written, I'd file a complaint with-the State Education Agency, OCR and OSEP -- pronto. (Wait until you have their letter.) I'd also request a full scale investigation into the district's practices.

    Let us know how it's going.
  15. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    Sorry for the very long delay in responding - all the sudden I stopped getting the emails but it looks like I needed to update my options with the software change. And in all honesty, I've been overwhelmed to the point where I visited the doctor on Friday for my first ever prescription for Ativan.

    So I'll try to keep this short. A week ago we received the formal notice that difficult child was on permanent suspension and 2 days later we were to show up for his MDR meeting and the very next day we "could" attend the school's board meeting where they would vote on expulsion. Even though I knew the letter was coming it still knocked the wind out of me.

    Had hired an advocate and met with her over the previous weekend and we spent a lot of time strategizing and planning. I've been pretty meticulous in documenting everything so she was pretty happy with my organization and simply aghast at what this dumb little school was trying to do (remember - it's a public charter school without much oversight).

    After some serious discussion and thought we decided there was no way we wanted difficult child back at that school and just wanted to settle this quickly and quietly with as little hoopla as possible. I'm a pacifist at heart and always prefer to be logical and reasonable. So we came up with a letter for me to read at the MDR to invoke compassion asking the IEP team to help us develop a settlement offer that would have us agreeing to withdraw difficult child from the school at the end of the year while homeschooling him with school paying for sped services and a homeschooling consultant/curriculum. I also wrote one that was similar for the expulsion hearing asking the school board to suspend decision until the IEP team could develop a reasonable agreement. All very reasonable and logical. They help us educate my son at home where he's safe and the kids in the school are safe and we leave them alone at the end of the year. (Keep in mind that because this is a charter school there is no "district" and thus no alternative public school placements. There is one private school that would be possible but it's far from my first choice and Michigan is notorious for not doing private school placements. Homeschooling really does seem like the best choice).

    On Monday night the two top dogs of the school (who happen to be married) decide they CAN meet with us and our advocate at 1:30 yesterday. I read an abbreviated version of my MDR letter and we hand them our proposal. Easy as that they agree to everything. They tell us they want their attorney to draw it up and I suggest that first we all sign the "draft" proposal as our intent to follow through. They have me add language that we agree to withdraw him at the end of the year and I do. Everyone signs and we walk out elated. We just saved a whole lot of money in attorney fees and they are giving us everything we asked for including help in developing a GOOD IEP that we can take to the next school district and the removal of all negative discipline records.

    And then today the letter from the lawyer comes. Oh sure, he has all the same accommodations in there that we asked for but the agreement takes away ALL our rights to the point where if they don't actually provide the promised services/reimbursements, we can't do a darn thing about it! I don't think so!!!

    This passive flower child mom just turned into a true warrior. The advocate agrees and has stopped charging me she feels so bad about the situation. We are now looking for a decent education attorney to review this document and then I'm going to start filing complaints and take this to due process. I figure I don't even need an especially good attorney - as of tomorrow they are out of compliance for not having the MDR. I have a good faith agreement signed. I have document after document telling them they aren't doing enough and my son is a time bomb every time he is teased. I signed the IEP that I disagreed back in October and they've never called another meeting. "I" had to request the BIP be updated several weeks ago.

    I've been told that there are parents threatening to sue and/or pull their kids if my difficult child is not removed from the school (obviously parents of kids who teased him and got beat up for it). And rather than deal with this the right way, they are being bullies themselves. They know that if any of those parents sue, their names will be front and center for not having done enough for my difficult child.

    We are in Michigan and I do have feelers out for an attorney but if anyone has any recommendations...and advice is always very welcome too! No more Mr. Nice Guy here!!!

  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hey, Michelle! I wondered what had happened! I posted a long reply to you before based on my own experience- but you might want to ignore it now. It got difficult child back in school and some act of phoney willingness in IEP meetings, but there's a lot of manipulation on their part and it's obvious to me that it's really their way or no way- with difficult child paying the price. So, I hope you can get better results. I'm pessimistic right now (about our situation) - but wanted to respond to you. Keep us posted!! I'll be watching this thread to get more pointers-
  17. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    klmno - I did read your reply - but not until today! It is all good advice but I have a feeling no matter what I would have done it would have gone bad. I just talked to another very well respected advocate, who doesn't think our agreement sounds so bad and just needs some legal tweaking to give us more protection. I hope she's right and I'm just over-reacting.

    I hope things improve for your difficult child. It's not fair when they make our kids suffer...

  18. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Out of compliance tomorrow? lol They've been out of compliance.

    I can't believe the permanent suspension was put into writing. It matters not that your child attends a Charter school, the school must still abide by IDEA.

    From US Dept of Education:

    Every charter school is part of its state's educational system and all states participate in IDEA, so all charter schools have obligations under IDEA. Most of the state charter school statutes reviewed for this report were passed before the 1997 amendments to IDEA. The IDEA amendments clarify obligations of charter schools to students with disabilities and ways in which charter schools may access federal special education funds and services, whether through a district or directly from the state. If a charter school is considered a freestanding LEA (that is, a local education agency or district), it must be treated by the state the same as other freestanding LEAs in regard to applying for federal funds. For charter schools that are part of an LEA, the LEA must serve children with disabilities attending those schools in the same manner as it serves children with disabilities in other schools. The LEA must provide IDEA funds to those schools in the same manner as it provides those funds to its other schools.4

    If the basic agreement in the school district attorney letter is correct, mark out the parts where they are trying to shun their responsibilities and let it rip.

    I'd still file a complaint with-the US Dept of Ed.
  19. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member

    My attorney is strongly suggesting a confidentiality agreement and their wording prevents me from filing any complaints, etc., BUT it doesn't prevent others from doing it so I have two advocates ready to start writing op eds, articles, instigate investigations through the state, etc. I sure as heck won't be silent - it will just LOOK like it!