Do you think this is legal?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bugsy, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    You may remeber in a post I wrote a week or so ago that I was crying because of SOOO many things, one being that the jewish day school my children go to granted us no financial aid and I could not figure out how we would pay for both kids. I was very upset that I may have to take my daughter out.

    The director, whom I get along very well with, needed to make me aware of a policy they have. A policy that only effects a situation with one Special Education child and one "normal" child.

    If you take one child out of the school (the non-special needs child) then you must take the other child out (the special needs one).

    So for my daughter, the children in her current fifth grade class with siblings that are not special needs may now go on to any middle school they choose (private, public, charter).

    BUT my daughter does not have that choice unless i take the Special Education sibling out too.

    For those of you who are jewish does that sound KOSHER or mench like and for those not Jewish does that sound legal???

    Even though I want my daughter to continue there I am MAD about this policy.

  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Do I think what your school is doing is nice? No. Do I think there is a darn thing you can do about it? Nope. I believe private schools can't discriminate because of race and I'm not even sure of that. I don't think they have many other restrictions regarding discrimination (otherwise, how could there be same sex only schools?).

    What it sounds like is they want to get rid of your son and not offering you aid and telling you that you cannot leave him there without your daughter attending is a good way to do it. As I posted to you previously, I would do the opposite -- leave your daughter and move your son to public school. The public schools really do have a lot of programs for Special Education kids, even those that are severely overcrowded.

    Your daughter deserves to have as much of a childhood as she possibly can. To remove her and take her from her friends would be so unfair to her. She's already suffered a lot from your signature. If you can, give her her school and her friends.
  3. Cory

    Cory New Member

    Hi Bugsby,
    My kids have never been in the Jewish Day schools here, but I have NEVER heard of such a policy before. It seems totally discriiminatory! How can they force you to keep your special needs child there when its clearly not working? On the other hand, how dare they force your daughter out because of their inability to meet the needs of your son? We have over 4 Jewish day schools in our area and I've never heard of a one with such a policy! Families routinely take one child out but keep another in at even the elitists of Jewish Day Schoools! it sounds to me that they are trying to force an issue here. They either want to force you into keeping your son there, (even though they know its not the best placement for him), or they are trying to force your daughter out!

    Is this a new "policy?" How many other families has it affected? It seems to me they wouldn't have had that many families where one needs to stay and the other needs to go, so are they making this up just for you???

    This is certainly NOT what Jewish education ought to be about!
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    If both your kids were pcs, you could pull one but not the other. But because one is special needs, if you pull the easy child then you *must* pull the special needs child? Yep, that's discrimination in my book.

    I'm not as up on ADA as I should be - but I suspect they can get away with this if they do not receive any public (state/federal) funding.
  5. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    I think I may have been unclear to some of you. slsh, you got the scenario correct.

    They are doing a good job with my son. It just costs a fortune. They have never indicated that they do not want my son. I can not think of a better environment for him. As for the financial aid, I am annoyed, but I have no reason to believe that they are being deceitful.

    As for the policy I had heard something about it last year. A family with 3 (2 average children and 1 difficult child) wanted to move 2 of the children to public school and keep the one in the Special Education program. She wanted to do this because the cost for 2 regular ed children and 1 Special Education was enormous. She was told no and she moved all 3 to public school. Her difficult child was not in the same boat as my son.

    The school's rationale is they do not want to make this into a Special Education school. Poor rationale, I think. This specific situation does not effect many people.

    Even though it is a private non-profit organization that receives no state/federal funding it seems that it would be discrimination towards the handicap in some way.

    The school has been supportive of both children and are able to do many things to help my son. They have every right to say they are unable to meet his needs and aske me to move him but that is not the case at all. They seem to lack the empathy about the money though and I DO NOT get the having to keep my daughter there.
  6. Snowie

    Snowie New Member

    My guess is that the school just doesn't want to deal with your difficult child at all and this is their way of letting you know about it. They refused you funding (probably well aware that if they did refuse you would be unable to afford send both kids), even though difficult children need extra help and extra help costs money.

    Second, they told you that you can't keep your difficult child there unless your easy child is enrolled there too. It absolutely screams of discrimination and I'm not sure what your laws are and I'd surely be looking them up, but in Australia it would most certainly be grounds for a case.

    I find it incredible that a religion who screams persecution at every available opportunity, treats people like this. What ever happened to love thy neighbour? I guess that only relates to PCs. Utter hypocrisy! Do you really want these people educating and influencing your children?

  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that as long as there is no public funding and it's not a facility used by the public at large (like a store/arena/theater, etc.), then they don't have to comply with ADA.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    As slsh indicated, I think the policy is legal if the school receives no public funding, but it certainly feels unethical. Does your school receive funding from a synagogue, a specific Jewish movement (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform) or the UJA Federation? I wonder what the higher-ups would think about such a policy. If you want to fight it, you might do some asking around.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like a bogus, but profitable, policy. They may well have had it for a long time. They may feel that it serves all their students. It certainly is NOT what I would expect from any religious school that is trying to live up to the standards set forth in the 10 Commandments or any other message from God.

    Are you 100% sure they receive NO funding from any form of government? Even tax-exempt status?? You might, just might, be able to fight based on funding being given by tax exempt status. Not sure on that. But from what I have learned, it is very very rare for a school to have NO funding from govt sources on any level.

    What happens if you ask whatever body governs/supports your faith? (as a Catholic it would be ask the Bishop, but not sure what the governing body is for your faith, please pardon my ignorance.)

    What happens if you write a letter to the editor or get a newspaper writer to do a story about this discrimination?? Not sure you would be able to, but it might be worth it to try?

    Personally, I agree with meowbunny. Scary as it may sound, put your difficult child in public school and leave your daughter with her friends. daughter has enough to handle being the sibling of a difficult child. Keeping her with her friends is important.

    We did a LOT of school searching and research, etc... when we lived in Ohio. There were a lot of options, and I wanted to make the right choice. I found, much to my huge surprise, that the Catholic schools simply were not good places to put a child with needs outside the norm. At the time we just figured we had an off-the-charts smart kid. Testing had only shown that much at the time. The school I attended finally had a teacher who was honest with me. She was one of MY teachers. She said that they just would NOT be able to meet my son's needs, the "gifted" program did not start for several years and would NOT be able to meet his needs/interests then. She said that as a teacher, having a child so far ahead would be impossible. Too many other demands, and they were required to teach the children all on one level.

    Not all private schools have these all-1-level requirements, but very few private schools have the resources to meet the special needs of a difficult child. Especially if they have NO public funding. They just can't. They may want to, though in your schools case it sounds like they have NO interest in meeting special needs of students, but even schools that want to just can't.

    Public schools HAVE to meet our difficult child's needs. There are laws that demand it (FAPE in LRE). And they get funding to help them do it.

    It really sounds like things will go downhill for your difficult child at that school. It sounds like they don't want to have him there. I don't want to think about what the next steps will be if you keep him there. If they have no public funding, they may not be required to do much that is positive, and may do/say some very negative things to him.

    I know it is a tough decision, but please at least look at/visit the public school in your area. ASK about their ability to meet your son's needs. And check a few other schools. You may be pleasantly surprised. (Crossing fingers).


  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If you read the fine print you'll find that many private schools of all types have similar policies in place, developed so private schools don't become a dumping ground for special needs and behaviorally difficult children. You can't just send your child with challenges there, but must send the sibs too. It would rub me the wrong way if I were trying to make decisions for my kids with differing needs, but honestly if I were a parent forking out $10,000 a year for tuition only to discover the private school had an even higher population of kids with behavioral problems than the local public schools I'd keep my money in the bank. And if enough parents follow suit, the doors wouldn't be staying open very long.
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Snowie, we want people of all faiths and walks of life to feel welcome here--a soft place to land without fear of judgment or incrimination. Comments such as yours singling out one group don't fit with our philosophy and won't be tolerated here.
  12. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    Thank you for the comments and SRL for yours. I found the persecution comment to be over the top, besides the fact that I am jewish and one of the religion that does NOT feel we are a body of people that scream persecution. I was not going to comment and just shrugged it off.

    Anyway, I am upset with the policy and the money but I am not sure why most of the comments keep saying the school is not good for my son. They have done a great job with him. The environment is very calm. His 1st grade class has 20 children. For over half the day it is a 1-10 ratio because while half go to judaica, art, computers, library the other half is doing academics and then switch. There is a Special Education class that has 11 children 1 teacher and 3 assistants. Things like the lunch room makes a difference for him. There are 40 children at his lunch period spreadover 9 tables. He knows every teacher and adult in the building and they know him.
    Right now the one on one teacher spent a long time speaking with his Occupational Therapist (OT) and is incorporating strategies into the day. I receive a daily detailed e-mail from the one on one teacher who is certified in special education and has a special needs child.

    Public school is not an option!!!! They are way overcrowded. He does not need that stimulation of a few hundred at lunch, in the halls, on the playground, etc. They would never provide him with a one on one because he has not been violent/ aggressive at school. I have been in this field a long time already and he would NEVER get the services he is currently getting. Besides the fact that at private school we do not have to wait to schedule IEP meetings, testing, reevals, etc.

    Well I think the school is doing a great job with him but the POLICY stinks and seems wrong in so many ways. I do not want to make a big fuss because it is the best place for him and my daughter really does want to stay. I am just mad because of the money that I wish we had and again, think the policy just is WRONG.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It has always been my understanding that in Judaism a high premium is placed on supporting one another. While I can understand that private schools (any religion) do NOT want to be a dumping ground for special needs kids, I do feel this policy is discriminatory. Not against Jews, but against disability.

    Can they do it? I don't know. It would depend on the laws in that area, it would depend on where they get their funding (and what conditions have been placed on that funding). If you really wanted to make waves, find out who is on the board, also find out where they get their funding (previous years' prospectuses, plus the financial records should be an open book to a parent of students) and maybe approach the funding bodies (or find out what their policies are in regards to this sort of discrimination).

    But before you make BIG waves, consider - do you want your son to remain there, after you've annoyed them all by creating a huge fuss?

    I'm with the others - pull your son out. At least for now. Home school him for a while maybe, until you can get him more stable on medications. All this chopping and changing isn't going to make him easier to manage at the school. And it's (hopefully) going to make people feel a bit guilty, at what they have forced on to you. I hear you abut public school - I don't know enough about your area, we have public schools here that can be very small. It's got to be cheaper for you, he may even do better. But leave your daughter where she is happy. This also keeps your connections in with the school, should the picture change. You could always suggest that he could go back when they can afford it, when more funding becomes available. "When the school has saved up enough from its budget".

    And Snowie is right in this - in Australia, this would be actionable for any school receiving Federal or State funding. And that is just about every school in the country, even the 'fringe' ones, which I won't mention by name - just believe me when I tell you EVERY school gets some form of funding, even those groups which eschew all electronic communication, all contact or commerce with non-believers, all curriculum material which is not provided by their own organisation and skewed to their own restrictive views - yes, even them. Certainly all Jewish schools in Australia are government subsidised. I'm not Jewish but I've known a few of those schools well, I've known teachers and students there, talked to them a lot about how they handle disability. I've never heard of policy like this.

    So for us Down Under, we have the security of knowing that we can ALWAYS take action for discrimination against our kids. But again, it leaves us with the need to find another school - it's very much crossing the Rubicon to take legal action.

    I hope you can get some answers, maybe from the Board or the funding bodies. Discreet enquiries shouldn't ruffle feathers in any way and MAY open a door or two for you.

    Good luck.

  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  15. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Shalom Bugsy,
    I replied to the last post dealing with this. What they are doing is not Kosher - but it is most likely legal. My difficult child was in a private Jewish acadmey for 1st & 2nd grade. They also "kindly requested" that I pull her out due to her difficult child-ness. The truth is that's not where you want difficult child to be. They are really telling you that they do not have the professionals and wear-with-all to deal with difficult child. I do feel, however, that it goes against the entire Jewish sentiment to "help thy neighbor". Take it as a blaring sign that difficult child deserves to be in an atmosphere that CAN effectively deal with difficult child's. It is a shame this all came down this way, but in the end, is this really a place that you wants your kids to be in? If you're fighting uphill now, what will it be like in a few years from now? I am so sorry that this school is not adhering to basic Judaic principle, but more so - ANY school that approached you in this manner is a school you should not send your kids to. So sorry you are dealing with this - everything happens for a reason - it just hasn't been revealed yet!
  16. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    Unfortunately a private school can pretty much do what they want. So I would say they can legally do it. But, is it proper or kosher? in my humble opinion no. I can also see the schools side that they are privately funded and don't want to end up with all difficult child students. Maybe you can talk to higher ups and see if under the circumstances they would make an exception.

    Only you know what is best for your children. Do what your gut tells you.
  17. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Let's stop the commentary about what this school should or should not do based on it's religious affiliation. The point has been made and Bugsy can use those opinions as she sees fit. Feel free to discuss other aspects of this if you think it would be helpful.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm part Jewish and am finding some of these comments very offensive. All private schools tend to dislike difficult children. My kids were in a non-Jewish private school of a different affiliation and we pulled them out because we couldn't afford it and my autistic son, in particular, was just not progressing. They were thrilled to see us go, trust me. I heard from other parents after we left. I was terrified of public school, but it turned out the best thing that ever happened to either of my kids, however our public schools are very small. I really hope you can find a solution you can live with. I know how hard it is.
  19. PersonalEnigma

    PersonalEnigma New Member

    I've known Christian schools that do this. I think it is to promote a family-based way of learning/behaving.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I think it's been established that it is legal. If you want further depth I would find a civil rights attorney. They don't charge for consultation.

    IF civil rights were violated - then there is your money for further education in a private school.

    If civil rights were not violated - then I would put my energies into finding the best possible situation for both of my kids' education.

    Apparently this particular school while good for your daughter, is not good for your son. They have made their statement - pull one, pull them both. It's their rule. If you think the advice given here isn't thorough contact the civil rights attorney. Then go from there.

    Sometimes giving up OUR dreams of what we think is the best/right/most logical/best fit for our children is very hard. Death of a dream is no easier sometimes than physical loss.

    Hugs for your hurt.