Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Update on IEP

I attended another IEP meeting this morning—only an hour, which is much better than the usual two- to three-hour meetings that are more common. David will be taken out of LD science and placed into an advanced science class. This will be a more hands on class, since he learns kinesthetically—this is wonderful news. The only reason he was in the Learning Disabled class was behavioral issues and not that the class size was smaller than the 32 students in regular science classes. The new class will have few students and more girls (which he already eats lunch with on Fridays.)

I also broached the subject of ESY (extended school year), which he has had for the last three years. I took my request in writing so that they knew this was an issue that I am serious about. This is not a typical summer school, but usually teamwork-related outdoor activities—because his IEP goals relate to behavior and social skills. They hemmed and hawed and are now going to take my request to the head of special education.

While I was at the school waiting in the office for the meeting to start, a grandmother came in complaining. She raises her grandson who was sent out of the classroom yesterday then received a suspension due to smart mouthing the teacher and fellow students. The woman was telling the teacher and secretary, in a raised voice, that it was illegal since he can't be punished for the same thing twice. She would really have a problem with me since I believe the student should then be made to work all day at home on the day of their suspension.

When the teacher tried to expain that the student had severe anger issues the grandmother responded with "well, don't we all?" I thought, "yes we do, but does that make it right?" When the teacher tried to direct her to the head of guidance and to introduce them, the woman said "I don't know him." The woman could not have been in the guidance director's office for more than a full minute when she stormed out.

Peter and Pam Wright
of Wrightslaw
This woman isn't helping her grandson in two ways is creating obstacles for him to overcome: by minimizing and excusing the behavior she is encouraging it but also she hasn't taken the time to learn education law and then spouts off about his rights. I have found that firmness and knowledge about the true rights are more effective. I even attended a full day seminar last fall with Wrightslaw, special education attorneys who empower parents to become advocates for their children.

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