Sunday, January 15, 2012
“It seems like we’re all getting a little upset here”.
I’ve heard this a lot lately at IEP meetings. This is the statement made when the district doesn’t have an answer for a question that parents or advocates pose. It can also come when the parents seem to be unhappy with the responses the district gives. It’s said in order to slow things down and its said in a tone of voice that intimates that the parent is getting overly emotional when in fact I haven’t seen that to be the case.
Hey, district personal needs to be prepared for parents not being happy with their proposals, especially since most often those proposals are for far less than experts in the field suggest is needed for growth. When non-verbal children are given one 20 minute session of speech per week, and that’s usually in a small group which most experts will tell you isn’t appropriate for non-verbal children, parents tend to get upset. When a child with sensory issues that keep them from learning are given no OT services because they can write, as if writing is the only OT issue to address in the schools it isn’t so good. Hey, we even knew that before the expert told us and we’ve been advocating for more and better services before we got here with the expert, and you have the audacity to tell me that my kid doesn’t need what it is so obvious he or she needs. Yeah, I get a bit upset. But I don’t think that fact is important unless I start looking like I’m about to pull out a machine gun.
I think the next time someone says they think the group is getting upset I will say something to the effect of “So, what are you upset about?” Let them get on the defensive for a change.
My husband and I have spent the last several months putting together a complaint for the Office of Civil Rights regarding their treatment of our children and of us. While discussing this today, as we wrap up and ready the complaint to send to the OCR I shared my feelings with my husband about why it is so important that we send this. I believe this will probably be the introduction to our complaint, but regardless I hope others understand how important it is that we parents look at what is going on at school and that we demand that our districts meet our children's needs.
The law says that I must send my disabled child to school because EVERY child deserves and MUST get an education. If you are going to insist that I send my child to school then the least you can do is avoid hurting her, and really don’t you believe educating her would be necessary?
If she must go to school then the district has every obligation to make sure that they do not abuse or harm her in any way. Is it okay to say she “must” go to school and then abuse her? Dragging her across blacktop like a bag of trash? Or to cause her so much upset that she does not want to go to the classroom so that staff feels it is okay to drag her to the room as she screams and cries? Or is it okay to be so incapable of meeting her needs and teaching her so that she becomes so frustrated and upset that she is hitting herself in the face and head hundreds of times during the school day? Should we accept that this is an appropriate education for our child? Should we have to enter into Due Process to prove that the district isn’t doing their job in educating our daughter? And what about the children whose parents don’t know how they are being hurt at school because they implicitly trust the district to have their child’s best interests in mind? As we did until our daughter was in fourth grade, we had been duped for years. This is what CVUSD does to every child whose needs they don’t meet. They dupe parents into believing that they have been educating their child with special needs. This is a travesty, an injustice, ineptitude, and just one example of their complete lack of regard for the civil rights of children with disabilities.