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odd tale-help at school for your child

updated wed 23 aug 00


Earl Brunner on tue 22 aug 00

Parents with special needs children sometimes have an uphill
battle with the system. They (the system) beat you by
bullying and by either misinformation or by denying you the
information that you need as a parent to force their hands.
They are not really in the business of educating children,
if they were they would do a better job. They are a bulky,
costly, government agency. Idealistic teachers are even
relatively powerless to change the system. You have to be an
educated, informed, activist parent in your community to get
the help you need for your children. (There is even a
parent's/children's rights group in our community that can
and will help out). I know one parent that forced the school
district to fly her son to a boarding school in the Eastern
U.S., they paid his tuition at the school and paid for trips
home to visit. All because the district through a
documented pattern of indifference chose not to provide for
or live up to the terms of the IEP. In this state they have
to take the test results from private physicians. The
federal government has given special needs children rights
to an appropriate education. This can cost money and
districts don't always have the resources or want to spend
the resources to provide what they are required by law to
provide. So they attempt to get around this by avoiding to
classify children as having the need. They blow smoke
screens for the parents by saying that they don't want to
"label" the child (as if that is always bad). They focus
on the fact that most parents don't want anything to be
wrong with their children in the first place. (and their may
not be anything wrong, the child could just need a little
more time, a different approach, someone that can relate
and care) You have to become Arnold Schwarzenegger, become
their worst nightmare. The school board are all elected
officials, they like voters, they do not like bad publicity.

Sheron Roberts wrote:
> Joyce,
> I wish you had been here when my son
> was in school. He has been fighting the
> stigma of being one of the "special" kids
> or one of "those" kids since he was in
> the second grade.
> All the private doctors
> who evaluated him kept telling
> the powers that be, in the school system
> what his particular problem was. They
> tried to tell the teachers how to approach
> teaching my son. Because his needs were
> not outlined by the state and not a part of
> their curriculum they would not listen.
> One teacher, when he reached middle school,
> listened to me and read his profile and secretly
> began a program for him that was actually
> working. James was finally reading and
> completing work. His self esteem soared.
> Until the principal found out and ordered her
> to stop or be fired. She had to "stick with
> the program!" I could go on and on but
> for now just let me say his entire school
> career was a nightmare. When he was in
> the 10th grade (yes they just moved him through)
> (wouldn't even let him take any achievement
> test or placement test, said he didn't need to)
> the teachers wanted to
> place him in extended day school (where the
> kids watched movies or played basketball while
> the teacher was no where to be seen). My
> husband and I took him out of the school. We
> enrolled him in adult basic education at the
> community college. The difference was simply
> amazing.
> He has never been diagnosed with dyslexia, or ADD,
> or any particular named problem. The doctors said
> and I hate this term but this is the one they use,
> they said he is "a little slow". The school system
> called him Emotionally Mentally Handicapped. This
> was tagged onto a sweet tempered, shy, boy
> who never caused trouble. He was not a problem
> child.
> I was told I could not, nor would it do any good to
> get a private doctor to evaluate him (although we did)
> they were not going to change his "status." I found
> out that the public school received so much funding
> for each child "labeled" as handicapped. So they had
> their own psychologist on staff.
> Needless to say they were furious when we pulled him
> out. The principal actually crumbled up and threw the
> form at me that he had to sign for me to take James
> out of the system. I had to have this before the
> college would enroll him.
> I still find it hard to believe that a public school
> (or the private ones in our area) have no way
> of providing for all of our children.
> In the summer before James was to enter
> high school, a teacher from the middle school
> came to me in confidence and begged me not
> to let James attend the local high school. She
> told me "they would eat him alive." But we had
> no other chose. I had a parental rights handbook
> slammed on the desk in front of me and was
> told I had no rights when I questioned the system.
> Oh well, the more I think back on this the angrier
> I become.
> James still has a long way to go but
> he is a happy well adjusted twenty year
> old young man. He has a
> part time job, is a whiz on the computer (in school
> they wouldn't let him touch the computers because
> as one teacher actually told me, he may tear
> something up). He is very good with pencil drawings
> and now has begun to handbuild small sculptures
> and bowls from clay. I just wish he wouldn't use
> the walls of his bedroom for a canvas. LOL
> Sheron in NC (venting from the well of
> helplessness that has yet to dry up)
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Earl Brunner