When It Smells Rotten, Make A Stink

I stay current with legal developments in the area of special education law through Lexis, a professional service. This week, I did just that and saw a case where my local school district was the defendant. The case involved a teacher who alleged that she was not rehired because she had complained about the delivery of special education in the district. The court held that there was a triable issue of fact and the case is going to trial.

The incidents occurred during the exact time period when my own child attended the district and, at the time, I suspected that something was rotten in the special education department. At the time, I hadn’t studied special education law and and was just like every other parent who assumed that the District cared. It seemed odd to me that I was the one TELLING the head of special education (named as a defendant in this suit) how to teach certain skills. I wasn’t sharing just nuances about my particular child; I was teaching the teachers how to teach. I interviewed my child’s teachers and it seemed strange they had no understanding of the two deficits affecting my child’s progress that were listed prominently on the IEP’s first page. In defense of the head of the special education department, she seemed truly pleased that I was confronting the teachers.

Here’s the point: I suspected something was wrong. It turns out that I was probably right. So, as a parent,

– Study and learn about your child’s particular deficits and the generally accepted views of how they should be managed.
– Make sure that those strategies are being taught to your child in school. Then,
– If you suspect that the District knows what should be done and they just aren’t doing it, RAISE YOUR VOICE (calmly)!
– Know your legal rights and document your child’s progress.
– Communicate regularly with your child’s teachers and special educators.
– Investigate the private school alternatives in your area. That way you won’t get caught up short if your child persists in not making progress.

Don’t rely on other people to do their job. Sadly, and unfortunately, they don’t.