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IDEA law

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Paperconcepts

Guest
What is the name of your state? Texas
Anybody out there knowledgeable in the IDEA laws? My 11 year old son just entered Middle School - he is legally disabled with Bipolar Disorder Type 2 and has 2 significant learning disabilities. He has done remarkably well over the last 3 years due to a great doc, meds and lots of patience. He currently is in a Transitional Program setting (smaller classes - 1 teacher to 8 students-, very structured environment) and is an A Honor roll student. He currently is mainstreamed for music and PE. While in PE, just after one week of school, a bully sucker punched him in the face. He fell to the floor, picked himself up and promptly popped the kid in the nose with his fist. My son received 3 days suspension - and since the bully had a previous altercation the week before, he was to have received 2 weeks at Alternative School. Well, today was my sons first day back and the bully was sitting in the Transitional class. My son was so upset - he fibbed and told the teacher he was sick and had to talk with me (the only way they would let him use the phone). He told me the situation and I called the Vice Principal. Basically, to shorten the story, the bully had an ARD meeting (Admission, Review and Dismissal) and an IEP was developed and it was determined he needed to be in Transitional. So, bottom line is, he got out of the punishment, the VP saying he (the bully) had a behavior plan in place that provided for this - and that the ARD committee had power over any policy in place - yada, yada, yada. Well, I blew a gasket and told the VP MY kid had an IEP in place and we don't hide behind it. Whether a kid has depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, whatever - negative behaviors have consequences. If the kid needed Transition, fine - serve the time then go to transitional programming. THe ARD committee focused 100% of their energies on the bully and doing what's best for him, but the committee failed to even think of the consequences of their actions. My son does not understand why he was punished for defending himself, when the instigator just gets transferred to Transitional programming. I can't answer that for him.
Anyway, I am not getting anywhere with the school and my husband is ready to hire a lawyer and file discrimination. The school can't hide behind the IEP for the bully - my kid has one too.
I don't want to be totally obnoxious to the school - I've filed a request for an ARD meeting to discuss. But 2 weeks into school and we are already facing this mess
ANy suggestions folks?
 


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dorenephilpot

Guest
You're probably NOT going to like my answer, but here it is anyway:

When I child is classified as a special education student and then subsequently misbehaves, his situation isn't handled like regular ed kids' situations.

A meeting will be held in which it will be determined whether the child's misbehavior was a "manifestation" of his disability (caused by it) or a deliberate misbehavior.

If it was a manifestation, he cannot be punished for it. If it was not a manifestation, he can.

The committee apparently consulted and decided that this was the way to handle his misbehavior.

I do not know whether it was part of his behavior intervention plan or whether this was a one-time occurrence.

The school doesn't owe you an explanation for why it is or is not punishing this child, due to privacy reasons.

The school has a lot of room for doling out punishments and/or dealing with misbehavior issues.

The fact that you do not think it is fair to your son might be on target, but that's completely irrelevant to the school and I don't see any cause of action for you legally.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

If you would like to learn more about special education protections for students, check out wrightslaw.com and reedmartin.com. They're both good websites, geared toward the layman.

Have a good day. OK?
 
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Paperconcepts

Guest
I guess my issue with this whole mess is that there was no thought into how this action would affect MY kid who is also special ed with an IEP. I cannot explain to him why the bully didn't get punished for throwing the first punch. One of the problems with the bipolar disorder is the anger and rage than can consume a child with it. My son is ready to knock the bully silly. For now, I've convinced my kid that it would be a big mistake, but I can see that the anger will be around for a long time and most likely affect his progress.
And I'm sure the bully is smart enough to have learned that if he throws the first punch, there is no consequence for his actions.
I've check Wrightslaw - there is no link I can find to ask them any questions.
but thanks for your input.
 
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Paperconcepts

Guest
Update

The school called back and I have an ARD set up for next week. I have learned that the bully's ARD and IEP were not in existence prior to the altercation. It was set up AFTER the altercation. In addition, my son's IEP does not include suspension as a form of punishment for any offense, altho I feel it would be appropriate if he instigated an offense.
 
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havenly1

Guest
First, I don't have any law knowledge just an education back ground.

I definitely understand your frustration.

Developing IEP's take much longer than two days. They go through a referral process, a child study and then a plan development. If the child did not have an IEP per say he must've been at the very end of the process and his disability or impairment was already accounted for. That would have a bearing on his punishment that may have not have been addressed at first.

My suggestion that would be helpful for both the children especially if your son has growing anger (which I completely understand) is to request an intervention by a couselor, social worker, or other qualified professional who can work with both children to help resolve the issues between them. It just may be what's needed.

Wish you luck.

Sincerely,

Haven
 

ellencee

Senior Member
Probably no one is going to like my answer, but it's my personal not my professional opinion, so it's not subject to anything other than personal insults against my character, mental abilities, and possibly my ancestry.
I just don't understand why we expect a governmental institution to be able to handle every child with every problem with every type of parent and every other aspect imaginable.
The bully is everywhere, even on this forum.
The bipolar child has some special needs and if it were my child, I wouldn't expect some stupid institution to be able to meet my child's needs--not when that stupid institution teaches sets and comparative sets instead of proven childhood learning capability- compatible repetitive memorization skills. I'd home school my child until such time as he or she could make appropriate choices, which he's going to have to learn to do at some point unless you are going to follow him around all the days of his life and defend him.
I know, you have to work so you can have two cars, a nice house, cable TV to go with more than one TV, and all the other stuff we put ahead of our families and children. It's your choice not mine, but for pete's sake quit expecting a government controlled and regulated institution to do more than push around paper and function above stupid and inappropriate.
 
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havenly1

Guest
This is not an argument, merely a reply.

This country is highly based on equal opportunity and treatment. There are laws that reflect this philosophy especially in the educational environment. One may be able to say that one child has been treated with disregard. However, in the same thought, one would be able to see that the other child received some type of privelege. This is not appropriate in a "public" school setting which serves "all" the people. One of the reasons for IDEA. The government passed the law, therefore they are responsible to answer to it, even though I do not feel it applies in this situation. Also a school can offer benefits that are very unlikely this family could provide esp. without a second or possibly first (I do not know her situation) income.

Lastly, we do not concentrate on memorative skills in schools. Teachers today are not trained in that manner. Curriculums are not based on such skills.
 
2

2stresd

Guest
Reply to IDEA

State - PA
I speak from personal experience, having a child with a learning disability in public school. I totally agree that establishing an IEP takes time. It is possible that the final meeting of the IEP team (which includes the parent, teachers and selected school adminstrators) was already done before this incident took place. They may have decided to try the guidlines in that student's IEP to see if they were going to work for that particular student before sending out the copies of the final draft. My child also experienced a fight with another student in the learning disabled classroom. In this case both students were given the same punishment. The school will not give information to you regarding another student's IEP since that info is private. However it might be worth the time to seek out the other child's parent and try to meet and resolve any issues your children have with each other. This shows the children how to handle problems without resorting to violence. I also established excellent open communication with all of my child's teachers each year, they were free to contact me at any time regarding not only my child's progress in academics, but any behavorial problems that might come up. Even though every student is entitled to a free public education, I am and always will be my child's first teacher and it is my job to provide the best possible background for success. Good luck to you and your child.
 

ellencee

Senior Member
havenly1
Your last two statements are why I have so little regard for the system of educators. Both of my parents are educators, so it's not the educators that I direct my comments.
The system of education is in direct opposition of proven stages of growth and development and corresponding cognitive development.
Additionally, we as a society expect the system of education to handle every child with every physical and emotional need and handle it to the satisfaction of each individual's parent.
As an educator, I'm sure you know how to develop measurable goals--so how does one develop a measurable goal of meeting every individual physical and emotional need for parent and child?
Like I said, that was my personal opinion on education; I probably should have kept it to myself, but quite honestly every day in the newspapers, the net, the TV, it's one complaint after another about what education isn't doing to raise our children and solve our of our children's problems. That's not what education is about and in my opinion, public education isn't what every child needs.
 
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Paperconcepts

Guest
I certainly did not post my initial question to start an uproar. I simply wanted to know how the school could punish these kids differently - especially with the instigator not receiving punishment and then to find upon my son's return from suspension, the instigator is now in his classroom. What kind of message does that give the kids in the classroom?
But, since that initial posting, I received 2 phone calls from the school apologizing for their error and their admitting it was handled incorrectly.

I certainly didn't mean to give anybody the impression that I expect the school to handle every problem of my son's life. I'm quite adept at raising my child and actively participate in his education. Some of our best times are going over his homework together which includes me having to explain things he didn't understand while in school - his learning disabilities can be quite challenging - but I feel my participation in my sons education is a big reason why this 11 year old with LD is an A honor roll student.

For the most part, the schools in Texas have been very good at educating my son - I don't see the schools as stupid at all - I am not a teacher and I would never profess to be able to teach him better than the school. For this child, the school is the better place for him to receive his education.

And yes, I do HAVE to work - but not to have 2 cars (I drive a '97 pickup with 140,000 miles on it) or cable (don't have it) or for more TV's (let's see, I did buy one in 1996 and the other one was built before the Titanic). I have to work because the laws in this country have decided that my husbands daughter from a previous marriage is "better" than my son and therefore deserves a huge disproportionate chunk of hubby's paycheck! I don't even work in my profession any longer - I quite a $40,000/year job in 1997 so that I could have more flexibility with my time that is required with my son's disability.

To those of you that provided some constructive ideas and thoughts, thank you.
 

vrzirn

Senior Member
Hang a small punching bag in the garage and get him a pair of light gloves. Not only is it a way of discharging anger but it is a lot of fun.
 
A

amc822

Guest
I think Ellencee spends too much time listening to Dr. Laura who has no idea why many women work and whose theory is all working mothers should quit and go on welfare (oh sure all the studies show how healthy it is to grow up in poverty). Don't waste one ounce of effort explaining yourself to someone who hasn't got a clue.
 
2

2stresd

Guest
reply to IDEA law

state, PA
I'm all for staying at home, home schooling my children, buying that second car I've been dreaming of, having cable TV installed in every room in that big mansion I'd like to buy, but would someone let the government know that my husband's wages would have to increase to afford this? And to Paperconcepts, any thought I expressed was not directed to you personally. I am sorry if you misunderstood anything I may have said. I am totally sympathetic towards your frustrations. I know how it feels to try and work with the system and the system seems to work against you. I could see from reading your post that you are a concerned parent and very involved in your child's life. You wouldn't be going through this if you weren't. I hope that things work out positively for you and your child.
 

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