Thursday, August 15, 2013

School Problems- Worse Than I Thought

Yesterday morning I was tired and frustrated with life.  The past few years have been extremely difficult and I realized as I sat at the computer that in exactly one week's time, another school year will begin.  I realized that all my attempts to work with the school, requests for information, requests for team meetings and planning sessions have been ignored.  I even wrote to the principal and superintendent at the end of June expressing my concern.  I specifically stated that last year was horrible.  My son was having a nervous breakdown and showing the warning signs of suicide.  That letter got absolutely no response.

I ran into the principal at the end of July and reminded him of the email.  He said he remembered it but hasn't had time to deal with it.  Call him.  I called him at the appointed time and got his voice mail.  Nothing.  Not a call.  Not an email.  Nothing.

We are a small town and a small school.  We graduate about 150 students every year.  I personally know almost every person who works in the district either from substitute teaching or from just living in the community.  My son is not a faceless name to anyone.  He is a very visible and vital part of the community.  Many people tell me what an inspiration he is to them.  He overcame the handicap of his autism to become an honor student in Middle School.  He overcame the surgical reconstruction of both his feet to become a wrestler and football player.

Last fall was an absolute disaster.  The school provided none of the middle school to high school transitioning that we had discussed the previous fall.  There were no team meetings to discuss his scheduling needs or which teachers would be best for his learning style.  My repeated requests for the results of the 3 year re-evaluation team meeting be moved to a time when his father and I could attend were ignored.  The meeting took place without us.  No attempt was made to include us other than a notification letter sent less that one week prior to the actual meeting.

At our fall IEP meeting everyone including the principal agreed that we need to meet in the spring to discuss planning the following year.  We had two more meetings that fall and winter to try to overt disaster.  With every meeting my role and my husband's role was diminished.  Our opinions were of less importance.   After Christmas things had deteriorated to the point that another meeting seemed pointless.  After three meetings, nothing had changed.

Per their request, I wrote out a lengthy description of what I thought the issues were and what I perceived as having been said during those meetings.  I requested the same from the school and the notes that the teacher had taken during the meeting.  My request was ignored.  I received nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

In late June, three weeks after the end of school, I received an email from his IEP teacher saying she "forgot" about planning for next year.  We emailed back and forth about his scheduled classes and I disagreed with the choices they had made without consulting me or my son.  She said then I need to come in and discuss it with them.  Oh and the guidance counselor only works for the next two days and then is off for the summer.  I was working also and unable to drop everything to meet with them.

It was after that I wrote that letter of concern to the superintendent and the principal. This was by no means my first inclusion of them in the problem.  The principal has been involved since last fall.  I started contacting the superintendent shortly after that.  I do not like surprises and like to keep everyone as informed as possible.

That long winded introduction brings us to yesterday.

 Well...after I posted my blog I received a voice mail message from the special education supervisor.  She stated that a meeting before school starts is just not possible and I will be contacted after school starts to schedule a meeting.  How can another school year be starting exactly the same way? How can they schedule his classes without consulting him or planning with the team?  Last year after I saw his schedule I knew we would have problems with one teacher in particular.  He did.  I tried to change his schedule a couple weeks into school and my requests were denied.  Too late is what I was told.  Today we pick up his new schedule.  I dread seeing.  I have no idea what they decided to do with him.  He plans to go to college and is perfectly capable of doing so.  Last time I spoke to the school they wanted to place him in all non-college prep classes.

Last year he signed up for too many classes.  I told them to drop industrial arts and keep the business class.  They did the opposite fearing he wouldn't do well in business.  The kid watches Mad Money every chance he gets and reads college texts on business.  He can calculate sales tax.  He knows the current and past unemployment rates.  He explains sequestration to me.

I dread today.  Schedule pick day.  The beginning of another nightmare year?  I hope not and I will no longer look for a local resolution to this problem.  I have tried for over a year and gotten no where.

Pray I have the strength to deal with this situation. Striving for Independence: Ways to Help Children with Disabilities Learn to Function More Indepedently eBook: Kristan Payne: Kindle Store