HELP!!- legal and school problems


Active Member
I also posted this in Special Education section-\

I've been reading in this forum a few days but this is my first post and I hope someone with similar experiences can offer some advice with a couple of urgent problems.
Brief history: My son (12 now) was a pretty bright kid who was always overly curious and someone active/spirited when younger but gave me no big problem. Teachers complained sometimes but most things didn't seem like that big of a deal with me- 6yo he stayed in bathroom too long, was found playing with soap bubbles, stuff like that. Then, about 18 mos ago., he came to understand that his dad had never been in his life because he had chosen not to be. This clearly devastated him. At the same time, a friend of the family had chemo for breast cancer and they found a spot on mine. Several of us had told him this is curable and it gets treated. The friend then died. Mine turned out to be benign. I could see my son acting differently so I took him to a therapist who said if I got married and we got real involved in a church, the problems would be solved. We left him and saw a psychiatrist. Then my son's behavior kept getting worse- more acute- dangerous to himself and others. Also, he stole a cell phone from a teacher, then a principal, and started physically trying to fight me. I put him in an acute care hospistal, where they said looks like depression. psychiatric testing said depression and disruptive conduct not otherwise specified. After being on prozac about 6 weeks, he seemed to become old self again. We tried two other therapist (1 family, 1 individual) who both seemed to be as ineffective as first, so we stopped. Until Dec., things seemed to be ok- son was making good grades and trying, but still got in some trouble at school- nothing big or repetitive.

Current school problems: He's on an IEP. At manifestation hearing for too many violations of code of conduct (Mar. 19), it was determined that violations were a result of ED. I requested a counselor/specialist/psychiatric- someone be brought in to help because we all saw an escalation of disruptive behavior and I saw signs of depression returning. psychiatrist increased prozac. School agreed because IEP meetings had always just been me, an admin person, and a case manager (no Special Education training) and regular teacher for a few mins each meeting. Then, I find out the same admin person has been "counseling" son and telling him if he gets in trouble once more, he's out. Then, 3 days later (Mar 21??), I get a call from school- they can't handle his disruptive behavior anymore- this is it- come get him. At the next manifestation hearing, They said that behavior was not connected to ED because it was impulsive. I disagreed and said if it has reached impulsive, for him, this means critical and it is a drastice sign of ED. They sent him to a disciplinary hearing officer anyway who suspended him through the end of the school year for being an habitual offender. They put him on homebound. I researched what I can on the law, and since no drugs, weapons, or serious bodily injury were involved, this seems illegal to me, so I wrote my appeal letter. Here's where they are getting me- the hearing officer's decision is to be reviewed with the superintendent and I can find no time limit on that-(they've spent 3 weeks already) so my appeal can't even get in line for the school board until a "formal" decision has been sent to me in writing. In the meantime, he's stuck with this decision. Mind you- I can't work full time under this situation and he's shutting down more every day.

Legal problems: The weekend before the last manifestation meeting, after school said "enough" my son goes on a crime spree in neighborhood and ends up with 7 charges. I want him to get an in-patient evaluation but he can't go in because 2 charges were felonies. (1- he went in an apparently vacant bldg which turned out not to be abandoned; 2- he set a brush fire) He's home with an ankle bracelet and has guardian ad liem appointed to try to help me get him some help. The inpatient evaluation won't accept him because he has felony charges. The GAL says prosecuting attny won't lower arson charge because, even though damage was less than $100, 6 fire trucks were called so a lot of money was spent. Can you believe this? So, I can't get him an inpatient evaluation, can't get him in a school, can't get him anything but outpatient therapists- who so far don't want to give anything other than blame.

Does anyone have any advice on where I can go from here? I only have my income to provide for him and cannot go to work under these circumstances. Also, him being home all the time is making his behavior, depression, etc, worse.

Thanks and sorry I wrote a book.


Active Member
Wow, that stinks. I don't have any advice right now but I'm sure more experienced warrior moms will be on to help you.


New Member
You should put this on the educational board and there will be people along with more school experience. I do not think what they did was correct because they had determined the behavior was due to his disorder at the first manifestation meeting then they changed his placement. My son did homebound for part of a school year and in his case it worked well because he was missing too much school anyway, and was extremely depressed.

It does not sound like he was on the Lithium long enough for it to reach therapeutic levels, so you don't know if it would have worked. My son was on Lithium a short while as well, but we needed to remove it because of an increased TSH. Lamictal has done wonders for my son. Yours must not be at therapeutic levels yet if he just started it. That will take time.

What the school should have done is to do a Functional behavioral assessment and put a behavior plan into effect. It does not sound like they are in compliance with the law, but others will know better.

Is there a University with a Law school near where you live? Where I live there are people who can help in these situations at the law school. There is also someone in juvenile justice who works to help these kids. Ask around and see what services are in your area.

You can also google NAMI in your state and find what supports they offer in your area. They have lots of information and support that could help you find resources.

You are going through a lot!!! Hang in there!


New Member
I wish I knew what to say to make things better, you have a lot on your plate. I agree that you should contact Nami and see if they have any ideas that may help. I really don't see how what they did was legal. They can't just change his IEP. I hope you get some help soon.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> welcome. i hope we are able to offer you some helpful suggestions & a shoulder to lean on.

one thought i did have is that maybe you can request a CASA be appointed to your family. i'm not sure if they only work with-foster children or if any child legally compromised can be assigned one. they often have broader resources than others involved.

what's the ad litem saying/doing??? they can be an awesome resource sas well.

is your son being aggressive at school? toward teachers? other students?

if they suspend him from school for that length of time they are required to provide him with-an alternative educational setting & i would no accept home-bound for behavioral issues. check for day treatment programs in your area as an alternative.

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Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not familiar with NAMI or CASA but will look into both. The guardian AL calls about every 10-14 days to say she's still working on it- seeing if the prosecuter will reduce charges. so far they won't because 6 fire trucks were called (for a brush fire of less than $100 damage). She asked for a competency hearing and that's set for May 21. It just seems to me to be dragging things out longer- these things happened 3rd week of March.
Agression at school so far has been limited to throwing a book, pushing another boy in hallway, saying FU to a boy who told him to give him a magazine- no agression toward girls or teachers. It appears more like not handling it well when another boy says or does something that he doesn't like or that hurts his feelings.
My appeal letter covered 5 points- 1) the last manifestation determination (were the admin person and case manager qualified/allowed to determine this wasn't related to ED if I disagreed); 2) if all but one were related to ED, how is he qualified to be habitual offender; 3) length of suspension (mid-Mar. through end of school year- mid-June) for this; 4) placement on homebound- not appropriate or adequate and does nothing to help Special Education requirements- plus it will make things worse for next year; 5) IEP accommodations at school (if school doesn't have adequate personnel, then school system has to either provide adequate personnel or pay for him to go to school somewhere that does). All of this got tied up for another month because instead of being presented to the school board last week, they claimed they were still reviewing the case with the superintendent, which apparently has no time limit, so it can't be officially appealed until that it over- which means they tie it up until shortly before end of school year.
The place that does inpatient evaluations has an inpatient treatment program and a day program with an educational program. even if the school agreed to pay for educational compoonent, I can't get him in this place if charges can't be lowered from felonies. It seemed like the judge wanted this to happen but he put it in the hands of people who just don't get how critical this is and who certainly are not in any hurry.