August 31, 2008,
M.B. asks from Longmont, CO on August 18, 2008
Dispute with St. Vrain School District for Special Needs Child Services
I need help and support ASAP. I am in the middle of a dispute with the St. Vrain School District not providing all of the services on my Daughters Individual Education Plan (IEP), specifically her Para professional Services to help her get from one room to another at the new Imagine Charter School. My daughter is 8 going into second grade and has Cerebral Palsy with difficulty walking and talking. She attended the Mead Elementary School last year and at the end of the school year they basically wrote me a nasty letter telling me that they were going to put her in a wheelchair if I didn't do what they wanted (even though there was no reason for it-because she is mobile). I felst this was a total infringement of our rights as parents to decide what's best for our children. I was so upset I began looking for new options and I came across the NEW Imagine Charter school in Firestone. The staff and principle have been amazing to work with and very supportive of helping to support My daughter and her needs. The St. Vrain School District is trying to claim that because it's my choice to move my daughter to a different school Because it's a "Charter") then they won't cover her Para Professional services (an aid to make sure she gets around safely and is up to speed with the class) unless she is in a Public school. This seems Strange to me since it's in the same district and the charter school is paying the district at least $224,000 for "Special needs" students and "related" services. I seem to be caught in a legal glitch and I am looking for a new option to put my daughter in the Charter School which looks and feels like the best place for her right now because of the Core Knowledge Curriculum and the fact that she won't have to transition until after 8th grade as well as the support from the teachers, principle and special needs teacher, plus it's closer to my home. She likes the school and wants to go there as well. Does any one have any ideas ofhow to make this possible? Or do you know any more advocates or legal or media contacts? School started today and I am keeping her out until a decision can be made in her favor to get the services she needs at the school we all prefer. I am a single mother trying to do the best I can that will be highest and best for my daughter. Thanks.
M.D. answers from Denver on August 19, 2008
You need to get in touch with Boulder ADAPT immediately! They are an advocacy group that works very, very passionately and effectively for people JUST LIKE you and your daughter.
What the school district is doing is in direct violation of the ADA - but you already know that.
The problem is ever since the ADA was passed in 1990, it's protections have been chipped away by a very conservative Supreme Court. Which is a little odd when you consider that 1 in 5 Americans is disabled. That's 51 million people -- and growing every day. The odds are that disability will touch every single American family, at some point, in their lives.
Contact me off list for more resources.
A.S. answers from Denver on August 31, 2008
Hi M.- I hope that things are better for you with the start of the school year. If not- I strongly recommend that you contact Susan Elling. She is a speech therapist and education advocate. She knows the laws and is a great advocate for kids (and parents) within the school system. She can help guide you on what your rights are. Her # is: ###-###-####. Good luck, A.
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M.M. answers from Denver on August 19, 2008
HI -- I am a single mom and I have two daughters, 13 and 15.
My oldest daughter has cerebral palsy. Have you contacted the ACL and asked for an advocate? It may help to call a meeting and take the advocate with you, esp given the non-compliance issues with her IEP. If the school wrote a letter stipulating your daughter should be in a wheelchair, take it to the meeting as documentation. I understand how you feel and hope this gets better.
J.H. answers from Denver on August 19, 2008
I can't offer much -- but I would send this post to channel 9 -- they do a great job with "Newstips" from viewers and have made some impossible things happen!
oh, Channel 9 -- www.9news.com -- then on their homepage should be a link for viewer tips or something similar to that!
K.C. answers from Denver on August 19, 2008
Have you spoken to the principal at her new school about the problem? Often they have had these problems before and may be able to direct you. Call the district, call the superintendent! There has to be some one to help.
I worked as a paraprofessional for Boulder Valley Schools and I can tell you this; schools don't like to lose their special needs kids. If they lose the kids; the paras lose their jobs and the school looses the extra help. When your daughter is sick, her para works in another area helping out. When the para is in the class with your daughter she or he helps other students and the school gets an extra adult in the room. This means more bodies on the playground, in classes, etc. Paraprofessionals are valuable (sometimes even a bargaining chip). This could be where St. Vrain's resistance is coming from. Maybe they are hoping you'll re-enroll your child if she can't get services at her new school.
Anyway, good luck