M.S. asks from Lincolnshire, IL on April 03, 2010
Public School Question
My son is currently in a first grade self contained special ed class in the public school. We are not that fond of the teacher or the way she runs the class, and the teacher is not to fond of our son. Our little guy tells us that he hates going to school. We are thinking that he would be tons happier in a regular ed class. We are thinking that he would be to far behind in a regular second grade class, but would probably fit in great in a regular first grade class. We would love for him to repeat first grade in a regular class instead of going to second grade in the self contained class. My first question is, can we refuse special education even if the school believes that is the best route for our son. Also, do they have the right to tell us that we can not have him redo first grade in a regular class. Before I talk to the principal at school, I just wanted to know what my actual rights would be!
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S.S. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2010
Have you had the IEP meeting for next year yet? I would request one. In that meeting bring up your concerns that you think he is ready to be moved out of the special ed classroom and into regular mainstream class. what are their concerns about this? My son is in 8th grade now. he has been in the ED program since first grade. It started out with him in what was called the diagnostic program. he was sever adhd off the charts. he has outgrown that. he was on meds from first thru 7th grade. but as he got older the special class stuff got smaller and smaller. he is now in mainstream everything but he does get a study hall each day. that is the only concession he has now. but you need to work with the school and be ready for them to state their reasons for why or what he needs. you can definitly fight it. but make sure your fighting it for the right reasons for your son. and your son not liking the teacher or her not liking him is not reason to pull your son from a special ed program he may need. Repeating first grade may work and may not. We had our son repeat first grade. He was in speech therapy a lot and missed a lot in the classroom. they wanted to move him to second grade but when I questioned how he would keep up they said "oh we will pull him out for catch up work" when I questioned if the class would sit still and wait for him they said um no" so he would have been behind forever which we didn't want. so he redid 1st grade and has been at level ever since so it was the right choice for us. Good luck. you are your sons best advocate.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on April 03, 2010
Document everything... not just the emotion part... the actual documentation of how the Teacher does not like your son and how she is demonstrating that and how your son is "suffering" unduly.... and how. ie: physical stress, emotional stress, him crying etc, him hating to go to school AND why.... her behavior w/you or your son, what is inappropriate etc. ANY factual and narrative things, that will SHOW mistreatment or prejudiced or discriminatory behavior/attitudes toward your son.
Then, in addition to just orally saying your displeasure, you have to put it in writing... a formal letter, to the Teacher and cc to the Principal. And keep one copy for yourself.
Then, you request a meeting.... either with the Teacher or the Principal... and lay it all out. Ask your options and tell the Principal the scenario.
If the Teacher then treats your son worse, after complaining to her or the Principal... this is called "retaliation" and is grounds for an assortment of things.
Keep documentation... on this and whatever happens afterwards.
All the best,
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H.S. answers from Chicago on April 04, 2010
You have the right to revoke special education services at anytime- however the school does have a right to take you to due process if they feel he continues to need the services (however they never do because the process is horrible). The school does have the right to refuse to retain him and the research is not supportive of retaining children with special education needs. Retaining does not give the student the individualized education they need to advance. Knowing how systems work (I work in special education in an elementary school) the best thing to do is let the principal know your concerns, but also let them know you will be contacting their supervisor or if you have an Elementary Special Education Director that would be who you talk to. Good luck! Remember you are your childs best advocate :)
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M.O. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2010
I am not sure about repeating 1st grade. But, you can refuse special education services. By doing this, you are refusing anything that comes along with being in a self-contained class, like if he get speech therapy or occupational therapy. If you and the school feel that it is needed later, it can be reinstated by doing another evaluation and starting the IEP process again. If I were you, I would see if there is a way to decrease the amount of time he spends in the self contained room per day to see if he will succeed in the regular classroom for certain subjects. Hope that helps!
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E.C. answers from Chicago on April 05, 2010
I think you can, depending on what state you're in. You can request a change in his IEP even though we're mid-semester right now. I would mention to the principal that your son and his teacher are not a good fit - maybe there's another self-contained class in the school district where he can finish the semester. If you're in Illinois, go to the Illinois State Board of Ed website & look at Educational Rights & Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois. It is long, about 235 pages - I had it mailed to me in CD form through a parents' advocate at Easter Seals.
If you're not in Illinois, call your local Easter Seals office and look online for your state's board of ed website - I would guess they have something similar as far as the rights of special ed parents.
J.C. answers from Chicago on April 03, 2010
I don't know the answer to your 1st question but regarding if you have the right to ask if your son can repeat a grade I was told by school officials it's up to the parent. I spoke with the asst principal, the counselor & some other school officials to ask this question about my daughter because my concern was that my daughter will be turning 5 on the day school starts & I wasn't sure she was ready for kindergarten. I asked a lot of specific questions & one was that if I let her start kindergarten & decided at the end of the school year or in the middle of school I felt she was not doing well can I let her repeat kindergarten even if the school felt she was doing well & they all told me yes that in IL it was left to the parent while the child is in elementary school. Hope this helps
T.W. answers from Spartanburg on April 04, 2010
Yes, you can refuse special education services. During an IEP, all members of the team must agree in order to put it in place, and that includes you. Don't ever sign an IEP that you are not in agreement with. It is best to communicate before that point to reach an agreement you are happy with that gives your son a free and appropriate education. Look up the special ed. laws and read through them to familiarize yourself with what are legally your rights. Also, you didn't say what the issues are that led your son to be placed in a self-contained special ed classroom. Make sure that you research all of the educational options available to your son before you determine what you think will best meet his needs. It may seem like he would be happier in a regular first grade class next year, but will he do well in a second grade mainstream class the following year, then third, etc.? Second grade is much more taxing than first, and each year is much more difficult than the one before. You need to make sure that mainstreaming is best for him for the long haul. Make sure you are looking at the reasons why he isn't currently in a mainstream first grade class, because holding him back a year is not going to solve any of those problems, unless he just needed a year to mature... otherwise it may work next year but not after that. I feel like I'm not able to say clearly what I am trying to say, so I hope this is coming across as I am trying to... I know you want your child in a regular class. But by repeating first grade in a regular class, you may be putting a bandaid on the problem rather than fixing it. If he has issues that are preventing him from doing well in a mainstream class now, the earlier you can determine what those issues are and the best way to get help for him in these areas, the brighter the future will be for your son. Those problems won't usualy resolve on their own by repeating a year. They will usually only be magnified as time goes on. I'm just speaking from my own experiences with a special needs child, and by the time you get to second/third grade, the difference become much more obvious if there is a problem.
T.C. answers from Albuquerque on April 03, 2010
Here in NM, parents have the right to refuse any and all services available to them through the Special Education programs. A meeting is held, and paperwork is signed. However, this means if a student demonstrates they need extra support, another meeting has to be held to re-institute specific services or classroom modifications. Sometimes, in this state, getting a meeting convened (Outside of the regularly scheduled IEP date) can take up to 3 months.
I don't know the laws about repeating grades in your state, and NM's laws are totally baffling, so I won't explain what we do here.