Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, March 10, 2008

With a pit in my stomach

Remember those big guns I talked about last week? I know this is hard to believe, but three separate people have been calling the SpEd director at our school for the past two weeks, and she has not returned a phone call. We have three more days before the school is totally and completely out of compliance on several separate issues. It's driving me crazy and the Girl even crazier. She's almost beside herself with anger and anxiety which she's exhibiting at her program and thankfully, not so much at home. She's furious with the school and rightly so.

Today I spoke to our case manager at DMH, who told me that she's fed up as well, and asked me to please request an emergency IEP meeting. The schools have three school days to respond. If they don't, then legally they're in deep shit. So I wrote the letter, forwarded it to the superintendent, the heads of Pupil Services, and various and sundry representatives at the high school. I did that early this afternoon, and so far, not a word.

The problem is, they're going to ignore me, our DMH case manager, and the clinician that the Girl works with at her program because they don't know what to do. The school is required by law to provide a free and APPROPRIATE education and they have totally disregarded this since last October. They know they're at fault, but they're now playing this game hoping that they can get to the end of the school year doing absolutely nothing and getting away with it. That isn't going to happen.

Of course, this means more hours of research on Wright's Law to find each and every instance of laws they're breaking so I can cite them in any suit I file. I'm so sad about this. I honestly LIKE the school and am terribly grateful for all the chances they have offered the Boy. But this year has been a nightmare for the Girl and it's almost as if they've washed their hands of her. It's not right.

I'm very aware that my kids aren't the only kids in the school system, and that this happens to more kids than just mine. In fact, there is another kid in the Girl's program that is going through the exact same thing. He's dying to get out of there and the school just can't seem to get their act together with him either. And he's been there 4 weeks longer than the Girl. It's as if the kids are warehoused in this program until the school is either threatened, or until someone within the school tries hard to get the kid back into the school. Nobody is trying for either the Girl or this other kid, both of whom are in the same TERRIBLE program at the high school. The guy that runs the program, the one I've had so much trouble with, doesn't want them back because it means that he has to do his job properly and not walk all over these poor kids. He's such a bully.

So now we wait. We wait for our fabulous high school to acknowledge that they have received my letter and to order an emergency IEP meeting. At the meeting I'm not going to be pleasant. I'm so tired of being pushed around. I just want the kid in school. This is not asking too much of the school system that is collecting $20K+ for NOT educating her. It makes me seethe with anger that other parents who are not as assertive/aggressive as I am are being pushed around, lied to, and denied options that the school is required to give. The school has perfected the fine art of doing nothing, and it's not working for me at all.

My armour is polished, my sword is sharpened, and I'm ready for battle. I wish I weren't, but what else can I do?

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Blogger bethany actually said...

Ugh, this is all just so WRONG. I'll be thinking of you as you prepare for battle.

11/3/08 1:00 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

That really, REALLY sucks.


11/3/08 1:22 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

It IS wrong. And it's happening all over the country all the time. I've read so many different law suits against the SpED departments for non-compliance and it's really terrible. Most schools DO want to do the best they can, but when it's difficult, they tend to bail.

11/3/08 8:33 AM  
Blogger Rhea said...

Guitar Hero is years. I just gotta shlep it home on the plane.

11/3/08 9:10 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I feel your pain. I really, really do. Advocacy is hard, and no matter how necessary it is, it's painful. I may not be near enough to join your group, but please know you have my support.

12/3/08 12:35 PM  

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