If your child has been classified under the IDEA and has an IEP, they are certainly entitled to education in a community school to the extent that it is possible. However, as with any relationship, there comes a point where you have to get real. Public schools sometimes just doesn’t have the capacity to help a child. Even though the schools are supposed to have certain services or placements available, they don’t and they won’t. Ever. So, it may be time to go. Fortunately, the law gives you the right to seek private school tuition reimbursement if your child has not been given a program reasonably calculated to allow them to make meaningful progress. The law also allows you to obtain compensatory services for those that should have been provided, but were not. In either case, you need to start taking these steps:
1) Create a paper trail: Communicate with your child’s teachers and school administrators in writing as much as possible and keep copies of your child’s work
2) Document your concerns and share them with your child’s teachers and school administrators.
3) Investigate private school options in your area. Visit, apply, perhaps reserve your child’s spot for next year.
4) Investigate possible summer programs that might provide supplemental instruction.
5) Consult with a non-attorney parent advocate and/or a special education attorney for guidance
My heart breaks when people call me in June to say that they need to get their child out of a public program. At that point, private school seats are long gone. Some spots open up, but that’s unusual and I wouldn’t count on luck. One last thing: if you are going to enroll your child in a private school, make sure you send written notice to the District. If the District asks you to discuss the matter further, by all means continue the discussion – but get guidance before you do so because it’s a relationship and relationships, as we all know, are complicated.