Today I attended another IEP (Individualized Education Plan). On the agenda was ESY (Extended School Year) for David. He has received this service for many years, but this year I was originally told that the school didn't provide it. After explaining my concerns and the fact that his school goals had not been met I was told he would be eligible. So this morning's meeting was to discuss if he would receive the socialization skills and behavioral reinforcement needed to bridge the gap over the summer. I came prepared with my file folder of referal copies and suspension notices over the last couple of months. I didn't need this because they had decided to make this accommodation. The service provided here would be considerably less then what was provided in the past, but it should help prepare him for the fall.
We then broached the subject of his grades. He is failing three classes, mostly due to the suspensions for his behavior. I was asked if I was still set on his failing and repeating seventh grade. I explained I would prefer that he pass to the eighth grade, but if he hasn't earned it by his grades he needs to repeat. I was told that they don't like to fail Special Education children. It would be different if I thought David wasn't smart enough to do the work, but David just doesn't want to do the work.
This life training is needed for all children, not just special education students. Just like in learning to walk, they need baby steps. I can't send him to a job at twelve, but I can teach him that school is his job. If he fails to do his job he can't expect to get paid (graduated into the next grade).