After two years of trying to get his needs met at his school, we have had to remove our 13 year old son with ADHD from a public middle school. We have placed him in a small private school that specializes in children with ADD/ADHD and other learning "disorders" and want the public school to pay the private tuition. (Very minimual tuition costs) Which although technically allowed for in our district guidlines, we have learned no such case has ever been successful in our district.
To make a long story short, the school was not consistanly following his IEP and were punishing him excessively for even the smallest "behavoiral" infractions.
We need to highlight three areas in our case:
1) Not consistanly following the IEP caused our son to regually fall behind in school work. This in turn caused him to spend a minimum of four hours each night, get up early and spend weekends to work on missing or incomplete in class work. In addition he was very often required to go to school early, stay late, miss specials (PE, ART, Theather, etc) and/or work during lunch. Again this was to complete what was mostly in class work. (We were sure to always stay ontop of the home work) This in class work should have been monitored by at least three different teachers, according to his IEP. The constant pressure and lack of success caused our son great stress and he began to consider suicide. He felt it was no use trying when he was working so hard and nothing good was comming out of it.
We complained to the school board twice before going to our local education agency. The school board said they were doing what they should and we needed to give them more time (this was after a year and a half). The education agency says the school is not required to meet a child's IEP at all times. Basically they say as long as he is not failing his needs are being met. We need to be able to combate these claims at our Due Process Hearing with something, but what? Any suggestions you have would be helpful.
2) In addition to the intence pressure he was under to complete and keep track of assignments, he was being excessively and frequetly disiplined for the smallest misstep in behavior. For instance, calling a boy a name earned him three detentions. Cursing at a group of children who were following him aroungs cursing at him, threatening to beat him up, etc earned him three after school and a saturday detention. For taking a donut off the tray as a boy was throwing it in trash, three afterschool detentions and was made to pay for the trash dounut. (When this same boy knocked our son's alpha smart off the desk and broke it, our son reported it and the VP did not believe him, she forced our son to continue to use the broken computer) The VP even wanted to assign detentions when he picked up an unclaimed box of cookies in the hall way! He picked up the box, another boy took it and threw it on the floor. This was observed by a teacher who said it was the other boy who threw them but they wanted to suspend our son for damage caused to this unclimed box of cookies when they were thrown by the other boy. When I disputed this detention assignment, the VP said "He has to serve these detentions. He chooses to act this way, he chooses to behave this way." Even after I had an email from the teacher saying it was the other boy who threw them! This same VP manufactured an accusation of multiple death threats and made him serve three days in ISS (During this time he did not have access to his Alpha Smart (accomodation for writing difficulites) and many assignments were not given to him, causing him to fall drastically behind) When she talked to me the VP said three boys came to her saying our son was making death threats. She claimed the parents called and were very worreied. She even said I was lucky she did not call the police. BUT when we asked to get a copy of his disapline records the reason she recorded is "He told a girl he was a canibal and was going to eat her and she is afraid of him" (He said this to her after she told him he looked like a zombie). This same girl tormented him on a daily basis, we filed four complaints against her with the VP, but as far as we know nothing was ever done about it. When we filed the fourth complaint the VP tried to make our son change classes. We told her we felt this change would make his problems in school worse and she tried to force us to allow the change. It took three days of fighting and the counsaler getting involved before they moved the girl.
In every IEP meeting we asked that the school ease up on its discipline practices of our son and presented documentation as well as a note from our DR saying that much of this behavior is out of his control and a part of his disorder. When we told the VP that this kind of disclipline has no effect on children with ADHD, She said "This type of disclipline is very effective with these kids" We asked the school board to provide documentation to prove that, they do not track the progress and disclipline of ADHD kids and can not.
We need to prove that most of the time "conventional" disclipline practices do not work on ADHD children and can infact make things worse. Because these "misbehaviors" have a direct rout in their disorder. This excessive frequent disclipline added to our sons suicidal tendencies. I need some kind of verifiable respected documentation, quotes from medical professionals, case studies, etc to prove our case. Any suggestions?
3)We asked the school to provide documentation about the success (or lack of) of ADHD children in our district. We asked for, passing/failure rate, disclipline information, etc. The school does not track this. Is there some kind of national or state (TX) tracking system for this and where can I find it? Something about the percentage or anything?
The school says it should not have to pay our son's tution because they are able to meet his educational needs. We say they are able too but they did not and this caused him sever emotional stress. They say they have not exhauseted every possible alternative to meet his needs, we feel two years is enough time to make at least a little progress (they made none instead things kept getting worse) and that they will always have an "alternative" bUT it does no good if the teacher's do not follow the plan.
I know this post is very long, thank you to those who read this far. PLEASE for my son and his future self. Any suggestions, input or advise you have would be appreciated more than you will ever know.
Thank you soooooo very much.
The following user gives a hug of support to mommanut: bowleg1 (09-11-2011)
You are asking for suggestions on legal issues related to ADD. No one can offer legal advice here, but there are parents on the ADD Board who have had to fight for educational rights for their children. I thought that you might find some parents with such experience here.
WE went through the same type of battles with my son's school. The discipline issue was solved by altering his IEP. For infractions, he was not sent to the office and they did not control discipling him. Instead he reported to a strict but sympathetic teacher. I would have suggested altering his IEP in order to have your son report to the nurse, or someone experienced with ADD, so that they could separate disease issues from behavior issues, and administer discipline accordingly.
With all that said, you son is still responsible for his behavior. ADD can explain why he does things, but it does not excuse any type of bad behavior.
As for making the system pay for private schooling, you are asking the system to pay for your son's behavior problems. Certainly the system was not sympathetic in administering discipline, but they are only legally obligated to treat your son in a manner consistent with their treatment of other students. The Disability Acts requires educational accommodations be made for you son's illness so that he can have the same educational opportunities afforded other children.
To take a more extreme example. Say your son acted criminally, and committed a serious crime, should a judge let him off just because of ADD...that would never happen. And should not ever happen. People are accountable for what they do even though they have a mood or behavioral disease.
And certainly the school is not responsible for your son's academic performance, they are only required to make appropriate educational accommodations so that he has an equal opportunity.
The laws are all about providing equal opportunities; it is clearly up to each student to make the most of those opportunities.
And it was up to you, as parents, to make sure that your son's IEP was appropriate for him, that it would allow him the same educational opportunity as other children.
The school cannot be expected to separately track the success of students with disabilities, although that might be nice. There are too many illnesses to do that. Just stroll through the diseases here, and then imagine having to track all the students with these problems, and these are just the neurological ones. And imagine the privacy issues involved.
I think you should seriously rethink the school's obligations and your own position. It is very easy to paint yourself into a corner when you think you are right.
Last edited by michael178; 04-01-2007 at 10:18 AM.
It seems you read through the disapline section of my post and missed the main cause of his problems in school.
He was spending a minimum of four hours each night, get up early and spend weekends to work on missing or incomplete in class work. In addition he was very often required to go to school early, stay late, miss specials (PE, ART, Theather, etc) and/or work during lunch. Again this was to complete what was mostly in class work. (We were sure to always stay ontop of the home work) THIS IN CLASS WORK SHOULD HAVE BEEN MONITORED BY AT LEAST THREE TEACHERS, ACCORDING TO HIS IEP. The constant pressure and lack of success caused our son great stress and he began to consider suicide. He felt it was no use trying when he was working so hard and nothing good was comming out of it.
As far as our son having discipline issues, he was being punished for even the smallest misstep. I mean no one else would have been assigned detentions of picking up a box of unclaimed cookies. We ARE NOT asking the school to pay for our son's "behavior problems" HE IS NOT A BAD KID. WE DO NOT HAVE BEHAVIOR ISSUES AT HOME. Not more than that of a "normal" kid. He is doing extreemly well at his new school and has not had a single disipline problem since he started there in December. The teachers has not even had to "talk" to him. In fact they have come to me saying how woderful, honest and helpful he is. This only further proves our standig the the discipline problemes he was having at the public school were caused
1) by the pressure he was under regarding the school work. the constant pace with no success.
2) by teachers and a VP who odviously do not understand special needs kids (one teacher even went so far to say she should not have to put up with our son in a gifted class. She told him a monkey could do better than him!!!!!)
A FAPE DOES NOT MAKE A CHILD WANT TO KILL THEMSELVES!!!!!!!!!
The issues that specifically concerned me were the bias, for example the zombie "joke" being turned into a "death threat". It seems to me like the teacher doesn't have the patience required of their job (which happens all too often) and is scapegoating your son.
I am very weary of misplaced responsibility, ie. the public school paying for behavioural disorders. However, in the cases where your son has clearly been discriminated against, this is something I have witnessed in my own student experiences at school, and something I would feel angry about in your position. I was a deceptively "good" student and so got away with a lot. I often witnessed short-tempered teachers dishing out unfair punishment to the students they had already judged and in situations where I behaved worse, I barely got a glance.
Rambucket, Exactly! Also we are not asking the school district for more than we pay in taxes each year. It is our money going to the school, to supposidly ensure our child's education. If they are not willing to provide it we should be allowed to get our money back.