Help!! Meeting with My Sons School

Updated on June 25, 2008
E.S. asks from Marysville, WA
85 answers

I have a meeting with my sons school tomorrow. My son is 7 years old and is deaf in one ear and we set up an I.E.P (individual education plan) at the begining of every year to help him with delayments and other issues with the hearing impairment. I found out last week that they put him back in a music class without my permission when we had decided to remove him from it because it was hurting his ears. They said it was more convenant for them not to have to figure out something else for him. Any changes to his schedule are to be approved and signed by me. I found out that they did this 3 weeks ago. They then got him excited for a concert and called me the day of and told me they wish for him not to come because it might be to hard for him and that i needed to tell him that he could not go. I am at a loss as to what to say to the school. there have been several other issues with h=this school and the principle talks down to me everytime i try to talk to her. I am in constant communication via email with his teacher and counselor and am not sure what to say to them tomorrow about all this stuff i have found out about and been lied to. Please help if you have any advice!!!!

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So What Happened?

The meeting went a little better than e3xpected, my boyfriend went with me to back up everything i had to say and fill in anything i may have missed mentioning. We are sitting down with the principle on monday because she was not able to attend the meeting. It was determined that there was a major lack of communication between all his specialist and teachers and the subs he had for a few days. We actually included my son in the meeting and asked him what he felt he was struggling with and came up with a better schedule and uped his time with his specialists. We all agreed that there will be monthly meetings, daily progress reports and that he will be continuing not to be in music. I advised them that if anything gets out of order again that I will be contacting the superintendant and also my attorney. I know he has emotional issues, but he will be starting counseling outside of school tomorrow for that issue. Thank you to all for the great advice. If you have more (we live in washington state)please let me know!!

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D.J.

answers from Seattle on

E.,
Ditto to everything in the Michelle W post. The school principal does not have the right to do what she has done. I recommend a phone call today to the superintendent, before the meeting with the principal if possible.

I'm super angry at this for you.

Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Seattle on

I also have a son that has an IRP you have to be his avocate. DO NOT BACK DOWN. They put him in the music class then he should be able to partisapate in the concert. You don't get the hopes up of a child and them just slam them down. If he wants to do this let him do it. They are wronge to ask you to tell him he can't go. Stand up for him mom. My son is 15 now and I have also had some issues in the past with the school. If you can't get anywhere with the school it's self go above them. If you get no help there. Go to the TV stations about this. It will get out. And sooner or later humm you will get what is right with the school.
Take care and good luck.

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K.R.

answers from Portland on

Hello E.,
My son was a gifted/learning-disabled student and the district had no idea what to do with him. I had to fight for him all through elementary school. It seems to me that the school set up this music debacle and now they need to see it through. Can your son wear some sort of ear protection that will make the music easier for him to bear? I don't know where you live, but in Washington state I believe that the school is required by law to supply accommodations for your son. Too bad if it's "inconvenient." You may need to become a physical presence at the school (if you are able). Volunteer in a classroom, be visible, and don't put up with the run around from the principal. You care about your child and have his best interests at heart;this puts you way ahead of many parents this principal encounters. Hold your head up, look him or her in the eye and speak your mind with confidence. The school has put your son in a position to be disappointed and hurt--let them know you understand this and don't like it! Remember that you are your son's advocate and he is going to be the winner here. I teach in a university and sometimes work with students with disabilities. In my view, it should never be "inconvenient" to accommodate students. Without students we would be out of jobs! I am sorry to hear that you have encountered a less-than-compassionate principal--I know they are not all this way.
Best,
K.

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S.M.

answers from Seattle on

have you requested a mediator or an educational advocate to assist you in communicating with your childs school? I belive that this is in the parents guide to your childs IEP/504 packet that the school district gives out when they do the IEP. you can also request a new iep meeting at any time. just dont go by yourself. -S.

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A.G.

answers from Anchorage on

First, I am so sorry that you will have to expect a life of keeping on top of the school for the rest of your childs public school career.
Hopefully you have a copy of your rights and responsibilities? Read them and understand them. If you have questions about those rights and responsbilities, ask for help from someone in the school board's office, not the schools staff. If your school does not have the staff to meet his IEP, then it is their responsibility to pay for outside tutor, etc.
Do not be a dead beat where your childs welfare is at risk. The only time someone can speak down to you, is if YOU feel beneath them. Make it a point to know who your school board members are and play an active role in their election. Ultimately, you NEED to educate yourself.
Don't forget that our taxes pay our schools staff, and that you are your childs parent and therefore responsible for the final say on his behalf.
My daughter is 16 now, so take this advice from someone who 10 years ago said the same thing. Annie G.

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S.K.

answers from Portland on

E.,
I have been reading posts from Mamasource for a while now but yours is the first I've wanted to respond to because this is an issue I feel strongly about, and it's near and dear to my heart. My son has developmental delays and even though he's only 3 I have had a crash course in dealing with special education laws and policies (he gets early childhood services through our district and has an IFSP). I also work in the advocacy field for my job. The bottomline is that NO ONE is going to advocate for your son's best interests better than you. Read that parent handbook carefully and you'll see that you have recourse if decisions are being made without your consent and approval. You can request a hearing and you might only have a small window of time in which to do so. Despite the best intentions of school personnel (although it sounds like you're dealing with some folks that aren't demonstrating best intentions as to your son) most simply are not going to go above and beyond for your kid unless you demand that they do so. This can be done in a firm but respectful way. The best thing you can do is educate yourself about the special education laws (check out the oregon department of education website). Also, are you familiar with the Oregon Advocacy Center? http://www.oradvocacy.org/ I think they might be a great resource for you, to know what your rights are. Hold your head high with that principal. Do not be intimidated and do not apologize for being your son's strongest advocate. Be clear about what it is that your son NEEDS and always frame it in that way, rather than blaming, compromising, disclaiming, etc. And be clear that the district is required to provide the type of plan that best meets his educational and other goals. Period.

Good luck tomorrow (or was your meeting today?). If you ever want to exchange emails about this I'm at [email protected]____.com. I wish you all the best. Your son is lucky to have a mom like you!

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E.S.

answers from Richland on

I wish I could help you with that! I work in special education and should know what to say to help you out, but what they are doing is wrong. I guess the best I can say is be assertive, keep you chin up, and sound as confident as you can during the meeting. Tell them how you feel about the way things are being handled. If things do not get better soon, contact the district office and let them know what you have been experiencing. I also recommend documenting everything so you have it in writing. Good luck!

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C.C.

answers from Seattle on

E., I worked for a school district for over 6 years. Part of my job was to mainstream children into classrooms as well as working with teachers to implement IEP's. For your son to have been put back into the choir without your knowledge is unexceptable. For the staff to call you and tell you to let your son know he will not be performing is them abusing the system. You DO NOT have to except this and I would make sure that the principal is in on this meeting. Your son is still a valued student and should be treated as such. If I was put in your position I would contact the principal and let him/her know that you are taking charge of this situation and if he/she does not assist you in taking care of these lazy co-workers then you will take it upon yourself to discuss this issue with the superintendant. No child nor adult should be treated so disrespectfull especially when the district implemented IEP's to help needed students be successful.
good luck - C.

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R.K.

answers from Portland on

E.,
This is a VERY personal issue for me. I have a 19 year old son who has a rare learning disability, and we have battled many of situations just as this. The #1 thing I would advise is, You are your childs advocate. There will be NO other person who will be as good at it as you have to be! I am curious to know if you live in the portland area. I know of an AWESOME lawyer who specializes on this subject. Her fees are managable. Her name is Lana Traynor. I certainly pray that you have the personality to turn this around. It is very important that you step up to them and every situation put before you adamately and yet respectfully! I will be praying that You have the knowledge and strength to endure this. Feel free to call me any time###-###-####). I encourage you to seek out or start a support group with other parents of children on an IEP.

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A.M.

answers from Portland on

I would take it to the school district and then to the local news media. I think you and your son have been in-sensitively degraded to some extent. It sounds like the principle at your son's school is on a "power trip" people like that need to be put into the spotlight and confronted on a larger scale. I struggle with my son's learning disibilty at his school and understand how helpless it can feel when dealing with these people who are on a "high horse". The sad part is our children suffer the most. And it hurts to watch your child feel different. Best to you and your family.

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S.T.

answers from Spokane on

Dear E., I have 4 children, and my 3rd child (daughter) has special needs. My utmost compassion goes out to you when dealing with people in the education system. There are truly some wonderful people working with our special kids, but the ones who talk down to us are infuriating! When we know they are not truthful with us, it's even worse. I will keep you and your little boy in my prayers today/tonight. I pray that you will be brave, and calm and steadfast when you meet with them. You sound like a very, loving mom. Your son is blessed to have you as his first and foremost advocate. You know what he needs better than anyone! Finally, if it's possible, check out some other schools in your area. We actually home-schooled for awhile, but that's not always an option I realize. Anyway, there are many options out there, so be encouraged! I can so remember going through the EXACT same thing that you are describing, and we went on some amazing journeys in the process. Hang in there dear mom. God Bless you, S. Teague

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

I see you sent your request yesterday and this may be too late but I will give it a shot. First, I assume you have a copy of the plan that was agreed on at the beginning of the school year. Bring that. Next, look in the sent area of your emails and make copies of all of your correspondance with the school, teachers. etc. Bring those. If you feels like the pricipal talks down to you or intimidates you possibaly bring a third party with you for moral support. This may also help to keep the conversation focused. Ask to see your child's school record so you know if they are labeling him as disruptive or anything of that nature. Say you feel like you have been mislead (not lied to), be assertive but not beligerant (take the high moral road. If the whole thing just seems to getting out of hand say that further discussion seems pointless at this time and that you would like to discuss it with someone in authority beyond the school. Good luck and I will be very interested in hearing how thing went.

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K.D.

answers from Portland on

E.-

First of all, an IEP is a legal contract. If your school is not adhereing to this contract they are in truth breaking the law, a federal law at that.

Questions for you: Was his removal from Music written in the IEP? If so, then your school can be in big trouble.

What was suggested as an alternative for Music when the decision was made to remove him? Was that written in the IEP?

I am thinking of a million questions to ask you at this point.

Here is my immediate advice: Go in firmly but politley and ask to have a formal review of his IEP. Ask to have the District Specialist present at this review. Before this review educate yourself on two main issues: 1)your son's condition and what this means for him in a school setting and 2)YOUR RIGHTS (really they are your sons rights, you just happen to be the one who legally speaks for him)

A great source for the first is your son's pediatrician. Does your school district have access to a hearing specialist? Often the speech/language teacher is a good resource as well.

A great source for the second is a book "Navigating the Special Education Maze"

You must educate yourself for the sake of your little guy.(FYI- I have a child with special requirements. And I am a teacher. I am constantly looking for new info about his issues to help find new ways to help him both in the classroom and in the rest of the world)

Finally, remmeber that you are partnering with the school. If you all go in as a group working together to find what works best for this little guy that's what will happen. If the tone is us vs them then nothing good will come of it for your child.

Oops, not quite finally... Are there behavior issues associated with youor son? I can't figure out why they wouldn't want him at the concert except for that. Are these addressed on the IEP? If not, they need to be.

Good luck!

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B.B.

answers from Portland on

If you are in Oregon....based in Salem is a non-profit group called Oregon Parent Training & Information Center (OrPTI)... they have people that can go with you to IEP based meeting to make sure your rights are preserved, they have people who can do mediation when you clash with the school......in general the school will get away with whatever is cheapest and easier for them if you don't know your rights and speak up! Good luck and stay on it, don't let them walk on you - it's your right to have them follow that IEP!!!!!

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K.S.

answers from Portland on

You have a right to be upset with your son's school. When you have the meeting get your feelings out on the table and remind the school of their agreement with you about your son's schedule. If nothing works, you might want to try and find a different school and tell them what heppend with the old school and make sure They would carry out their agreement.
GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

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J.P.

answers from Seattle on

I have a sone with an IEP also and the best advice I can give you is to use the laws in place to protect all children with special needs and their right to an education.

In conversation with the principle and teachers, make them aware that you know they receive special additional funding for your son's special needs, that you know his rights and the purposes IEPs are an option put in place to ensure you child receives what his disabilities require for him in order to receive the best education possible.

They cannot ignore the laws and policies that are in place to protect your son which includes the involvment of your child's parents and any other professionals involved in his care and assessments with valid recomendations for his education needs. ie. psychiatrists, speech therapists, counselors, M.D.s etc.

You are right to feel betrayed and angry. Use that energy for your son's benefit by fighting to protect his and your rights in this situation. No matter what happens in your meeting negative OR positive, you need to report it to your district and depending on how it is handled, to your state education board.

I wish you every best outcome.

J. (a theraputic mother of four)

Make them aware that you are and will continue to take this higher if they do not rectify the situation and compensate him on other ways for not complying with his rights and YOURS as his parents.

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A.E.

answers from Yakima on

Try to remember that you do have your child's best interest at heart and stick to your guns. You are essentially paying those teachers and principles salaries through taxes. They are just trying to make everything easy on themselves. Ask them what they would do in the same situation. Ask them if they would like it for you to treat their child that way. If you think that he can handle the concert then I would fight for him to be at that concert. They had no problem thinking that he could handle the music class. Ask them if they want to be responsible for further damaging your child's hearing. Keep at them and let that principle know that you are not going to be spoken to in that demeaning manner. You are a grown adult and deserve the respect from her especially since she has already screwed up. They should totally be kissing your butt after that mistake...OK at least apologizing to you alot. Don't let them push you around or let them convince you of anything you don't want for your child.

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

What a terrible thing for you and your son to have gone through. I work with Spec. Ed. students and am familiar with IEP's, as well as some of these issues. There is a chain of command and communication that must go on whenever there is a student with special needs. It is your right as a parent to (nicely) demand a meeting with all parties to address this situation. The school has a responsibility to follow the iep and to communicate if there need to be changes to it at any time between formal iep meetings.
I have to say that I know it can be very difficult for teachers to know what to do when a student can't participate in a specialist service, such as music or P.E. Often times, during specialist times a teacher has meetings or planning time or a much needed break. At our school, we have to get create and work together as a team to cover all the needs. We have a hard time getting any support from districts in meeting these needs.
With all of that said, be strong - be kind - but be your child's best advocate! I also has a child with needs, so I've been on both sides. Good Luck.

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A.S.

answers from Seattle on

Make sure you take someone with you to this meeting so you don't feel alone. If you cannot take someone with you; a good friend, relative, etc..--change the appointment time to fit YOUR needs, not theirs. Who cares if it's short notice.

Remember, you and your child have rights when it comes to this educational system. Don't worry, and be strong.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

E., That is terrible! As hard as this might be, I wouldn't go in with anger. I would first ask for all the facts and why they made the decisions. Once you have that information than I would ask them "how they would feel if this was their child". From there, I would tell them how "hurt" you and especially your child are. Make them feel your pain (if that's possible). Than I would demand answers! I think you need to set the stage. I would also have this all in writing and put in the childs records for the future. If you don't get resolution take it up the ladder. That is wrong and as the mother if you don't take a stand who will.

I know it's hard, but do not let your emotions play on your child. I would keep it positive between you and your son. He has enough to deal with. I am thinking of you!

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G.B.

answers from Portland on

E.,

I wondered if you knew of all the support groups and free IEP legal advice. Also, have you heard of Oregon Parent and Education or ORPTI? www.orpti.org You can call them and they will not only give you advice, but they have classes to help you advocate for your child during IEP's and also parent training classes on other subjects such as bullying kids with disabilities and how a child copes with others etc. I am not sure if there is something in your area because I am not familiar with where you live, but it may be possible they will also call someone to be with you during the appointment or pay you to be at someone elses (after you take a free class on training you how to do IEP's effectively).

If you want legal advice you can go to or call the Oregon advocacy Center www.oradvocacy.org They have lawyers (although they do not want you to use their advice in place of a lawyer that would represent you) and they are happy to recommend you to people that can help.

There is a FREE class you can take online that is so wonderful. It's called Partners in Policy Making and I can't recommend it enough. Here is the website: www.partnersinpolicymaking.com/online.html

The IEP process can be a difficult one at times and I would not do it alone. I believe you should get connected with other parents with either simular situations or IEP groups to help you walk through your issues together. I can not stress this enough because no matter if you're parenting and you don't feel you have any issues worth asking help for at all you should not consider doing it alone. Really, I am married to a wonderful husband and I have to remind myself to connect with others moms to get opinions, advice, and support. I can't think of the amount of times I have said to myself that I am so mad I waited to do this, so don't wait!

Please keep me posted on how things are going.
Your son is totally worth, so go girl!!!
Take Care,
G.

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C.H.

answers from Portland on

Unfortunately, I am not surprised by your experience. Be prepared for more of the same. In my experience, working with a special needs child meant: learning the regs and disability better than they did, picking my battles, being prepared to be as cutthroat as necessary on those battles, and looking for ways around obsticle people.

And remembering a few rules of bureaucracy: Never ask a question of someone who has a vested interest in saying no -- like principals with short resources. Be prepared to barter -- can you volunteer to drive or chaperone. Know the enemy -- spend as much time on PTC/LSAC or other school activities to know the players. Find the "can do" people and make alliances with them. Be both carrot and stick -- jump down the throat of anyone who lies to you but bring genuine treats to the rest.

Finally, develop a real thick skin about gross ignorance and enjoy the glorious dedication of those who will bend over backwards to help you.

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M.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hello E.!!!

What has happened thus far regarding you and your son is extremely upsetting to me.

I would immediately contact the Superintendant regarding the unprofessional conduct of the school principal. You will need all of the names of the teachers, etc, etc. That type of unprofessionalism shouldn't be happening. If I were you, I'd be putting all incidents in writing, with all names listed. It must be in writing, because this is to protect you and your child.

Also, your child has every right to be performing with the other students, since the school has already bypassed your request.

The point is that you made it clear to the school about the noise regarding your child and they did NOT honor it at all. So, you have attempted to talk with the principal, but instead you feel that she is not respecting you. And she is disrespecting you totally. I would not put up with that. Always protect your child and don't let any teacher or principal talk to you in any disrespectful manner. That is NOT their job. And that principal is neither your mother, nor your father.

I am wondering if earplugs would work for your child. I really don't know the severity of your son's pain when around a lot of noise.

I just feel that it is terrible and EXTREMELY unfair that the school has given your son high hopes for the concert. AND I find it so irresponsible on their part that they want YOU to tell your child that he cannot be involved in the concert when they are the ones who have put him in that class, knowingly of your request.

I grew up performing since I was 6 years old, until current. It is a wonderful experience when performing at a concert. Every child should experience it cause it is fun and a lot of artistic children come out of this environment. They do better in school too.

E.!
I hope everything works out for you and your son. I wish you the best of luck. But, yeah! Get that letter off and when you mail it, be sure that it is certified. Anything that is important like this should alwasy be in writing and certified to the Superintendant.

Thinking of you and your son!!!\''/

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K.L.

answers from Spokane on

I read through some of the other advice and I didnt see anything addressing your sons medical issue. Your son has a medical issue and since it has to do with hearing being in a music class could make it worse, if the school wont listen try to get his audiologist involved. They maybe able to give documentation as to why it is imparitave to keep him out of music class. Now to address the wayt he school treats you, you should never back down when somthing concerns your child. I can tell you love him so be strong and firm with the school for him. I know you will do great. GOOD LUCK!!!
Krissy L

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S.B.

answers from Richland on

Hi E., It sounds to me like you need a parent advocate to attend the meetings with you. This can be anyone you choose from an attorney to a friend or relative. Someone knowlegable about school law is helpful. You can contact PAVE to find out more information about advocacy. http://www.washingtonpave.com/

Be strong, have all of your facts written out ahead of time. Don't become emotional. Be firm. Write down everything that is said, ask for everything they say in writing with a date and signature. If it wasn't written down, it didn't happen, as far as schools are concerned.

In your written out points you can point out that they are out of compliance with the IEP because they did not get your signature approving the schedule change. You have the right to get legal counsel involved.

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D.K.

answers from Seattle on

Hi there,
I can only imagine how frustrated you must feel. There should be a case manager involved, this would be the learning specialist or the school psychologist. An idea I have is once you determine who the case worker is, (person in charge of your son's IEP) ask for a home to school communication folder to be sent home weekly or even daily with just a check in as to how things are going and small happenings in his day or week.
If you truly do not feel that your son's needs are being met, you need to contact someone at the district office who deals with special services to let them know what is going on. Also, if you truly feel as though you are not getting enough support, you could always get a parent advocate. A Common Voice is a good referral for you. And, even though an IEP is good for a year at a time, you may request an IEP review anytime you wish. :)
Good luck!

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J.L.

answers from Corvallis on

Oh this is such a frusterating subject. I have a 7 year old daughter with Epelepsy and she is on an IEP too. I have been lucky with the school she is in though. You really need to go in and lay down the law with the school. I would be furious if I were you and you have every right to pitch a fit about them sticking your son in music class. Yes they are to notify you of any changese they are THNINKING about doing. It is not about what is more convenient for the school, but what is best for your son. I have found that the more involoved and you communicate and show you know your rights, the more willing they are to work with you. There were many times that I would call the school on something. If you cant get anywhere with the school, go over their head and to straight to the school district. If worse comes to worse you can always get an advocate on your son's behalf. I wish you the best of luck on this!!!!
Are you in the Corvallis/Philomath area here on Oregon? If you are, I suggest getting ahold of OLD Mill.They should be able to help you out in some way.

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

E.,
My son attends a public school that has a DHH program. Children with this disability attend the school from all over the Portland Metro and surrounding areas. It is Groner Elementary. Principal, Bruce Bourget. PH# ###-###-####. My son has about two or three DHH students in his class with interpreters and during certain lessons, they go off into their own class for learning.
We love the school,the supportive community and the families.
If your school isn't meeting your child's needs, then find another school. Protect your child and his rights to a proper education.

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R.L.

answers from Portland on

E.,

The best thing you can do is remember that YOU are the one that determines what your childs experience in school is. Dress with power and confidence, if they speak down to you let them know that you do not appreciate it and that you are not the one they are supposed to be educating. Remember that they are in the wrong for changing his schedule without notifing you and that what they did was not in the best interest of your son, but rather in the best interest of the school. As far as the concert... Get all the information you can about it and then make an informed decesion on whether you think it would be injurous to your son to attend. If it is then even though they got him excited about it, it is your responsibility to find a way for him to decide he doesn't wish to go or you may need to make it for him. If it is not going to harm him, then forget the schools wishes and tell them he will be attending. It really is your decision!

Good Luck

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P.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hi E.,
Does your child go to public school? If so there are very particular rules and guidelines for dealing with special needs. My son had learning issues and was a quiet child who almost fell in between the cracks. BE THE SQUEEKY WHEEL. Your son needs an advocate. Don't let them put YOU in a place they think you belong in. Call the school district headquarters and find out what he is intitled to and help the school comply. There are federal quidelines to be followed.
Keep written records of agreements and understandings with the school. Get as much in writing as possible. It helps.
My son has sensitive hearing and ear phones helped a lot. At least the pink squishy plugs would filter out some of the harsher noise. Good luck Darling Mom and keep up the good work!

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A.A.

answers from Portland on

I think you should document this acivity and make a formal complaint because your son is systimatically being excluded due to his dissability. It is clear that you are also being excluded from his learning process. They only want to do what is convenient, not what is true or right. Your son deserves to participate as any other child and if he enjoys himself, then it is a good experience. Put the ball back in their court and have them do their own dirty work (i.e. tell him when he can't participate...).

Your other option is to take him out of this school after finding one that is better suited to his needs. The current system is discouraging his learning because the principal and teachers are lazy and unacommodating.

I'm a 45 year old mom with a son who is gifted but teachers in the first and 2nd grades refused to give him work that would challenge him, yet complained when he had nothing else to do but talk, because his work was done. He's in high school now...

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B.T.

answers from Portland on

I am a single parent of 3 (young adults now) but when my children were young I too had to confront the principle etc. on certain issues. Remember that you know what is best for your child first! Has your son said to you that he has been in pain for the last 3 weeks being back in music? What does your son want? Did you take your son to the concert? Did you tell him he could not participate? Your son has every right to be in every concert that he has been practicing for. The law governing the guidelines of IEP’s says your child has services offered to him by the state to assist him in reasonable accommodations. I say you find out what your son wants and needs and decide what you want and need go with your “list” and take your sons IEP and possibly your sons advocate or therapist or any other support to meet with the school and make it very clear that they are stepping out of their bounds by making choices for your son without consultation with you. This could get very ugly for them should you choose to pursue the law. I think you should advocate for not only your child, but for the rights of all children. I suggest that you take at least one other person to be an advocate for your child and a person to be a support to you and your cause.

Peace,
Billie

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S.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi E.. I had trouble with schools when my sons were in elementary also with learning disabilities ect. One thing I know is not to back down. Tell them this is unacceptable what they did and not conducive for your son to learn to trust adults. Tell them you want him taken out of music immediately if that is what you want since they won't let him participate anyway and immediately put in a different class or you will take him out of that school and send him somewhere else. Principals can be intimidating but you can always go above them to the superintendent of schools and bring issues up at school board meetings. Be clear about what you want but not nasty. It is frustrating Iknow. Best wishes.
S. B

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J.N.

answers from Portland on

Ellen J made a very good point about documenting everything and taking the issue to the District. Just be polite but very firm and make sure you try things through the proper channels first. Also if you have an issue it is best to put it in writing and even have the Principal read it at the start of a meeting. It is a good way to get to address all of your concerns without being interupted. Then keep a copy of the letter and write down your understanding of how the meeting went on your copy and file it. I have had issues with my children's schools from time to time and have had very good results just by sticking to my guns (again: polite but firm). Also, the vice principal of my Daughter's Middle School spoke down to us the few times my husband and I had contact with him. Finally in a meeting about something that happened to my daughter at school, I told him in a very quiet and sweet tone, "I don't know if you are aware of it but your tone right now is comming across very condecending. So much so that it is hampering our communication. Would it be more convenient for you if I took this up with the Principal or Superintendant instead?"
I don't know if he had just been having a bad day or if what I said had an impact but he has used a very respectful tone of voice in all of our communications since then. A Principal's job is to make things run smoothly at the school, minimize disruptions, and provide a good education to the students. Sometimes they are not entirely nice about it and some may attempt to strongarm parents to achieve the goal. Just be..here it comes...Polite but Firm (and detailed in your record keeping). Good luck. Your son is lucky to have a mom who is so involved.

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K.B.

answers from Yakima on

E., You are in charge as the parent - always remember that. You have all the power. Be sure to read every word in the IEP and do not sign it until you do. They are required BY LAW to do everything that is in the IEP and if you disagree with anything & want it deleted, or want something added, or need to revisit the IEP, that is your call and they have to abide by it. Our son is 20 and was born with Down Syndrome so we have had to sit in many IEP meetings. Do not let them roughshod over you - you are in charge and know what's best for your child. Since they are 'talking down to you', you have the right to have a 'parent advocate' go with you every time you have to meet. If you are married your husband needs to be with you and should be anyway. You are the boss because you are the taxpayer. The schools are supposed to be catering to us and our children, not the other way around. Legally they cannot put him back in that music class, tell him he is going to be part of a concert and then change their mind. Good luck to you. I wish you the best. Kim B.

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E.J.

answers from Seattle on

I've been in a similar situation, but if they continue to not listen to your wishes and disappointing you I would go over their heads and see the superintendent of the school district and complain to them. Bring all your I.E.P paperwork and make sure you log all the problems that you have been having with the school and when you have talked to the principal/counselor. Let them know also that if these things continue to happen without your approval you will be filing a grievance with the school district against the school.

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H.H.

answers from Eugene on

Hello E.,
I have a daughter on an IEP. My advice is simple. You are your childs advocate. You must put your foot down firmly and make sure they do not make choices without you. Especially choices out of "convenience." You sons education is not about their convenience it is about him being given the best opportunities and education possible. On the other hand if he was enjoying the music class and wants to continue they need to provide him with the necessary accomodations ie earphones or earplugs so that the "noise" does not hurt him but he can still participate through the rhythm and vibrations.
It is the school that needs to provide the accomodations not your family especially when it causes emotional upset. I am furious for you and glad to support you with this. My daughter is now 13 so I have been through this for a while.
H.

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J.R.

answers from Seattle on

Hi, E.,

I forgot to have my husband respond to your request last night when he got home from work. My husband, too, grew up with hearing in only one ear. He is now the Coordinator for Deaf Services for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for the state of Washington and would be very interested in hearing from you. He works with people who are hearing impaired, deaf, and deaf-blind. You can e-mail him at his work e-mail address at [email protected]____.com since this is a hearing-related issue.

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G.R.

answers from Spokane on

Hi E. - There is some fantastic advice already given. One thing to remember is yes this is all overwhelming but you will get through this & be better for it. You will have learned so much that you will end up being able to educate & assist those around you with similar issues. It may not seem like it but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I do make one other suggestion that I did not see posted above with the others but it is a fabulous website. It has really helped me in dealing with our district & getting services for my son (yes still dealing with them). http://wrightslaw.com/ The Wrightslaw site has a wonderful newsletter as well as resources on documentation, letter writing, procedures & more. I bought two of their books (Special Ed Law & From Emotions to Advocacy) along with the WebEx training & I was amazed at what I learned. Hope this helps!

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R.L.

answers from Portland on

I too have had trouble with school issues as my son has had learning disabilites. The only thing I can advise you on is making sure you know your rights. It's their job to follow the I.E.P. If the principle is not giving you respect you need to demand that for yourself. I've found that letters to the principle have more affect than a phone call, especially when your supposed to sign off on any changes. If your unhappy how things are going write a letter stating your childs need are not being met and they by law have 30 days to respond. They will then set up another meeting(I.E.P.)Then when you have that meeting bring a picture of your son so they can see who there making decisions for. Just be really strong about your opinions and TELL them how you would like to see it go. If all else fails get a lawyer and watch how fast they follow the written word on the I.E.P. The bottom line is We MOM's have our kids best interests at heart some in the school system do not. One other thing there are some great books out there for mom's like us. Look for special education rights for you state. Read like mad and learn as much as possible because then no one will be able to talk down to you ever again. From a mom who knows exactly how you feel. Hang in there.

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D.L.

answers from Portland on

I have an 18 yr old on an IEP that has gone thru the Longview School District. They are HORRIBLE. Only way to get them to do what they are supposed to do is to constantly monitor/ride them. Occasionally it has helped to report the school to the superintentent's office, and I would recommend contacting PAVE. Still, the teachers do what they want. My son failed a class in middle school, and the teacher's comment was that he didn't even know my son was ON an IEP.

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L.E.

answers from Eugene on

Dear E.:
Hello, My name is L., I also have a 7 year old son with some developmental issues and we do his IEP every year also, my advice to you is for you to go in there and calmly but firmly tell them that they need to remember that he is your son not theirs and you and only you have the say about what is done with him, tell them that if they don't start doing what you say regarding him that you will go to the school board and file a formal complaint against them, also tell that principal that you don't know what nasty thing crawled up her behind and makes her think that she is better than you but she is not, after all she is ONLY a glorified teacher!!
Tell her that if she wants to speak to you again that she needs to do it with the respect due you for the simple fact that you are a parent and she works for you. Don't be afraid to be very firm with them, they will not take it out on your son, they will probably treat him better knowing that you mean business. Don't make going to the school board an idle threat either, find out where and when they meet and what all the members names are. They have no right to lie to you like that, you pay their income with your taxes and they are no better than you, you know what is best for your son, not them.
Oh and as for it being more convenient for them to have him in the music class so they don't have to figure out what else to do with him, that is their job, to figure out what to do with him, what is best for him while in their care, ask them what they think they are their for so they can pretend they are smarter than other people? No they are there to teach and help the kids in their care.
I hope this helps.
Sincerely,
L. E

Sincerely,

L. E

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S.B.

answers from Richland on

Is there a reason he is still in that school? If it were my kid he would be yanked out so fast his head would spin. At the same time I would let the offending teachers know that you're so glad you got to see how they take care of children on a one-on-one basis, if they hadn't been so incompetent you would have never have been able to take the funding they receive for your child elsewhere. Are there no home school options in your area? Perhaps some kind of off-campus program? Can you take him to another school in your area, one where you interview and vet the faculty? There are so many solutions to this problem, but they require the work to not take what government schools hand out like they are doing you a favor.
Feel free to contact me if you need additional help.
-S.

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C.C.

answers from Spokane on

Hi E.,

My name is C. and I have two children with IEPs. My oldest has had one since he was 3 yrs and now he's 12 yrs. I have been around the block a few times with both my kids and I hope this helps.

First of all, you as the Parent with a child with an IEP has POWER! The IEP is LAW! Put in the IEP he not to go to Music. IF they break that - they are breaking the Law and you WILL take them to court. It is called a Fair Hearing. The school will want to avoid that because if it the Judge always favors the Parent. Make sure you show up! Most Parents get scared of the thought of a Judge but DONT he's on your side!

As for dealing with Principle. Make sure you use people skills and let him/her "we are here for the kids right?" That usally puts them back into prospective. Is the Director of Special Education on your side? Tyey are a powerful cannon in your court.

Make sure you read and are familiar with "Parents Rights" document they give you when they schedual the IEP. Hightlight the part that states "You as the Parent have the final say" (that's paraphrased) but it will tell the Team that your Mama Bear and you will not let anyone mess with YOUR Cub so don't even try!

God Bless!
C.

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

My advice is to document, document, document. Keep a journal and document EVERYTHING that happens - be it good or bad AS it happens. Please do NOT think you can rely on your memory. I am constantly telling my clients to document things - and almost invariably each one will tell me that they got busy and thought they could go back later and write everything down . . . but they can't remember exact dates and couldn't remember exactly what happened when.

My second bit of advice is to chill out with the email communication. It is too informal and too easy to ignore. You need to rely more on letters. When you want to convey something that is important, you need to write a letter. (And make sure you spell check and have someone else proofread - words that are written incorrectly (i.e. principle vs. principal) and/or not spelled properly do detract from your credibility. When you write something imagine that a judge or a jury will be reading it someday.)

For example, when you took your son out of the music class I would have recommended that you follow-up with a letter that stated: Thank you for removing Johnny from the music class. As I mentioned in my email/during our phone call, the class was hurting his ears. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

I am more than a bit perplexed that your seven year old's schedule was changed three weeks ago, but you apparently just found out about this? How on earth can this be? Didn't your son tell you about going back into this class?

Tomorrow, when you have your meeting, this is what I think you should say something like this: "I understand that you placed my son in the music class because it was more "convenient" for you, and I am very disappointed that I have to remind you that my son is not here for your convenience. He has a disability and that disability, though not "convenient" entitles him by law to special treatment and special consideration. Not least of which is the fact that ANY changes to his schedule must be approved and signed off on in ADVANCE by me. It is simply unacceptable that this school unilaterally took action with regard to my son. I do understand that you are professional educators and I hope to work with you to foster the best educational environment for my son but I need for you to respect the fact that I am his mother and I expect to be involved in decisions that impact my child AND I expect to have my requests and the I.E.P. respected.

When you get home from the meeting DOCUMENT exactly what happened. Then, write a letter that outlines the meeting: "Yesterday, I met with you to discuss my son. We said . . . You assured me that you would respect my requests in the future and would not make any further changes to his schedule without my advance written authorization.

When you believe the principal is talking down to you, assess how you are speaking with him/her. Are you emotional? Are you accusatory? I know that it is hard (because our instincts are to protect our children), but when you speak with the principal you need to be as emotion-free and factual as possible. People can only talk down to you if you allow them to make you feel inferior. You are not inferior. You are the mother of a special needs child and YOU are damn sure entitled to be respected for being in that role. You are his best advocate. That makes you an incredibly important person.

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

I am a former special education teacher. I can tell you right now that if your son's school is pulling these kinds of stunts without your consent all because accomodating his needs is "inconvenient" then that school is out of compliance with IDEA (individual's with disabilities act) and is subject to fines, loss of funding, investigations (especially is someone reports the offending teachers and/or administration). If your son has an IEP already set up which includes your signature on any changes to his school surroundings, classroom setting, daily classroom schedule and or changes to the "specials" (i.e. music, library) then that school and his Special Education teacher are legally obligated to be following what the IEP says regardless of how much they do not want to. I understand that teachers are stressed out, underpaid, lack the time in their daily/weekly schedules to accomodate all parent requests (I quit for some of these reasons) but that does not excuse a school from their legal obligations to those students with learning modifications as stated in the very legally binding, IEP. You have every right to fight for your son. Go the school board, but make sure that you are documenting everything that happens (dates, times, discussions, incidences...) so you have an indisputable paper trail. Also, be sure to double check his IEP with all modifications that have been changed lately or added. Your signature is on every IEP for every year starting when your child was identified as needing an IEP and so are the signatures of those teachers who are part of his IEP team (that includes any Speech and Language teachers and principals). Go to the IEP team to find out who is dropping the ball and why. You have the legal right to find help your son get what he needs to be successful in his school. The IEP team should be assisting your son in his daily needs and in aiding in that success. Clearly their efforts are not helping because his IEP modifications are being violated but do make sure to look through your copies of his current IEP carefully to make sure that no one has changed his accomodations without your knowledge and also to make sure that you know exactly what his IEP says regarding his learning environment (that includes music, its in the state standards as a learning standard which means that all accomodations must be followed in music as well...).

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E.W.

answers from Portland on

OH MY GOSH! I would be furious if a school did that to me. It sounds like the school is much more interested in what is convenient for them than they are in your son's educational development. It is also very unfair for them to get him excited about a concert then make you the "bad guy" telling him he can't do it. Have you thought of other educational options? If he were my son I would pull him out in a second and homeschool him. My oldest son went to a public school for 1st through 3rd grade because I didn't think I could ever homeschool. I got so frustrated with the school system I pulled him out and homeschooled all the way through high school. He is now attending college getting A's. There are so many opportunities for homeschoolers. Don't let people try to tell you homeschoolers aren't socially developed. My kids are very social and confident individuals. The trick to successful homeschooling is finding the right curriculum, being committed to getting the job done and finding a good support group or program.

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V.S.

answers from Spokane on

Dear E.,

You have a lot more say then you realize. You are the parent. Sometimes these meetings can seem a little uncomfortable, but I have a little experience in this area. I am not suggesting anything rude or obnoxious, and most of the time, teachers want to work with you. But in this case, it's a different story. Remember, you are the boss. This is your child, voice your position, and make it clearly understood what is acceptable for you and your child. Make it clear that you will be in touch with the district, and that you are keeping records of this behavoir. Hope this helps!

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G.D.

answers from Portland on

hi there just let me start with Im a parent of a deaf/disabled daughter and been going thru I.E.P. for 15+yrs. don't know if it's the same here r not but,if there's something u don't like u yourself can request an I.E.P. at any time and the request has to be met within 30 day's.your his advocate not to mention his mom goodluck stand up for his and your right's G. d

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P.B.

answers from Richland on

:Hi E., boy that would be such a disappointment for your son, after all the work and excitment he has toward the concert, and who cares if they are not in tune or whatever, it is for the kids and those who love them!
Good luck, and I would look into contact the school board, and maybe looking into another school in your area if possible. Good luck, sounds like you are on top, and that takes so much work, not many parents do what you are doing.
GOOD JOB MOM!!!!! P.

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A.S.

answers from Portland on

Bring up the specific example of the music class/concert to show that your son is truly being negatively impacted by these changes. If you don't get any results today I'd say it's time to go up a level. Is there a school district level person in charge of all the IEP's? You need to go to the superintendent if not. Find out if you know anyone on the school board they can be influential. It sounds like this school is having challenges dealing with the IEP. Time to look into your options for other schools. This makes a good "threat" for the principle because they never want to lose students = lose money.
Good luck!

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C.N.

answers from Seattle on

You sound a lot like me...one that easily gets stepped on because you are so nice and try to be understanding. So I understand this is easy to say and not so easy to do, but you have to stand firm with them. They have NO RIGHT to be doing what they are doing! If they don't listen you have to go over their heads! Make some noise and let them know that this isn't acceptable! Good luck! I wish the best for you and your son

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N.Z.

answers from Portland on

E.,
It isn't just you and/or your son. I have a 13 year old who "is a pleasure to have in class", who has also failed 4 core classes 2 terms in a row. I cannot get the teachers, principal or counselor to call me back or respond to email. My heart and prayers go out to you. Let me know if you find a the key.

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

First write down all of the issues - that helps me a LOT to sort out what I'm going to say, when I have an issue with something. Then, when your thoughts are straight, talk to the principal again. Then if you have a problem, with her lying or talking down to you, talk to her about it. If you can't get satisfaction, tell her you're going to talk to the school board. I had an issue with my children's school and found out I CAN have recourse all the way up to the superintendent. I would go for my rights if I were you.

I would take him to the concert if he's excited to go. Tell the school it's too bad, but you already told him he could go, and you're not going to change your mind.

Try also to see this from another perspective. Becuase teachers have SO many students to keep track of, I wouldn't be surprised if things get forgotten or fall through the cracks, things like Music Class not working out. I work with teachers (I accompany for Middle School) and see how the teachers are run ragged. They are frequently there long after the school has closed. They cannot respond to emails every day. It's too hard. I only have 30 piano students, and can't stay in touch with all of them every day, and I only have them once a week. I can't even imagine how it is for an elementary school teacher.

Try to keep your communication to a minimum - only when really needed. Make sure you respect their time as well. I think it will help a lot.

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J.N.

answers from Seattle on

Hi E.,
I work for a school district and what your son's school is doing is unacceptable. Request that other people, such as the director of Human Resources be there. That is the next step up from the principal. It's important that they follow guidelines that everyone came up with together. "Easier for them" is just not acceptable. We're here for the kids.
I wish you the best ~ don't settle for less. Go to the superintendant if you need to.

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E.I.

answers from Anchorage on

Hello, it is frustrating to have to deal with any school, especially one that don't understand or even try to understand. I am sorry that someone would have to go through that. What I would suggest is for you to document all this and take it to the superintendent of the school, and if that doesn't work take it to the school board that oversees your school. I realize that the teacher and principal have authority, but even they have superiors. Hope this helps.

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H.G.

answers from Portland on

Wow, you are his parent and this is totally unacceptable. I hope you have documented it all. If not write it down in a journal putting in dates and time as best you can remember and go to the superintendant. If this person can not get you the cooperation you are paying tax dollars for then maybe its time to talk to a state represenative/ senator/congress person.

M.B.

answers from Seattle on

E.,

You've gotten some good advice from others already, I want to add my moral support for your meeting tomorrow. As and American Sign Language (ASL) student, and knowing that Deaf people in the US are not treated the way they should be, the confrontational side of me says go in there and stand up for your son in no uncertain terms. The diplomat says temper the anger with facts and an even temper.

We are our children's best advocate. We must stand up for them while they are yet unable to do it themselves. Best of luck and hope all goes well for you.

Hope this helps,
Melissa

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C.

answers from Spokane on

Hi E.,
On the front or back of your rights paper that they should by law give you each time you meet, there should be an 800 # call them and explain your situation and ask for a mediator. I'm not sure what state you live in but because of the federal NCLB ( no child left behind act). You and your child have rights and they are being violated. Most likely they will continue to be unless you ask for help. Then they will be monitered to make sure they are following through. I hope this helps. You are more than welcome to e-mail me make if you need more info. Sincerely C.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi E.,

My first suggestion would be to make sure you have notes of all conversations,with teachers,and the Principal.
Not knowing what the meeting is about is not what I would take lightly,in meaning they have to notify you in advance of a meeting and it's subject.
I would take notes while at meeting.But i would also go over the Principal,
to the School District Superintendant.

I have experienced this with having 7 children,3 with IEP's,along with other meetings.I have always been instructed what the subject of the meeting would be whether pertaining to the IEP or a different matter/issue/child.
Best of luck,
J. M

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C.R.

answers from Corvallis on

Call the oregon parent in training help line the can provide U with an IEP partner and giv you the laws on this ishue. 1888-###-###-#### they are very helpfull. You can Invite the Dr., lawer or friend to these meetings. get in touch with them they have been in the trenches with the rest of us

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K.M.

answers from Portland on

with any school, dealing with all children you have to be polite, but firm and let them know that it is your child and that you need to make the primary decisions on what is right for that child not the principal or the school.... I have ran into lot's of dealings with the school, and people like your principal ,and they are never fun to deal with, but we have to deal with them the best way we can, without them making us feel like they can make better decision for our children then they can. Tell your son, that he cannot go, but if he has any questions as to why he cannot go I would tell him to ask them....also as for your meeting tell them that you feel you have been lied too and maybe they could help you understand what went wrong and where the miscommunication came from concerning your son... that way the issue get solved and they do not feel like they are being attacked, because even though it was there mistake, if they feel they are being attacked you will get nowhere... signed sk

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B.L.

answers from Eugene on

While it may sound extreme, if possible, I would consider changing schools this year or next. I know we do have school choice in Eugene. As a teacher and a parent, I would find it difficult to continue sending my son to a school with staff and a principal that belittle me and whom I find I can not trust. It sounds like they could be doing a much better job handling your son's special needs, especially with an IEP on file. Why couldn't he have listened to the concert at a distance with supervision? It's not right to get him all excited about the concert and then take it away from him, placing that heartbreaking task on your shoulders. UGH! What were they thinking. He could have listened for a bit and decided if it was too much for him and then other ways could have been tried so that he could listen to it more quietly and still have been involved. I'm worried he will begin to feel alienated at this school. I hope this helps.

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J.S.

answers from Portland on

Hi E.,
Do not allow the school to dictate or talk down to you. Issue a complaint with the district's/State's Special Education Departments and follow through. Every child deserves a happy, healthy, productive learning environment. If you think your child is being deprived of this speak out, please. I have worked in the school setting for 22 years and I know how difficult this can be for parents. You have a voice, use it.
Best of luck to you and your family.
J. S

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J.M.

answers from Anchorage on

One thing that I did that might help in the future is I reminded them that the IEP is a legal document and changes will not be made without me and I had to be mean about it becuase they made changes without my permission. They forgot that I work at Head Start and deal with IEP meeting and IEPs on a daily basis. I told them if it happens again I will be going over their heads and see what their boss thinks about it. I did try the nice way and they shrugged it off.

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K.L.

answers from Seattle on

This sounds very similar to a situation a friend of mine had with her daughter and the school system. Your son falls under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act.) The school is not being compliant and can be legally liable for not being compliant. The EEOC (Equal Enployment Opportunity Commission) enforces the law. What ended up happening with my friend is she chatted with the healthcare professional that had been working with her daughter involved. Ask if there is a child's advocate that could help the situation. She learned more about ADA on her own. She then set up a meeting with not only her teachers and principal involved in the school but also the superintendent. Chances are the school does not realize they are breaking the law when they weren't compliant with your IEP.

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D.C.

answers from Portland on

E.,

I am a teacher. I can relate to your concerns from both sides of the fence since I also have an adult son who was on an IEP for the better part of his academic career.

My first question would be... Is the music change in his IEP or was this a less formal decision?

As a teacher, I honor all accomodations on IEPs. Not only is this my legal responsibility, but I want to do what is best for all of my students. ---If you can encourage a positive atmosphere that allows for teamwork in supporting your child's educational success, that would be the best approach. I do understand that isn't always easy and/or possible.

As a parent, I faced many challenges with our son's education as he didn't always fit into the categories of support provided in school. Many a time, I had to remind teachers and IEP managers that his INDIVIDUAL Education Plan did not have to conveniently fit with others'. I encourage you to review his plan tonight, read over your rights, and approach his teacher as an informed and concerned parent.

I wish you the best!!!

DC

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J.A.

answers from Portland on

I believe you need to plan a meeting with the superintendant to discuss your issues about teh principal and teachers. if you have a plan set up and they deviate from that plan there should be consquences.

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L.B.

answers from Medford on

I too have a son with hearing disabilities here in the medford school district who has always been on an IEP and still is today @ the age of 17. I think I've been lucky in the fact that my son's schools have been very supportive. just fight for your son and take it higher maybe even to the superintendant. What they are doing is detrimental to his health. L.

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S.S.

answers from Portland on

Hi, I'm S. a special ed teacher and a mom!! I was drawn to your letter - you sound like a really good mom you know your son well and know what is best for him. As a teacher, I'm frustrated but not surprised by the principal's behavior. Often they are resistant to dealing with kids with any kind of special needs and prefer to do what is easiest for themselves rather than what is best for the child. That said, what they are doing is not right. You have the rights here! According to the IEP they are totally in the wrong and you need to tell them that - don't be vague - tell them that they are breaking the terms of the IEP and that you expect them to act responsibly and act within the terms that they agreed to when the IEP was written. Make sure that they know you intend to hold them to it. You can find an advocacy center in the state in which you live and bring an advocate with you to the meeting or if they still will not comply consult a lawyer. I am not all about suing, but I tell ya' nothing gets their attention like a lawyer. It is much easier for them to just do what they are supposed to. Anyway, good luck, be bold and strong and I hope that your son comes away with this with what is best for him!!

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S.H.

answers from Spokane on

Have you went to the State Dept. of Education website? Also many states have training clearing houses, ours in Idaho is called the Idaho Training Clearinghouse. You can find free trainings there on your rights as a parent. Another option is to hire an attorney and bring him with you to your next IEP meeting. Remember it's your right to call one whenever you need too. Another avenue is to file a written complaint with your State Dept. of Education. Have you been able to find a support gruop in your area where you can talk with other parents? If not, on the back of your parental rights the school gives you in writing before the first meeting it will list agancies such as IPUL or Co-Ad. They can help parents for no cost.

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R.V.

answers from Portland on

Get a letter from his special doctor about the noise hurting his ears. They can't ignore the doctors and the welfare of the child. Also talk to his IEP teacher. My son and daughter is in special classes - you have rights! At the meeting - bring the doctor's note and as nicely as possible - tell them that you are going to the distict school board if they keep putting him in music. Though if your son has a hearing problem and he wears a hearing aid - maybe his hearing aid can be turned down for music class. Music is good for child.

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

Here is a link for the 504 rules handbook which would be the least rules that qualify for you son.
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/speced/504forms.htm
it's from the Seattle schools but this is a state law. At the bottom of the parents/student rights is someone to file complaints to. Intend to be very blunt with the staff and have the rights with you so you can quote specific laws that they are violating.

Here is some information for the learning disabilities association of Washington

Information and Referral Services

The information and referral service is available, free of charge, to families, adults, and professionals concerned with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. The program includes telephone crisis assistance, information, support, and professional referrals. Resource information packets tailored to the caller's specific needs are available by request. Voice messaging is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The phone line is professionally staffed during regular business hours Monday through Thursday.

Phone: ###-###-####
###-###-#### ext. # 3

Toll Free (outside King County): 1-800-536-2343

Fax: ###-###-####

E-mail: [email protected]____.com

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

My heart goes out to you.
You are your son's best advocate and you know what is best for him. Hang in there and be firm, insist that the school provide the very best for your son, it is their job, they work for you! Can your husband or someone go with you to the meeting and provide support as well?
Our kids need us to go to bat for them countless times during these years and I know it is not easy, but you can do it!
Good luck, hang in there and be strong.
L.

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B.D.

answers from Seattle on

When you go to this meeting, I would present the situations at hand with them, upfront. Don't try to be nice or sugarcoat it. They did things without your permission and didn't follow the plan that was set out for your child. If they refuse to follow through and you get talked down to again, I would take it to the next step...the superintendent. You have the right to ensure that your son has the education he needs in the environment that makes him feel comfortable. It is not in their right to determine that your son isn't doing what they want him to do.

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A.H.

answers from Portland on

I too have a child who has an I.E.P. And there have been times when things have changed without my consent. It can be so frustrating when one minute you feel that you are a part of a team, then find that your the 'odd-person-out', regarding your own child!
With your meeting I feel you should lay out the situation the same way you laid it out here. Start with your concern over the music class, the change that they made without your consent, etc. Everything the way you stated here.
Then ask "Am I misunderstanding our previous talks? Did we not say.... (and remind them of your previous meeting.)"
We know that teachers are overwhelmed with demands/responsibilities every day. Let them know you are aware of that.
But also let them know that clear communication, and following the agreed I.E.P., are necessary for you and your child.
Regarding your relationship with the principal... meetings one-on-one are best. Be strong. You want whats best for your child. Remind her of that.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

I understand your frustration and they do need to keep you abreast of changes. The question I have for you, is why do you not wish him to have music in his life? Why does it hurt his ear? Perhaps if it is hurting his ear he could wear an ear plug in that ear. To exclude him from activities that other children are doing, particularily music which is a natural need for people especially kids, will be a hit to his self esteem and his own joy in doing things with his class. He's 7 and is growing into his own expression of his life...that said, what does he want?? Starting elementary school and the years that come can be challenging to the parent in learning to let go and let the child be in charge in small appropriate ways for their learning. Lost earing in one ear is a totally adaptable problem that he can be actively involved in his own solutions to hear everything! Even at this age pick your battles with the schools and the kids. Life is just to short and too much fun to be angry --especially with your sons school. It could set him up to be angry at his school in the future. Elementary is a foundation for all future schoolings, emotionally as well as academically, so lighten the situation and let yourselves enjoy it. I promise if you enjoy it now when it's not such a big deal when adolescense hits you'll be way ahead of the game when it comes to homework and all his relationships with and in school. Be well and the best to you both.

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L.C.

answers from Seattle on

Hi E.,

I'm sorry that this is probably after your meeting. I've got a 3-month-old at home, so my time is limited.

I am also a teacher in a local district and am VERY familiar with the need to follow IEPs to the letter. Without knowing the full story, your son's principal and teachers are not only rude and inconsiderate, but they are OUT OF COMPLIANCE legally!!! You have more rights than you may know in this situation, not that you necessarily want to involve a lawyer. However, the counselor(s) at your son's school should know the rules of an IEP backwards and forwards, not to mention his Special Ed. primary provider. Whatever everyone has signed off on in the IEP, they are LEGALLY bound to follow. Good luck, and keep "fighting" for your son's right to the best possible education for him!

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C.K.

answers from Eugene on

we are deaf too. only way tell him that there is cancelled and change the plan. he will understand. take him change other class what he is interesting.

C. graham

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

I am so sorry for your struggles. I too have a son on an IEP and a year ago was facing a similar situation. When my son got to the point of refusing to go to school I started making some phone calls to the school to found out why. I then requested an emergency meeting to check up on how closly they really were following the IEP. Well after I recovered from the shock of how off it was and no one realized.... I let them all have it. I explained how their actions effected him (he has autism) emotionally and how ashamed of themselves they should be for putting him in situations we agreed he wouldn't be put in. I took notes made everyone sign it acknowledging what was really going on and I took it to the Head of the Special Ed Dept at the district office and demanded they fix it. Let's just say my son has flourished in the last year, after several apologies and promises they have stuck to the IEP and everything has just been better for everyone.
Sorry to be so long winded but I suggest doing what I did. Take it to the top and hold them accountable. Hopefully you will have the same results I did. If not their is always the law and rights for people with disabilities. I hope this helped a little. Good luck!!!!

M. B

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M.F.

answers from Portland on

Defend your child! The school had no right to NOT tell you or ask your permission on behalf of your son! They are 100% WRONG! Remind them that there was an agreement that they would contact you first for your approval and signature on any changes to his curriculum and schedule. They did not do their part to inform you first. Defend yourself or your son will continue to get shuffled around and they will neglect you & him in the process. Perhaps it's time to find another school. Can you find a charter school that caters to the hearing impaired?

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J.B.

answers from Portland on

Skip the principal and go straight to the district office and file a complaint. It is apparent this principal does not feel any pressure from the no child left behind policy. His or her administration may feel differently. Be calm, polite and confident in all of your correspondence and interaction with the board and any future communication with the principal. I would also request a meeting with your son's teacher and the principal together. Be open to what they have to say and try not to be defensive. Rather than react immediately, take a moment. Also, take someone with you that has a more neutral interest in this so that they can be a real sounding board as to whether or not they are treating you unfairly or you have unreasonable expectations of the staff.

You're young, so don't let them push you around. But also make sure you let them see you are also a strong, mature woman who has the best interest of her child in mind and an eye for his future.

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

Get a lawyer, you absolutely have grounds for a lawsuit. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call the ACLU and ask for representation. This is a civil rights issue for your son and for you. Maybe you don't want to sue the district but you also don't want your son to be abused at school, for the school to opperate outside of his IEP and in an especially medically negligent manner. Additionally, you deserve to be treated with respect by the principal, you are your son's advocate. You need someone in your corner. Please call the American Civil Liberties Union or the Office Of Civil Rights and ask for representation.

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E.C.

answers from Portland on

There are lots of groups that can provide advocates to help you through the process. Try: www.orpti.org They also provide lots of classes and such for parents.
If you can't get an advocate by tomorrow, bring a trusted friend. And if it gets ugly, tell them you want to reschedule. Don't give up-- it may be intimidating to deal with all those professionals that show up at the IEP mtg (I happen to be one), but what is important is your son-- and you are the one that knows him the best. Although, do try and listen to the school personnel with an open mind, they may have other ideas that are worthwhile as well.
Good luck!
--E.

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D.E.

answers from Richland on

I relize this is a day late, but you are his mother and you know him best...no one and I do mean no one can tell what is best for your child than you. If they didn't move him like you asked them to, then it's time to go above their heads. This principle, does she have kids? Just because she has a degree, that gives her the right to talk down to someone? I don't think so....If she is a parent, then tell her that she should know first hand that no one can decide what is best for your child more than you. Also remind them that you are to have clearence before any changes are made to the plan you have worked so hard on together( you and the teachers). The school gets money because your child is there. Remind them that you pay taxes, so they have jobs. Don't get me wrong, there are alot, and I do mean alot of good teachers out there, but you will have to fight for your child against the ones that are not. In our district, we can ask for weekly progress reports to be given, but it has to be requested. You can also, I believe, stop by and visit the class. My nephew is a special needs child, and I know my sister-in-law would do that(stop by and check up). I had to move my daughter out of a class because she had some issues with a classmate, I went to the principle and told her, I would like her moved and if it didn't happen, then I would go to the superintendent. She was moved with out a problem, and I was glad because I found out later that the teacher liked to yell, at her students. I heard this from parents who volunteered in the class. So don't back down, you are your child's champion.

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