Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Battle Interuptis

I am exhausted and rocking a major headache, so I will give you all a brief low-down on our school district meeting and go to bed.

Essentially, here's what happened. The entire team (Birth to Three, Three to Five, and the Head Honcho) came to the house and we all sat around the table and pow-wowed. The Head Honcho came out strong and a wee-bit hard-assed, and if I was anyone but me I might have caved at that moment and laid down like a rug. She informed me, with a lot of academic high-flalootin programy wordage that they are not required to provide the same services during the summer, they are not held accountable to the Least Restrictive Environment requirement, and that what they have to offer is good enough. Now, this is not what I have read, or heard, and I have done some research....

I didn't cave. I am not sure I came out swinging, but I do believe I made my point clear: J-man greatly benefits from where he is, will not benefit from moving his services to that location, they cannot provide what he needs there, he does qualify and should be able to get services where he is at. I explained that while I understand they don't have the program he is in during the summer, they should. And that, given his unique needs and situation they should make an exception to the hardcore position they have, since what we are asking serves him best and the other option does not.

My hubby popped in and provided our united front, plus a steely eye and presence that says "we mean business". Plus a few well placed (yet polite) words.

She didn't cave.... exactly. What she said was that she would "look into" whether they could make an exception for J-man for the summer. She needed to "consult with others" and will get back to me "soon".

So where does this leave us? Not sure. I know that if they turn us down our next step is to go into mediation with the Department of Education. While we did not out-and-out say we would take it that far, I am fairly sure she got that vibe from us. And we would... in principle alone. However, I find it utterly amazing that we might have to go there.... for 3-4 visits over the summer??? Really??? Don't they have better way to spend their time? So, I am hoping that they can "work something out" so we really don't have to make a mountain out of molehill.

Link UPDATE: For those of you interested, this is a wonderful commentary: Into the Mainstream


abby said...

They are So. Violating. The. Law.

What the heck do they mean that they don't have to provide FAPE in the LRE? Since when the heck are they above the IDEA?

The so-called 3-5 experts in our neck of the woods tried the same stuff. They lost. Email me if you like and we can talk about this. Because this is so not okay.

pixiemama said...

First of all, I hope your headache is gone by now. Secondly, you are absolutely in the right, and the people she's going to check with? She's out there trying to find out if there is any way she can get around you, but I know you won't let her.

We did the same - they wanted Foster placed into a program in which he totally did not belong, but they basically had a slot to fill. Then they tried to tell me that if we didn't take that placement, we were on our own. I held my ground and, thankfully, when they saw I wasn't going to cave, THEY gave in. Hope that mama bear stubbornness works as well for you. ;)

(Oh, and don't you hate how they act like offering your son services is some kind of favor and not their JOB?!)

Stay strong, sister.


Crystal said...

Good for you and Dan standing your ground. It's sad that there are so many parents that cave to what can be an intimidating team during these meetings. Please let us know what they say back.

Dez Sobiech said...

Hang in there! Maybe look at what other school districts around you are doing better - they don't want to be the "bad" district, do they?

MOM-NOS said...

Good for you! We haven't started the ESY conversation yet and I'm actually not looking forward to it. Last summer was difficult and I fear a repeat. I just need to muster up some of your steely resolve before it's time to meet.

Anonymous said...

I wouls ask to see their written policy on ESY and where it says what is "good enough". When they are bluffing and trying to intimidate you always ask for written documenation of whatever wacky policy they are trying to push on you. They can't have cookie cutter policies and still develop INDIVIDUAL education plans. As long as they keep pushing ask for written documentation - you won't get any because it doesn't exist. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Squeak, squeak.


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